Check Out Their Portfolio
Believe it or not, this is a step many people miss. For those who are not familiar with photography, they may not understand how much difference there is. No two photographers are alike. They each have their style. Be sure to look at the work they have done and be sure you are OK with it. What you get will be similar. A photographer's style is like peoples' personalities: they don't change much.
Try This: Imagine the images you are considering hanging in your home. If you can do that, then you like that photographer's style.
Do They Specialize?
Unless the photographer is part of a large studio with several photographers, you will want to be sure that they have enough experience with the kind of photography you are looking for. A wedding photographer is probably not a good newborn photographer. And vice versa. Photographers who claim to do too many kinds of things are ones you may want to steer clear from. Of course, there are always exceptions, but in general, photographers are persnickety creatures who have their ways of doing things. They tend to focus on one or two genres.
Pro Tip: A professional specializes. They know how hard it is to be good at more than one or two types of photography. They also usually don't enjoy doing too many different kinds.
Pinterest is great for a lot of things. But avoid selecting random images from many different photographers and then expecting to get those kinds of images. Instead, look at a photographer's Instagram page. Look and see if they have lots of examples of the kind of photography you are looking for. An honest photographer will not promise that they can get you that exact image you saw on Pinterest. They know that style, gear and circumstances all play a role in getting pictures. They may be able to create a similar image, or one in their style.
Try This: Think about the people you want photographed. What are the elements that are important to you that you want immortalized.
Have a Consultation
Photography is a complicated endeavor. There are many parts to creating images. A good photographer will not photograph someone they have not met, or interviewed. It doesn't work like that (unless you are Target studio, but that is a whole different thing). Handcrafted images are personal. The photographer has to meet you, talk to you, get to know you. This is true for kids too. Even toddlers. They have to know a little bit about the photographer so they feel at ease.
Pro Tip: Meet the photographer in person for adults and older kids. For babies and kids under 7, be sure to have a plan in place to help them feel OK with a stranger taking their photo.
Price Matters, But It Is Not The Only Factor
You get what you pay for. This classic platitude really applies to photographers. With almost anyone being able to call themselves a photographer, you have to be really careful. If you see ads for a slew of images for an ultra low price, you know that you are not getting anything much better than you could do yourself on your cell phone. If you are just looking for basic images because you do not want to have to deal with it, that is one thing. But if you are looking for images to document a life event, be prepared to pay a bit more.
Try This: Ask yourself, "What is your priority?" A lot of mediocre images? Or a few outstanding ones? Both priorities are OK. But be sure to hire a photographer in line with your needs.
Ask about "editing"
In this business, there is editing, and then there is retouching. Some people use the term interchangeably. But you should understand what you are getting for your money. Editing sometimes just means making basic changes to ALL the images in your session. The same change, applied to all of them. This is literally just a couple of clicks and takes mere seconds.
Then there is retouching, or what some call "photoshopping". This includes things like blemish removal, slimming people down, double chin reduction, shaping arms, adding digital makeup, whitening teeth, removing dark circles, braces removal etc. These kinds of tasks are labor intensive. Even if your photographer sends images out to be retouched, they are paying a pretty penny for the higher end tasks. This cost, gets passed on to you. So be sure you understand what retouching is included, and what happens if you want more done.
Try This: Ask, "Do you edit each image separately or do you apply only global edits?"
Does Gear Matter or Nah?
So, yes. Gear matters. A true photographer really will want to use the best tools they can afford. At the very least, this should be a camera that allows shooting in manual mode.
Try this: Ask "What's in your bag". If your photographer lights up with enthusiasm and proudly states 5 or 6 essentials, that is probably a really good sign.
Studio or Location?
Many people assume that they want a location session. This may be true. But location sessions have restrictions. It may turn out to be the best for you, but here is what you should know.
LOCATION SESSION FACTS:
1. For those images at the beach at sunset, at certain gardens and even many public parks, there is a permit required for professional photographers to shoot there. Be be prepared to pay as much as $800 for certain location permits alone.
2. Images taken on location tend to have a lot of location in them. Usually, subjects appear small to emphasize the location they are in. If you are OK with this, that's great. But if you want more close up images, then the location may not matter so much. No reason to pay huge permit fees if all you really want is a headshot or close up that can be done in studio or in your own backyard.
3. Timing and weather: The point of a location shoot is not only the location, but the time of day. Golden Hour is the time photographers generally prefer. Golden Hour happens at sunrise and at sunset and only lasts a short time. You will need to be dressed and on location about 20 minutes before the best light begins so your photographer can take exposure shots and get their settings on their camera fleshed out. Weather can be unpredictable, so be sure that you leave enough time so that a shoot can be rescheduled. This is really critical for maternity photos. If you wait until week 38 for your location photos, you may not be able to reschedule if you have to.
4. It is harder to change outfits on location. Some places charge a higher permit fee to change outfits, and there is often no easy place to change. The best locations are far from buildings and such. Ask if your photographer has a portable changing tent, or bring a friend to hold up a towel while you change. Studio sessions make changing easier and more comfortable for many maternity and boudoir-type clients.
As one of Los Angeles' maternity and child photographers, photography is a second full time career for me. I was an elementary school teacher and part time photographer for over 20 years. My talent for photographing children was "exploited" while I was a teacher and I was the go-to person for all kinds of photos, including "make up" picture day. Thus, being a child photographer was a logical transition as I retired from teaching.
Now, I am a bit of a recluse. I enjoy working on editing images, creating photo art and planning sessions. My studio is filled with all kinds of elements that I may decide I need during a session. It is not a minimalist, clean-lined studio. It is brimming with props and fabrics and furniture. You may find me rummaging around in a closet during a session looking for the perfect headpiece. Or, I may venture out into the garage to get a chair or bench that I think will work better.
So, sessions with me are what you may call “freely planned”. That is, I plan, but then if the mood of the session changes, then so do I. Probably the best way to describe what I do is to quote a past client: "Katie, thank you for stopping time so perfectly for us". I invite you to have an complimentary consultation about your maternity, newborn, baby or child photo session. My job will be to create astoundingly captivating images of you and your family.
Certificated in Newborn Photography Posing Safety.
Certified Red Cross First Aid (Infants)
Completed newborn care specialist training
20 Years experience with children with health concerns in the classroom.
You deserve more than a snapshot.
Images that keep them like this forever
Boutique Photography For Maternity, Baby & Kids
The convenience of having a pretty good camera with us at all times truly has changed how we capture the story of our lives. There are moments when handing off your phone to a friend, or taking a selfie will do. But there are other moments when it's best to hire a professional.
We love working with our clients to beautifully capture the milestones in your life and to create artwork for your home to showcase these moments for years to come.
Want to learn more?
Click the link below to schedule a free phone consultation to discuss our different portrait sessions.