How to choose the best family photographer – 5 essential things to consider
1. LIFESTYLE, DOCUMENTARY OR TRADITIONAL
Would you prefer lifestyle, documentary or traditional photos of your family?
Lifestyle family photographers focus on creating images of families interacting with each other, playing and having fun. Lifestyle photographers will generally take some photos where the family is posed smiling at the camera, but focus more on images where family members are interacting with each other and appear to be unaware of the camera. Lifestyle images generally portray a somewhat rose tinted view of the family – your family on its best ever day where everyone was happy and looked beautiful! A good lifestyle photographer will create opportunities for family members to interact and have fun so that the photo session is a happy family experience to remember.
Documentary family photographers do not direct the family in any way or change anything in the scene. A documentary family photographer will not open curtains, turn off lights or ask family members to do anything or move anywhere. Instead, they will observe the scene unfolding in front of them in a completely “hands off” manner and make images of the interesting stories they see. Documentary family photographers capture families in an honest and journalistic fashion.
Traditional family portrait photographers focus on creating traditional family portraits where the family is still and posed looking at the camera. These photos are often taken in a studio setting.
Look through photographers’ website portfolios as this will give you a clue which type of family photography they specialise in. Check to see they have a wide range of images in their portfolio or blog so that you know the type of images you can expect to receive. Bear in mind that a photographer’s portfolio contains their “best of the best” photos.
2. LOCATION: HOME, OUTDOOR OR STUDIO
Which type of location would you prefer for your family photo session?There are 3 main types of location for family photo sessions:
Some photographers specialise in taking photos at families’ own homes. A session in your own home is unique to your own family. Elements of your home, special day to day activities and pets can be incorporated in your session. Children also tend to feel more relaxed being photographed in their own home.
Some photographers prefer to take photos in outside locations like parks or beaches. Beach sessions are beautiful but there are a few things to take into account when deciding if this is the best option for your family. Outdoor sessions are generally held in the hour or two before sunset (or at sunrise) because this is the best time for flattering lighting. This can be late for young children (especially in summer). Outdoor sessions are usually in a public setting which can be distracting for children and and can also make it difficult to get images without other people in the scene. Weather in Auckland can be unpredictable and outdoor sessions may involve cold, wind and rain if the sun decides not to cooperate that day. Be prepared that your hair is likely to be blowing in the wind at outdoor locations in Auckland! Photographers aren’t able to control the weather unfortunately.
Some photographers are based in a studio setting which results in a minimalist backdrop.
3. EDITING STYLE
Different photographers edit their photos in different ways. Some photographers have a pastel, lighter colour theme in their work, others have a moodier, darker style of editing. Some have a more brown/orange tone to their editing, others have a more natural style. Some photographers edit images heavily and others edit lightly in a true to life manner.When you look at photographers’ websites consider if their editing style and colours reflect your own personal style. Would their images look good displayed in your home? Will they become outdated quickly or are they timeless.The choices you make in your home interior and clothing may give you some clues as to your preferences.
4. PRICING STRUCTURE
What pricing structure does the photographer have? Different photographers structure their pricing differently. Of course, price should not be the determining factor on which photographer you choose, as ideally (within the limits of your family’s budget) you should choose the photographer whose work makes your heart the happiest – bear in mind you and your family should enjoy these photos for a lifetime.That said, no-one wants to be caught off-guard after their session with unexpected prices, so it is best to be aware before your session of what type of $$ you are likely to spend on purchasing photos of your family.There are 2 main pricing structures for photographers (and many variations in between):- Some photographers charge an upfront fee (often called a “session fee” or “session retainer”) which covers the time at the shoot but doesn’t include any digital files or prints etc. The client doesn’t decide what they want to purchase until after the session when they see the images.- Other photographers charge an “all inclusive” fee which includes the session and a specified number of digital files. The fee is paid in full upfront before the session takes place. The client often pays a deposit at the time of booking the session and pays the balance before the session date.
5. DIGITAL FILES AND PRINTED PRODUCTS
What do you intend to do with the images from your photo session? If you want to be able to print and share images yourself, then make sure that the photographer sells digital files (and check the price of them). Not all photographers sell digital files – some only sell printed products.If you wish to purchase printed products from your photographer, check what products they sell. Professional photographers have access to a wide range of beautiful premium prints, frames and albums that are not available to the public. The quality of these products will surpass anything available to the general public and of course makes it easy for clients to get their images displayed beautifully with minimal effort on their own part (no point having photos taken if they are to sit unseen and unprinted on a USB or on a computer).
Those are my top tips for now. I hope they help you on your mission to find the best photographer for your family. At the end of the day, the best photographer is the one who will take beautiful photos of your family that show how much you love each other and enjoy being together and who captures the essence of your family at this stage of your life.
Life moves so quickly and people change every day so there is no better time than now to get some photos made of your family!I would love to help you create some beautiful memories of your family, so if you are looking for an awesome Auckland family photographer please get in touch!