Not all photographers are created equal. I mean we all use cameras but then so do millions of other people. Creating portraits and capturing images are not the same thing. Every photographer has their own style and every style will either invite you to gaze longingly, leave you questioning exactly what you are looking at, or may even repel you. Look at the photographer’s portfolio and ask yourself if the photographs are something you would want to hang on your wall. Obviously if they are of another person’s family you would not want that exact image, but can you imagine your family in their family’s place hanging on your wall? Do you prefer more candid pieces or are the posed ones more to your liking? Do the subjects in the portraits look comfortable or a little constipated? Are the images believable or do they look like a child’s room after a day of destruction, I mean playing? Photography is a form of art and like all artists, photographers develop their own style. This style will most likely evolve over time so when you are looking at their portfolio, ask yourself if it is consistent. Some artists prefer dark and moody while others are brighter and airier. Which do you prefer? There is no right or wrong answer here, just your own opinion. Please take the time to look at my portfolio and decide for yourself if I am worthy of capturing your Timeless Memories Portraits.
Like all things in life, your choice is often limited to your pocketbook. Make sure you know what you are getting. Is the advertised price a sitting/booking fee or does it include images? If the price includes images, are they digital or print images? If they are digital images, do they include a print release? (This is especially important, as most printers will not print your portraits without the photographer’s permission. The photographer owns the copyrights to the portraits.) If the advertised price includes the sitting fee only, how much extra are the digital or print images and what sizes are offered? Does the photographer offer print packages? Are the digital images high-definition or web-ready files? How and when will you receive your portraits? Will you get to choose your favorite images to be edited or will you only see what the photographer deems worthy of being seen? Some photographers upload images to their website for viewing and others schedule a viewing with you either in their office or at your home. While price is particularly important, money is not the only talking you should be listening to. Make sure that your budget matches your expectations. I try to include digital and/or print products with my session fees. I ALWAYS include print permissions with my digital downloads and only schedule viewing sessions if the client prefers this. Timeless Memories Portraits sessions always include an online gallery that you can view in the comfort of your own home and on either your mobile device or on your personal computer. All orders can be delivered to the address of your choosing. For instance, if you want to order prints for Granny Cat, Uncle Brian, and Cousin David, you don’t have to wait to receive them and then send them yourself, they can be sent directly to each individual straight from the printer!
Do you prefer a studio or a location of your choosing? Both have limitations as well as requirements. Lighting is a key factor in all sessions. Studios offer backgrounds, controlled lighting, and props; outdoor sessions offer flexibility in background and the ability to move to multiple locations; lifestyle sessions can be done in the comfort of your home using your home and or yard to really create a personalized session. Again, this comes down to personal preference. What do you envision when you picture your portrait? Not all photographers offer studio sessions anymore than do location sessions. I personally offer location sessions, where the client chooses the location, or I offer suggestions depending of what they are looking for. The location can be a public park, their house, a hotel, or even their favorite coffee house. I often bring a few props, ask the client to bring personal items, or use what is available depending on the type of session being requested.
What type of session are you wanting?
Most photographers have a specialty or focus. If you are looking to schedule a boudoir session, you probably would not begin by looking at an infant photographer. There are a lot of photographers that have not chosen to specialize and even if they have, that does not mean they are limited by their specialty. I am a family and child portrait photographer but still provide senior, graduation, head shot, event, and wedding sessions. Many of these are quite similar in their demands of lighting, location, candid capture, and the ability to tell a story. I prefer to be your family photographer, focusing on most of your family’s portrait needs. It is always best to ask if they offer the type of session you are seeking and then to look at their portfolio for that type of session. If a photographer is looking to expand their portfolio, they often will advertise portfolio building specials. Depending of the photographer, these can be hit or miss but you can usually find at least an image or two that you like. My advice is to look at their work and then decide. If you decide on a photographer that specializes in one thing, know that their prices will reflect this. A newborn photographer, boudoir photographer, wedding photographer, etc. has specialized in their chosen focus and may be all that they do. Their prices are often higher, but their quality often is reflected by their niche.
I hope this helps points you in the right direction and saves you time, tears of frustration, and money. If I can assist you in any way, please let me know! I hope to see you behind my lens soon!