Price should be the LAST thing you consider when you select your photographer. Really? What if I come up with a list of photographers I can’t afford? First you have to define “afford.” No doubt custom photography is an investment, and also a luxury expenditure. And everyone has different levels of either saved or disposable income that can be allocated to a session. When defining your budget, determine whether you will save, and then have that set amount to spend or whether you can make that decision once you see your images. Then decide what your product goals are: digital files, a few select prints, a gift album. Understanding what you really need as well as what you want, will help you determine what you can spend with a particular photographer. You may have a budget that will allow you to purchase ALL images from one photographer of mediocre quality or SOME images, but exactly what you need, from an exceptional one. As we’ve said before, try to not get locked into the idea of “all” before you know what “all” looks like. You may even be able to work with specific photographers to find out when they schedule less expensive options such as studio or seasonal mini-session events as many photographers offer a scalable way for you to receive their services without the truly significant investment. It’s with hesitation and a sigh that we say that with most budget photographers, “you get with you pay for.” In a few rare, and very fortunate circumstances, you receive outstanding images for a fraction of what they are worth. But more often than not, if you aren’t investing in someone who has invested in the quality, expertise, style and vision, you will receive images that reflect just that. That said, there are tremendously talented photographers in every market segment, catering to any budget, and with research and patience and maybe a referral, you can find one that meets your specific needs. Circling back to the point that you barely have time to do it once, once you’ve finished the end to end coordination of schedules, wardrobes, weather and moods… you most certainly don’t have the time, or money, to do it over. Start with planning your own session goals, including what you would like to DO with your images, then consider the style and vision you would like them to reflect. Spend some time looking at portfolios and gathering recommendations, and assess as best you can, the quality and expertise of a range of photographers, and once you’ve created a short list, begin to think about pricing and budget and the best way to marry what you need with what you can afford. And if you have a gut feeling that you are cutting corners in any of those orders, take a step back. It’s okay to put an idea on hold until you are really sure about it. It’s your investment, make the most of it.
Carrie Smith's two young boys inspired her love of photography, leading to the creation of Carrie Smith Photography. The Dallas photo studio specializes in newborn photography and also provides in-studio or on-site maternity portraits, hospital photos, children's portraits, and family portraits. Clients have praised Carrie Smith for her memorable photos that capture the subject's spirit and her warm, patient personality.
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.