How to pick, plan, prepare.

August 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I often see in local forums people asking for the best photographer or the cheapest photographer.  So here is my input on how to search for a photographer and how to make your session a success.

 

Many people will ask who the best pediatrician is for their child.  There is no real answer to this as everyone has a favorite, it is a preference.  You need to communicate and get along with your doctor.  I know our pediatrician is the best for me and I have tried a lot of other "best" pediatricians that, yes knew their job, but no did not connect with me or my children.  Once you find the right pediatrician, you usually stick with them and build a bond as you will hopefully be spending the next 18+ years with them.

 

Finding the right photographer is similar to that situation.  You want someone who "knows their stuff", but you also need that connection.  If you are a customer that hops from photographer to photographer, you may want to pick 1 or 2 of those to stick with.  To get the best pictures in those tough toddler years, try to build a bond with your photographer in that first year by getting newborn, 6 month, and 1 year photos done.  Most photographers have a baby first year plan to tie you in and help to build a bond.  Some people even go farther and get maternity, 3 month, and 9 month pictures. 

Plan with your photographer.  Don't just say, "I trust what you will do", but rather say, "these are the colors I want, what suggestions do you have?".  This will help you to know a little bit more of each others style.  I like it when a client brings a special blanket or hat to use as I feel it makes the session a little more personal for them since the props are usually all mine!

A tip for someone looking for newborn pictures.  Look at the portfolio of the photographer before booking as some photographers pose babies and some do not, again, personal preference.  You have so little time to get these pictures taken and baby will never be that small again - it is not always possible to re-do these photos.  You will see I have different pricing for newborns compared to children.  The reason being a newborn session takes a lot longer as they are a lot more fragile than a child and posing/shushing/rocking baby to sleep takes more time.  Also, the cost of props is more as you should have the proper equipment to safely pose a newborn baby as well as training.

A tip for child pictures.  Let the photographer know your child's attitude or likes.  The photographer can study and find fun things to relate to the child then.  If your child distracts easily and you want balloons in a picture, let the photographer know that so they can start with the least amount of props and add to it.  Sometimes I will bring a helium tank and wait until I have some pictures without balloons before blowing them up to use.  When they see the balloons excitement takes over them making for new expressions.

The most important thing for a parent to do is....Stay calm.  Try to refrain from yelling or threatening your child.  This only adds disappointment and actually worsens behaviors.  Sometimes if a child is misbehaving, I will take them by the hand away from the parent to let both calm down.  It helps. a. lot.  Even during a newborn session, the baby will pick up on stress and frustration.  so really.  stay as calm as you can.  I have kids...I get being frustrated with them.  I prefer to start with child posing and then let them lead the way.

If your child is sick or has been crabby all day, reschedule.  It is best for all to make everyone's experience the best it can be.

Every photographer starts somewhere and will often do casting calls to add to portfolios.  If you are looking for perfect photos or certain props/ideas, it may not be available to that photographer or may not fit the style they want.  It takes years to accomplish a certain style and then perfect it so try to be supportive by leaving positive feedback.

Last, do not pick a photographer based on age.  I see a lot of young photographers that do great work and people show a ton of support to them because of it.  Well, I am not 18 years old as I got a late start into what I really wanted to do with my life.  I have accomplished this new dream with my hands completely full (with 3 kids)...I usually edit with a child or 2 sitting/sleeping on me.  Sometimes I am nursing while I edit.  Sometimes I bring one with to a session - usually the oldest.  This does not make me any less of a photographer.  It just makes me more alert to what is going on with my small clientele.

 

 


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