You’ve searched google, you’ve asked friends, you’ve looked on Facebook. And you came up with roughly 1,257 photographers in your area that “specialize” in what you are looking for. How in the heck do you figure out who’s the best one for you?
Who has the time to go through a huge process of picking from so many photographers?
Overwhelming is probably not a strong enough word for how that can feel. I wanted to share a few tips that could help you narrow down what you are looking for, even if you think you might already know.
I ran my own photography business for nearly 8 years, and while I no longer take photography clients, I know what goes into everything behind the scenes. There might be a few things you haven’t thought of before in the tips below.
As much as photographers wish for every client to have an unlimited budget, most live in the real world. I have a budget to and a family and bills and expenses. I know it’s hard to spend money on photographs sometimes. Know before going in what you might be able to spend on photos. And then narrow it down. If your budget is $900, don’t look at photographers who charge $125 and give you all the files. You will get what you pay for. Good or bad.
Every photographer should have a defined “look” to their images. When you see an image from a newborn shoot that makes you pause, ask yourself what is it about that image that struck something in you? Was it the softness? Was it because it was black and white and you love classic images? Was it because the baby was just so darn cute you didn’t even care it was propped up in a basket that was too big and it’s skin was an unnatural shade of orange? Is it because you were instantly smiling and warm all over because that image made you feel so excited to hold your baby in your arms? All of those things matter. And whatever it is that draws you to an image, write it down. Pull those images together on a Pinterest board and look for similarities. Then go back to that list you’ve narrowed down by price and look for those images that pull you in. If the images you are seeing are from photographers that are more than your budget, it’s always worth reaching out to them to find out their detailed pricing. A good photographer will help you through the process and guide you to what you need rather than just trying to sell you something you don’t need because it has a high price tag.
If you know someone who used one of the photographers in your price range, ask them about their experience. Sometimes it’s more than just photos, it’s the entire process. Personality and communication and experience are important in a photographer as well. And who knows better than past clients?
Know What You Want From Your Session
It’s hard to know what you want to do with your photographs before you see any photographs. I get that. But it’s best to have an idea. Some people know they want a few prints framed and a birth announcement. Some know they want an album to serve as a baby book. Most people think they need digital files. My best advice is to really ask yourself if you NEED those digital files. What are you going to do with them? In 2 years when your computer crashes and you need another one, where will those images be? Taking up space on a broken machine? Maybe you are the type of person who will make prints and that’s amazing. Most people aren’t. So really think hard about what you want from your session. Don’t spend a lot of money on a beautiful photo shoot only to get files that sit on your computer forever.
Eeny Meeny Miny Moe? NO.
While this is not a method I recommend, I understand the concept of just picking one out of a hat. If you are looking for a newborn photographer, this is definitely not the method to use. You only get newborn photos one time. Just once in your child’s life. It’s the first opportunity to document your new or growing family. It’s history and I think it’s the most important time to choose carefully. Even blow the budget a little if you have to. The worst is regretting not having better photographs. When your oldest is heading into high school or college, will you look through your photos and have regrets? Or will you have photos all digitally instead of beautifully displayed in your home or in an album?
Still overwhelmed? I get it. What it comes down to is this: Don’t pick randomly. Don’t pick because someone has a cutesy logo. Don’t pick because they were cheap. DO pick because you know someone who used them and had the best experience. DO pick because the photographer reached out and was willing to work with you in your budget and show you the best ways to use your photographs. DO pick because a photographer has a style of images that give you a lump in your throat or a warm feeling.
You won’t regret putting in the work to find the right photographer for you. And you’ll never look back at an amazing photo of your family printed large for your stairway collage and say “I wish I never had this gorgeous photo taken”.