By Rachel Hein
You’ve decided you would like to have some family photos taken, so how do you choose the best photographer to take them?
The following tips from family photographer, Rachel Hein should help you do just that. The first question you should ask is ‘what style of photography is right for you?’
There are three main styles of family photography:
1. Posed - usually studio based.
2. Lifestyle - natural, relaxed photos with a little bit of direction.
3. Documentary - no posing or directions.
It’s really important that you start by choosing the right style for your family. Documentary style photography would not be the right choice for somebody looking for beautiful pictures of their newborn baby wrapped and posed, and if you like your kids to run wild and get muddy then a studio style shoot is not for you!
Within these styles of photography, you’ll also find lots of variations: the photographer’s editing style, the quality of the photos and the locations. All of it this is important. Have a good look at the photographer’s portfolio - do you love the images? If not, move on! Don’t make the assumption that the photographer will change his or her style to match your tastes.
If you’re drawn to candid photos, lifestyle and/or documentary photography is the perfect choice for you. Both styles aim to capture real moments, emotions and details. Photography sessions are relaxed, fun and tailored to your family. If your favourite place to hang out is the beach, then that’s where to go! The great outdoors is perfect for the spontaneous nature of lifestyle photography but the family home is also a great location for these types of sessions, particularly for younger children and babies. Documentary style newborn sessions that take place in the home are increasingly popular with clients who are looking for more relaxed and honest images that capture what it feels like to welcome a new baby home.
Studio photography is also a great choice if you’re looking for more posed photos, and works really well for newborn and baby shoots.
What would you like to do with the photographs?
If you’re hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your family, what are you planning to do with the photos?
Do you want to have digital images that you can print yourself or share on Facebook? Do you want some beautifully framed prints to hang on the wall or would you like an heirloom album that will be cherished for years to come?
Whatever it is you are looking for, make sure you choose a photographer who offers that service. Many photographers offer digital-only packages so do check if you would like to have some tangible items as well as a USB stick. Some photographers will also help you select your images and decide on the best way to display your favourites in your home.
Is the photographer someone you think you could get along with? You’re going to be spending an hour or two with them so it’s really important that you can feel relaxed during the session. Most family photographers will chat away to you and engage with your family while taking your photos which will help you all to relax in front of the camera. This may well be something that you plan to do every year, or two and you’ll be building a relationship over many years, so it’s important to choose someone you feel you can have a really good rapport with.
Family photographers usually charge a session fee and add on prints and digital files afterwards or include them in up front packages. Pricing can very tremendously so make sure that you understand what’s included before you go ahead and book a session. Well established family photographers are professionals with years of experience and have to charge accordingly for their time and talent in order to make a living and stay in business. If a photographer is offering very inexpensive packages, they are likely to be new to the industry and very inexperienced.
Hiring a good professional photographer does require a degree of investment but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.