First, I would recommend never hiring someone, even a friend, without looking at their portfolio first.  While a portfolio only showcases a photographer’s best work, if their best isn’t very good, you can safely bet they won’t be taking amazing photos of you and your family, and you should think about hiring someone else. Looking at their portfolio will also give you an inclination as to their creative vision and methods.
We thought ahead about location, poses, logistics, and timing.  If you have a plan, it is easier to get in and out and end up with photos that you are happy with!  Take the photos of the whole family first, then the children together and individually, and then couple photos if desired.  You can realistically take great family photos in 30-60 minutes by yourself if you have a plan.
We photograph you at your house, on your property, a park or any place of your choosing within a 30-mile radius. Multiple poses of your family will be taken. The images are processed on the same day and can be viewed either in our studio or at your location with your photographer. A clothing change for the family can be added for $45. Please call for a quote if your chosen location is farther than 30 miles from our studio.
First and foremost, you need to feel like yourself! If you're a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of woman, will you feel comfortable in a cocktail dress during your engagement shoot? If you love wearing flats, will you feel like yourself in a pair of towering heels? Don't feel like you have to dress in a certain way. The most important thing is that you're comfortable, that you feel natural, and that you're wearing something that's representative of who you are.
Meet a few photographers before hiring anyone. Any photographer should be willing to meet with you either in person or by phone before you commit to hiring them just like a contractor would be. (If they aren’t you might want to think twice about working with them because that shows they are not valuing the relationship and are more likely to think of you as a pay check.) Just like when you are choosing a pediatrician, or a pre school, when you hire a photographer you are hiring someone who will be intimately involved with your life. The only way to get beautiful, true images is to work with someone who you genuinely like and trust. True images only happen when you will feel comfortable being yourself around your photographer.
6. A spotter. Anytime you are photographing a baby, you really need another person as a spotter. The other person’s only job is to make sure the baby doesn’t roll off the cushions onto the floor. If you are photographing a newborn it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be strong enough to roll anywhere, especially once they are nestled inside the boppy pillow or bean bag, but you can never be too safe. So make sure your “assistant” sits on the floor within arms length of the baby.
Create a shortlist. Once you have been through the profiles and seen some of the photography of a number of wedding photographers, you need to narrow this down to a manageable number. Then you can arrange to meet, interview, and inspect the portfolios of your chosen few. Think carefully about who you want to interview, and consider what elements are most important to you.
While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 33 cents for one print — you can get better results for a slightly lower price at our picks for the best professional photo labs, below, if you’re willing to wait (and pay to ship). Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.

In real estate it’s location, location, location. In photography it’s quality, quality, quality. When you are looking for a photographer, you want to look at their exposure, white balance, and focus. Is it all correct and consistent? Before you inquire with a photographer on pricing information, you want to make sure that you will receive quality images.  Some families get photos done yearly. Some only get them done every few years, or just once when their kids are little. No matter how often you get photos done, these images will be hanging on your walls, in frames at your office, and in albums that many generations will get to enjoy. Making sure you have a photographer that can deliver you images with correct exposure, white balance, and focus should be top priority.
“Kate let our son have his space but also got him back on track playing, having fun, and following her direction. Her reviews are incredible and every positive thing you read is absolutely true. Not only are the photos beautiful, they’re filled with emotion. Anyone can take a picture of you smiling at the camera but to capture personalities and emotion is a special talent.”

I also suggest the option of styling the session to my clients. While they can style the shoot according to their own taste, I also recommend getting it done professionally. It is relatively inexpensive and saves a lot of time for the couple. I show portfolios of planners, who stylize events and engagement sessions and put my clients in touch with them.
*Keep Lighting Soft*Direct flash almost never works—it often fights the sense of intimacy, warmth, and naturalness that characterize the best family portraits. “I avoid direct flash like the plague,” says Sue Barr. “It will flatten an image and drain it of all spontaneity.”To work without flash, you’ll want the fastest lens you can afford. This allows you to shoot in low light, defocus (and thereby declutter) backgrounds, and use fast, kid-freezing shutter speeds.Another lighting tip: avoid direct sun. “I like shooting on cloudy days,” says Barr, “and I use gold or silver reflectors to add spark.” The latter helps lighten the shadows of wrinkles, making it helpful with older family members. Family portraiture is rewarding because it gives you the chance to celebrate something that’s life affirming and positive. As amateur photographer Jeremy Rule (www.fiickr.com/ photos/JeremyRule) of North Bend, WA—whose portrait of an extended family above —says, “Family portraits rarely focus on disease, divorce, fighting, business, addiction, or a recession. When you hand a family a portrait, you’re giving them something to celebrate, bond, and rally around.”Jeremy Rule
This is more of a personal choice, but I tend to choose clothing that is timeless, perhaps a little vintage in style. Whatever your style is, make sure your choices won’t look terribly dated years from now (or months in the case of some quickly passing trends). I personally love to use softer or neutral tones (with a color pop here and there) and classic shapes, then add interest with accessories, layers and lots of interesting textures. I also happen to love bright and colorful as long as it’s not obnoxious or distracting from the subject’s personality and face. Of course, this is a personal choice and many families will choose to go all out in the latest trends, thinking of their clothing choices as a sort of time stamp in their images.
×