Thursday Tips & Tricks | How to Choose YOUR Photographer…

This post seems a bit awkward to write. How to choose your photographer. It almost should be an easy post to write. I could slap down the top 5 or 10 things to look for when choosing a photographer. But I don’t really want to do that. I want to share with you some of my own factors in what I would look for in a photographer. You see, I have to hire a photographer this Fall to capture our family. Last year I used a diy tripod method. I got 1 decent image and that’s about it. This year I want a full family session. I imagine photographs of us as a family, some of me and the kids, some of Scott and the kids and, of course, some of the kids themselves. So how do I go about finding that perfect photographer? Well, lucky for me I actually know MANY great photographers whose work I have seen over the years and trust. It is really not going to be that difficult to choose because I follow my friends journeys and can easily identify what I am looking for.

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Style

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Find what you love, not what you like. Go to your pinterest boards and really look at those family pictures you have pinned and try to connect things that are similar in each of the images. Do you like lots of space around the families? Do you like to have very tight shots of the family? Are they laughing and playing around or are they looking at the camera most of the time? Are they outside or in a studio? Remember very little is a coincidence in photographs. I love, love, love when my families text me pictures of their outfits to make sure it will photograph well. That is my job to know these things! Are they in a downtown area or a park setting? What is it about these photographs that made you pin them?

It is not mean to look at the style of an image and not like it. If it is a friends work, it doesn’t mean you don’t like them. It just means that you aren’t drawn to their work. And ya’ know what, that’s ok! These are your memories that you would like to keep forever.

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Quality

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If for nothing else look for quality. Check out their websites. Then check out their blogs or facebook pages as websites tend to be a little outdated. But what is quality? And what do you look for?

First the most basic of all, focus. If you see images posted that are not in focus I would suggest moving on.  You can fix a lot of things but you just can’t make a blurry image look like it is actually in focus.Next would be the overall look of the image. Do you like it? What do you notice that you don’t like? Are they families eyes clear to see or little black holes? Does the edit look subtle? Are there alien eyes, orange skin, or white shirts that look blue?

There are many technical things I could list, rule of thirds, is it properly exposed, do you see blown out sections, is there unnecessary tilt (but in my opinion tilt is hardly ever necessary) and they look like they are falling off the picture, is there a connection with the family, does it look like an image you could take yourself?

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Experience

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There are somethings you just don’t learn without time. When I was new business I made mistakes. I will never say that I didn’t because I did. Now looking back my mistakes were not all that bad, they were beginner mistakes luckily not technical mistakes.  I am so thankful for those mistakes because they have made me so much more aware of what I like in photography. In photography it is so very easy to buy a camera, learn a trick or two, call yourself a professional and take peoples money (sometimes even without a license, paying taxes or insurance). I had spent a few years learning my craft before ever hanging out a shingle. And I am so very glad I took that time to learn so many important lessons. Look for a photographer with experience. This is vital for newborns! I will save that for its own post.

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Cost

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I really don’t like adding in cost as a factor but it is. Custom photography usually has a little sticker shock to families. The question to ask yourself is, do you value it? Do you value paying the price now to have the images later? Photographers come in all shapes, sizes, price, experience level, and quality. I suggest looking for 3 photographers whose style and quality you like and see what their pricing is. That will give you a little bit of an idea of your cost. A photographers pricing changes as they grow and as their experience levels rise. Try not to compare your photographers based on price in the beginning. Find style and quality you love first.

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There are still so many items I could add to this list. But in the end choosing your photographer is a personal decision. Don’t choose it based on who is a friend or was a friend. Don’t think you will hurt a photographers friends feelings if you choose someone else. I have had many clients who are blessed to be friends with many great photographers. And ya know what? I love it! They have even introduced me to some of their photographer friends who have now photographed my kiddos.

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And since no post is a great post with an image 🙂

We took this girly out for her pre-kindergarten photoshoot. This is my sneak peek 🙂

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Back to School Kristina McCaleb Photography