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.
DON'T be shy about directing your subjects. They want to be told how and where to stand, explains Dennis Kwan, a wedding and portrait specialist with studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Giving subjects direction projects a confidence that allows them to relax when being photographed. "It tells your subjects that you know what you're doing, even if maybe you don't," says Kwan.
*Look For A Full Range Of Emotions*Grab your camera, even when family members are bored, tired or cranky. The tendency is to shoot only when a scene seems funny or “sweet,” but sweet just tells part of a family’s story. Every emotion your parents, siblings, or children display is worth capturing—fascination, tears, passion, even boredom.Interaction between family members will prompt these emotions. “I try to tease out character by prompting unscripted behavior,” says Charlotte Geary, a pro from Manitou Springs, CO (www.charlottegeary.com).“I give vague suggestions instead of specific poses. I’ll ask, for example, that subjects touch or hold each other, or I’ll say, ‘Try to make her laugh.’ They interpret my requests, and the reactions usually look natural and realistic.”Andrew Matusik
One thing I learned when I became a parent, was that the baby is the boss regardless of how much control I pretend I have. The same is true for newborn photography. If the baby doesn’t want to go to sleep for posing after you’ve tried everything, take some lifestyle shots & keep shooting. Swaddle tight and try to get some eye contact. Get images of mommy rocking the baby, be open and flexible – the session doesn’t always go as planned and that might just be the best thing that happens to you.
A new baby is on the way! To document your the tiny bundle of joy’s life from the very beginning, many expecting mothers will choose to do a maternity photography session. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, maternity photography is a great way to capture this special time in life. Not only is it a chance to take snapshots of the glowing mother-to-be, it can also be an opportunity for couples or family photography.
We recommend planning your scenes using the website Kuler by Adobe. On there you’ll be able to find complementary and analogous color combinations that work well together. Being able to see the colors together visually prior to going out and looking for the props and backdrops will save you hours. On Kuler we arranged the pink and yellow combination you see in the left image below prior to searching for actual newborn props and accessories.
Whilst this isn’t one of our essential wedding photography tips it can be a useful one. Shooting with two camera bodies means you have at least two memory cards storing the photos of the day. If one card was to break you have a backup. Moreover, two camera bodies allow for speed on the day versus changing lenses on one camera body. If you have one camera set up with a 35mm lens and the other with an 85mm you can quickly get two different perspectives of the same scene.
You should also state that taking your own photos is dangerous.. photographers know how to handle babies since that’s what they do… parents when posing have no idea. I love the comments on how parents are going to capture this important milestone.. HAPPENS once in a lifetime with bad photos. N O matter what you state here, this should left for the professionals. Its like having aunt MARY take photos at your wedding, yes you will have photos of your wedding, but don’t you want pretty photos done by a professional? it happens ONCE, that is it.. something people should think about. Just because you have scissors and a tutorial doesn’t mean you can cut hair, just because you have a recipe doesn’t mean you are a cook. Take snapshots but also hire a professional
“I was definitely a little nervous going into the shoot – I wanted the photos to feel natural and not come off as too “staged.” Kate made us all feel totally at ease! As soon as I met her I knew it was going to be a great experience. It was clear she is a pro – she could not have a more perfect personality for family photography! I cried the first time I saw our photos, and I will truly treasure them forever.”
Hopefully this post has helped you answer the question of How do I choose a family photographer. Still want to learn more about choosing a family photographer for your shoot? Here is another great blog about choosing the right photographer which covers some of the same tips as well as additional information on the topic. I love to include other people’s writing on the same topic just because I myself am kind of a research addict for big purchases! Remember, Proper prior planning is everything and research is where it all starts!
Photographer reputation and demand have a huge impact on rates. Professional photographers with a widely recognized brand will cost more than those just starting out. Experience will also affect costs. A new photographer looking to build their portfolio will often offer discounts to build clientele, while more established pros will have rates reflecting their experience. Most wedding photographers only work one wedding a day, so if you have your heart set on someone with a cult following, secure their services early with a deposit.
