Choosing a photographer can seem like an easy thing with how saturated the market is...but it's important to consider all of your options and find a photographer who fits your style and personality! Here is a list of 5 things to consider before hiring a family photographer.
I think most people's number one factor is budget. I can't tell you how many time's I've seen "Looking for a reasonable photographer" posted on social media and the pricing/investment page is often the first page we consumers go to before we even dive into their portfolio. I want to trryyy to sway your mind on price a teensie bit, because well, it would benefit all the Kalamazoo area photographers and most of the time, you get what you pay for.
I'm going to quickly try to explain the photographer pricing dilemma that the industry is going through because I simply can't back it up without a little explanation. Because of the ease of access to DSLR camera's, pretty much anybody can pick up a camera and start a business. This has made the photography industry over saturated and you have a lot of college students and (let's face it) Mom's who want to bring in a little extra cash for their family. All good, right? Not exactly. While some photographers are only considering their income "extra spending money", others more seriously are the sole providers for their families and need to make a living wage. (And they should!) This is where you get the price difference of some photographers charging $150 for all the digitals and others charging $600-$1,000. The second set is pricing according to their cost of living and charging a sustainable wage (after all the taxes, insurance, equipment and supplies they need.)
This idea combined with a need to undercut other photographers, experience levels, and talent all make up for the pricing difference in photographers. SO. What have we learned here? Please don't think expensive photographers are taking advantage of you or making a killing. Most are just trying to sustain their business as a full time job, just like the rest of the world. I totally get that some families just a have an XYZ budget for family photo's based on their own household income, but I do encourage you to take a deeper look at the photographers who charge more, and save like you would a weekend getaway, because ultimately you can spend $200 on a session and just think they're "okay" or you could save up for that $600 photographer and absolutely fall in love with not only your pictures, but your experience with them as well.
Tip: If budget is concerning, save for only one session a year instead of multiple sessions. You should be able to get individual shots of the kids, full family shots, sibling shots and husband and wife all in one go. Remember, quality over quantity here.
Okay moving on, STYLE.
Style means a lot. Every photographer has something unique to bring to the table in the way of their personal style. Some are bright and airy, some are more dark and moody, some like posed traditional, and some like emotional candid's. It's important to take a hard look through their gallery and make sure that their style is something that speaks to you. What you don't want to think is "Oh, they're pretty good, but I'd like them to do more of *insert pinterest list*." You should be able to show up to your session and completely trust your photographer to capture you honestly, through their vision.
I do think it's important to be able to jive with your photographer and feel comfortable in front of them. Usually personality is found through the text on their website and social media platforms. Follow them for a while and see if they have a personality that resonates with you.
This is obviously a biggie too. The last thing you want is someone who is unorganized and not dependable. There should be a little leeway for unexpected circumstances on both sides of the exchange, but you do want someone who values their customers enough to remain professional in all settings. A good indication of this would be their customer reviews on their social media. Hearing other's experiences always helps sell a product.
I think this one is the one I would search for out of all others. Not only should a good photographer produce great images, they should also create an experience for their customers. From the day you book, to final delivery should all be a seamless and relaxing experience for the client. Some photographers take extra good care of their clients and being able to completely trust your photographer should be number one on your list. You should be excited to work with them and leave feeling nothing but taken care of.
There it is, my top 5 tips for choosing a photographer to document your family!