Discover more from cosmic playdate
the simple guide to choosing a family photographer
a professional shares her thoughts on the subject.
I would say I hope you are staying cozy but it’s warm out there, isn’t it? I’m so excited to share the below guest post by family photographer and fellow Venezuelan, Paula Ortiz. Paula’s work caught my eye while I was doom-scrolling on instagram some time last summer. She truly has a gift for capturing families. Her images are carefree and exude joy and beauty—the mark of a good photographer, in my humble opinion.
Paula recently interviewed me for her blog. She wrote the most amazing intro on how our professional relationship blossomed into a friendship. I have personally found her advice on business, art direction and life to be timely and very valuable. So it was such a treat talking to her about my work and my parenting approach. You can take a look at that special interview here!
If you have been wondering how to find the right photographer for your family (especially if you have little ones), keep on reading to get Paula’s insider tips on how to go about it.
Your child’s birthday is coming soon and regardless of how intimate or ambitious your plans might be, you would like to keep a memento of the occasion. Maybe you want a nice family portrait, your new baby is coming soon, or you are considering sending holiday cards this year and need something where everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. Whatever the reason may be, you find yourself in need of hiring a family photographer. So you go online, open a few websites and browse through a wide array of portfolios and IG accounts. You are overwhelmed and left wondering where to begin, what are the differences, and how to choose.
Fear not! I have some tips to help you find the best photographer for YOU.
Define what type of session is best for your kid and your family
Before beginning your search take a moment to think what type of session would your child thrive in. Will traveling to a destination be a thrill or a hassle? Would a studio be fun or intimidating? Would the outdoors do the trick or will it be overly stimulating?
No good shots come from kids feeling miserable and being forced to smile and no good shots come from stressed parents repeating behave or say cheese either. This is why it’s so important to make the setting as comfortable as possible for the entire family.
At this stage you have the freedom to think outside the box. Perhaps a low-key session at home or a dessert trip to their favorite ice cream spot might be ideal. You are the one who knows your child best, so once you’ve figured out what type of conditions will be the most suitable for them, you can begin to look for a family photographer that offers that type of session.
Match your Style
When reviewing a website/portfolio, ask yourself: Does this look and feel like the experience I’m looking for? Do these photos make me smile? And what do I like about this portfolio? Be specific.
The best photographer in New York City may be just that, but if you don’t love what they do and how they do it, you might not be completely satisfied with the results regardless of their status. Alternatively, asking a photographer whose style you love to modify several aspects of their process for your session may result in something completely different from what made you fall in love with their portfolio in the first place.
So make sure you do the research. Spend a few minutes browsing through their blog and the portfolio pages. Most professional photographers provide tons of info on their sites. Including pricing, personal bio, frequently asked questions, services, and more.
Define your budget
Now it’s time to allocate a budget for your photography. What’s the ideal sum you wish to invest on photos? Do you have a budget range?
Having a clear budget will help you establish boundaries, manage expectations and narrow down who you can afford to hire. So be realistic. Good professional photography is expensive. It’s an investment on a visual keepsake that you can look back on for years to come.
The key is to set a budget range that feels comfortable to you. A common mistake I see people make is choosing a photographer solely based on their pricing. While pricing is important, it should not be the only deciding factor.
Manage your expectations
Sometimes less is more. I personally like to keep things simple and focus on what really matters—your family’s bond and the genuine interactions that result from a time well-spent is what makes an image shine.
You don’t need all the bells and whistles to achieve remarkable portraits. There’s no point to impose four outfit changes for the toddler who hates getting dressed. No need for a stuffy dress for your rambunctious one who will most likely get it dirty. And no one wants to go somewhere where you must stay very still and quiet, right? In short, having huge expectations and no flexibility might result in a lot of stress, anxiety and tears.
While dressing up for the occasion is nice and empowering, it is important to stay focused on what’s important: your kids, creating new memories and capturing a meaningful moment with those you love most.
Trust the professional you hired. Results will surprise and delight you when you cease control. In my experience, the most stunning portraits are always the serendipitous ones.
Feel the Vibe
It’s finally time to reach out for availability and get a quote. Ask yourself how comfortable does the photographer make you feel when you correspond with them? Are they professional? Are they excited to work with you?
The best way to go about it is to set up a quick phone call to introduce yourself and talk about your inquiry. Fill them in and listen to what they have to say. This is your vibe check, so trust your gut.
I know that being 100% confident in your choice of photographer will translate into a wonderful experience and give you that extra boost of confidence and ease when standing in front of the camera. So I hope you find these insider tips useful in your next photographer search!
I’d love to hear about your professional photographer experiences (with kids) in the comments.
One last thing…
You can still get these free affirmation cards here. Or pay-what-you-wish for them, if you feel so inclined to support my work. See you on the next one!