Nope. Makeup artists and hair stylists are infamously bad about keeping schedules (but we love them anyways and they do awesome work!) It is not really their fault since most of the time they can’t schedule a consultation and meet up with every single person whose hair and makeup they are doing before they give you a time estimate, so they really can’t be certain of what all they are going to have to do on the day of your wedding (we have even seen makeup artists unexpectedly have to cover up groomsmens’ black eyes from sports accidents on the morning of the wedding!). They will also be a little slower on your actual day than they were at your hair/makeup trial because they are working their hardest to make you look the best you can and they really want to get it just right, which is awesome! Regardless of whether it is their fault or not, they can’t send people out without them being done and if the hair and makeup professionals are running late, it is usually photo time that gets cut to make up for it. Instead of relying solely on their estimates, give yourself a little bit of a buffer (approximately 5-10 minutes more per person being done than what your professionals are asking for), just to be safe.
As the busy fall season for family photography approaches, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on things you may want consider when choosing a family photographer! If you’re looking at hiring a photographer for the first time, I’m sure the options can be daunting. How does this all work? Why does it cost so much? How do you know you can trust them to do a good job? Whether you’re reading this here in Fort Collins or far away in another state, I want to share some thoughts that might be helpful as you make this decision. This isn’t meant to be a black and white list of dos and don’ts, just some food for thought! I want to start by talking a bit about some things that I think are important to look for when you’re checking out potential photographers’ websites.
Types of photos requested may be "first look" where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony for first reaction photos rather than first seeing each other as the brides walks down the aisle. Another type of "first look" photo may be having the photo shot of the father of the bride seeing the bride for the first time when she is just about to walk down the aisle with him.
Since 2004, we’ve been playing matchmaker, pairing real-life couples with their perfect photographer to document that cloud-nine, once-in-a-lifetime feeling, photo by photo. After the confetti lands, the cake is cut and and the sparklers fade, your photos are the one lasting piece of proof that this unbelievable night really happened. And yes, it was as incredible as you remember it. Through our lens, we see the heart of you and tell a compelling story with photojournalistic wedding photography.
Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com. Follow her on Instagram
*Tell A Story*Shetha Nolke of Portland, OR shot the above photo of a boy encircled in holiday lights and it’s more than just cute. The lights were strung by an older brother, and you can see in the child’s eyes the years of teasing he’s taken from that sibling. Says New York-based pro Andrew Matusik, who took this black-and-white group photo, “I shoot my family like I’m doing a photo essay. I want the photos to tell a greater story and show the bigger picture. To do that, I look for narrative elements that can tie the images together, like the grandchildren in my shot here.”Shetha Nolke
Now that you’ve decided who will be included in your wedding portraits, it’s time to figure out where you’ll be taking the photos. The easiest locations are your ceremony and/or reception venues, of course, but the hotel where you’re getting ready can also be a good spot. If there’s a particular location where you’ve always dreamed of taking your wedding photos (a local beach or park, a neighborhood in your city, etc.), you’ll have to factor the travel time into your wedding photography timeline—and plan for transportation so that all of your VIPs get there safely and on time.
As a full-service photography studio in Dallas for families, moms-to-be and newborns, her priorities lie not just with producing emotive and stunning photographs, but also the comfort and safety of her clients. In addition to having a child-proof and safe studio for photoshoots, Jenny Leigh also travels on-location to hospitals, homes and other areas of the client’s choosing.
Timidity won’t get you ‘the shot’ – sometimes you need to be bold to capture a moment. However timing is everything and thinking ahead to get in the right position for key moments are important so as not to disrupt the event. In a ceremony I try to move around at least 4-5 times but try to time this to coincide with songs, sermons or longer readings. During the formal shots be bold, know what you want and ask for it from the couple and their party. You’re driving the show at this point of the day and need to keep things moving.
Working with your wedding photographer to come up with some great wedding photo ideas is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. But not to worry, we’ve put together an amazing collection of photos to help get it covered. From intimate shots of your wedding dress and wedding rings, to the dance party at your reception, we’ve pulled together a variety of wedding photo ideas for you. After the wedding, you can slip your favorite shot into your thank you cards so everyone can remember your big day.
Patterns can add visual interest and texture as well as a good dose of personality. Just make sure that either just one person is in a pattern with the rest of the subjects in simple, more solid color pieces or the patterns are subtle and complementary (for instance, a teeny tiny polka dot tie on a little boy next to his sisters bold color blocked pattern can look very complementary).