Photographers are a dime a dozen these days, but what really distinguishes the professionals? What makes an established photographer worth investing in? There are a couple key things that separate the true experts from the novices. First, and most importantly, is experience. You want a photographer that is just as invested in the session as you are. We know it is no small thing to ready your entire family, physically and emotionally (let’s be real, there’s a ton of emotional labor that goes into it), and yourself for images you’ll have for a lifetime and that will decorate the halls of your home. You want to hire someone that’s in it with you, and will go to every length to get the shot, all while keeping the session light and fun. You want to walk away with confidence, knowing, that no matter which kid had the meltdown or was anti-session, beautiful captures were made. You also want your family to walk away having had a great time and several laughs. This requires someone with experience in connecting and engaging with your family members in a way that draws out their personality for capture. This takes a world of experience to achieve, so it’s up to you to do the research, and make sure you select a photographer that makes you feel at ease, and confident that they will deliver, giving you the portrait of your dreams.
A quick way to check a photographer’s credibility and determine if they are right for you, is good ole’ fashioned reviews. Not much speaks stronger to a photographers merit than what is said about them and the experience by previous clients. Word of mouth is a long standing method of credibility. It means a lot to us when someone we know or dozens of individuals highly recommend a business/service. A truly experienced professional is working hard to listen to their clients, and give them a first-rate experience. If this is achieve, it’s reflected in the reviews. In the same way we scour Yelp and Google Reviews for restaurants and other services, so should you for a photographer.
Something a little harder to determine, unless you ask directly, but which is valuable and distinguishing, is the portrait timeline. The portrait timeline is exactly what it sound like- a timeline detailing how long the process takes from the point of the session to delivery of final products. Often, an amateur photographer will have a more ambiguous or undefined process, resulting in delayed delivery of final products, and confusion for the client. You never want to feel like you’re not sure what happens next or when to expect your order. A professional addresses your questions before you even knew you had them and sticks to a portrait timeline. They never have you guessing and are diligent about keeping you in the loop. Along the same line, is communication. Again, we know how much work goes in on your end planning for the session- clothing, hair, makeup, etc.. When you’re this invested you want to feel secure and it’s your photographers job to do so by maintaining great communication with you. For example, let’s say you’ve got your family session this week and it’s forecasted to rain that afternoon. A professional will already be keeping an eye on the weather, and will call you asap to chat about what the plan is, and address the rain concern. You want to work with someone that is on top of correspondence and clear about everything from what the plan is to what you’re going to get and when you’re going to get it.
When we begin to think about having family photos, we collect ideas of what these images look like. We dream about how our pictures will turn out and what they will capture. When choosing your photographer, you want to make sure you love their style of photography. Each photographer has a style their own, and a certain specialty. This makes it really important to make sure you personally align with a photographer’s style and vibe, because that’s exactly the type of images you will get. Hiring a photographer whose signature image is a far away, candid shot may not be the right fit for you if you want closeup portraits. To guarantee a great session for yourself, choose a photographer whose aesthetic matches your ideas. When doing your research, take your time scrolling through their work and seeing if the style speaks to your heart and how you want your family to be captured.
The last piece that sets professionals apart from the rest of the crowd is product. What are you going to have at the end of the day? Are you getting a CD of files? Or heirloom products that will be in your family for generations to come? Someone with experience will listen to you, hear what you want, and take into consideration the style of your home to create a collection of products that’s just right for you. Too often clients are handed a disk with their family photos which then gets thrown in a desk drawer and forgotten about. Where is that disk and those images 20 years from now? At this point, with our studio, you’ve already gone through the entire experience of preparing for, then participating in the session. You’ve hand selected each image that touches your heart to design a collection all your own. You’re invested and excited. How would you feel, after all that, being handed a CD? Talk about anti-climactic. Not here. We use nothing but the best labs and highest quality products, to deliver your images in a way that completes the luxury and full-service experience at our studio. We offer products that are timeless and built to last. We believe in creating legacy, which is just not the same when you’re given a disk. We promise to complete your Photography by Desiree experience with products that your family is going to love for generations to come.
It’s not easy to find a truly great photographer among the crowds, but we hope these tips will help you sort through the masses and align you with a photographer that gives you exactly the experience and images you’ve been dreaming of.