Hiring a Professional Portrait Photographer
When hiring a professional portrait photographer there are some things you must know.
We have all seen the professional portraits that line the walls of our friends and family’s homes. How many times have you told yourself that you really need to get your family wrangled together at least once a year to capture your beautiful brood? Finding the perfect photographer can be a little bit like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Before you talk with any photographers you should talk with your spouse or other family members who will share the expense of the portraits. You need to decide how much of an investment you are willing to make. Price does not always buy quality, but more often than not it does when you are talking professional portraits. The more money the photographer charges you it typically equates to the large amounts of money they have invested in their equipment and training. Keep this in mind when deciding on your budget. Once you have decided on your budget you should have a good idea of which photographers are in your price range. When you meet with photographers, trust your initial reaction. Do you like him? Can you see your family spending at least one full hour in their company? Do you think he will scare your little ones every time he comes near them? Do you think he will be able to set everyone at ease enough to make for a wonderful portrait? If you talk with enough people you will soon find that once someone finds a photographer they truly like, they will use that same photographer for as many years as they can.
Also remember that just because your neighbor despises a particular photographer does not mean you won’t love them, and vice versa. Out of all of the advice you could possibly receive about choosing a photographer, this may be the most important piece and it should be regarded in that manner. Do you dream of your family portrait showing your family sitting in front of an elaborate background or a beautiful on building? Your desired location will make a difference as well. Not every photographer is equipped to go off site and the ones that are will charge an additional fee for doing so. No matter where your portrait is taken remember that everyone will probably be dressed and ready for the picture before you get into your vehicle and the longer you are in the car the more wrinkles and time allowed for spots to appear. It is highly recommended to choose a location no farther away than 30 minutes. If you are going to have your portrait taken in a studio make sure there is an adequate amount of room to accommodate everyone who will be included in the photograph. Feel free to ask the photographers while interviewing them if you can see the area where he will set you all up and tell him how many adults and children will be in the portrait. Another area for discussion with the photographers during the interviews is time slots. If something causes you to be late or if the photographer is running late, will this take away from the time needed to get the perfect shot? He may tell you that if you are running late you will only have until the end time of your allotted appointment but if he is running late he will honor the entire appointment time frame. This is important to know because many times a good photographer will continue taking pictures until he is sure he has the perfect shot and in order to do that sometimes they exceed the appointed time.
Be sure and look through the portfolios that will, no doubt, be setting all around for your viewing pleasure. Look at the larger portraits hanging on the walls. Do you like the majority of them? Photographers choose certain portraits to use in their portfolio or for advertising purposes, because they are the best representation of their work. Chances are, if you love what you see then you will love what that photographer will do with your family portraits. If you see every single family portrait looks the exact same then you should fully expect yours to look just like them. However, if you do not like the majority or you feel the photographer may be unable to capture your darling daughter’s dazzling beauty with his work then he may not be the best option for you.
Once you decide on which photographer you will use you will want to get everything in a contractually binding agreement. Not that a contract is the end all solution but in the event of you remember him telling you that he would throw in a free 8×10 and he has no recollection of that something in writing will take care of any doubts. With that being said, feel free to negotiate a free sitting fee or prints while meeting with the photographer. Many times photographers are more than happy to waive a sitting fee or throw in additional prints if you purchase a certain quantity of prints through them.
Ask your chosen photographer what he recommends everyone wear. He may have a very nice backdrop that looks great with black and white clothing but terrible with browns. He has seen the results of every color combination and should have a well enough trained eye to know what is flattering and what isn’t with his studio props. Some photographers even have a selection of clothing to match different back drops available to use or even a make up artist on hand. If you think these may be helpful tools to your family portrait then by all means tell them you would like to utilize them. Keep in mind, there may be an additional fee though.
Above all, having a family portrait is creating a lasting memory of that day spent together. If there is tension building up to the very moment he says, “Smile” then every time you look at the portrait you will all remember it. Try to take care of enough legwork and research before you choose your photographer, that once the big day arrives you feel completely confident in your choice and know that it will be a great day to cherish forever.