You’ve decided to hire a family photographer. It’s time to tell your story, to give a gift to your future self and to celebrate the connections and stories within your family during this season.
I’m Kate Farrell, a family photographer in Williston Vermont. I designed this post to help you find the best photographer for you.
You’ve decided to invest in yourself and in art. You are about to have that amazing feeling that comes from being seen, accepted and celebrated just as you are.
But, between here and there is a big decision: Who will you hire? It’s important that you find the right person. A good fit is key — whether that’s me or another photographer.
This post will take you through the process step by step.
You might also enjoy my post, Three Signs It’s Time to Hire a Lifestyle Family Photographer.
Step 1: Identify the Photography Style You Prefer
As you look at various photos, notice the different ways you respond to different styles.
- What really resonates with you? There is no right or wrong here, but you do need to figure out what you like.
- What mood and vibe makes you feel alive when you look at photos of other people? That’s the one for you.
- Is it dark and moody? Is it light and airy? Is it emotive?
- Are you looking for images that say “JOY!” or images that reflect more depth and range of emotion such as love, caring, longing and other more complex emotions.
- Do you like photos taken at an indoor studio or outdoors in a more natural setting?
- Do you like photos that look staged or those that look more authentic? (Spoiler alert: any good photographer will guide you into place during your session. We just have different ways of doing this.)
- Do you prefer images that feel “Vermonty” or images that could be taken anywhere? What’s your favorite season in Vermont? Look for a photographer whose work includes that time of year.
Follow several photographers whose work you like.
Step 2: What Moments Do You Want Your Family Photographer to Capture?
Every photographer aims to capture the really sweet moment that tells a whole story.
Here’s the rub: We all see the world differently and will capture slightly different moments as The Key Moment. There is no right or wrong here.
Over the next few days, be really observant of your family. Notice what you really love about them and what you don’t want to forget. Look for little details like your baby’s curls or the sweet, encouraging look your spouse gives you when you are struggling. Watch for the ways your kids connect — what expressions do they make when they are engaged the way you want to remember them.
My recent post, Three Annual Must-Have Childhood Photos, has some ideas that might help.
Now, look more closely at the work of the photographers you are following. Narrow your focus to the photographer(s) who capture the kind of moments you love.
Step 3: The Client Experience
Hiring a photographer is NOT just about finding an artist to come snap a few quick pics.
Now you know you need to find someone whose style resonates with you and who sees the same kinds of special moments as you.
Next, you need to think about finding someone you can trust with your unique situation.
If you are anything like me, you don’t actually love to have your photo taken. You might have a few family members who are reluctant. Perhaps you have a family member with special needs. Or maybe your family isn’t the “classic two kids family” so often depicted as the gold standard.
Don’t bail! Don’t just hand your iPhone off to a friend for a quick snapshot.
This, my friend, is why you are hiring a professional photographer.
Look for a photographer who will support you from the first inquiry through the photo session and delivery of prints and digital images. Read reviews and reach out to your friends to get a feel for each photographer.
If you are going to be hiring a photographer while you are visiting Vermont, look for someone willing to help you find the right place for your photos and help you get to know the area. I love Vermont and love sharing it’s beauty with new friends.
Look for a professional photographer ready and willing to meet your needs in ways that are respectful of you, your family and your time. If the photographer gives a “you are not worthy” or “I don’t photograph people like you” vibe, move on. You will find the right photographer for you.
Think of this the way you would think about location when buying a house. It’s not just the house (photos) that matters. The neighborhood (photographer) is also very important.
My post, How the Best Family Photographers Prepare for Sessions, has more info on this topic.
Step 4: Product Options
A good photographer will help you find ways to display and archive your photos.
Look for options that will provide enough guidance that you actually get some prints up on your wall, into an album and displayed digitally.
When you get a gallery of 50+ images all of professional quality it’s really exciting. It can quickly get to be overwhelming because since you carefully picked your photographer you are going to love the photos they deliver.
Deciding which images to order can actually be really hard. I’m always sad when I hear about someone who went to the trouble and expense of hiring a professional photographer only to have the photos sit on a hard drive.
That’s why I include digital downloads and an artwork credit all in my packages. My clients select items from my on-line store including metal prints, canvas prints, framed prints, albums and more. All ordering is done directly from the client gallery so the process is efficient and fun.
Step 5: Price
If you’ve gone through all the prior steps, you’ve noticed that professional photographers are not cheap. We are professionals and bill accordingly.
Have you ever checked out “Vermont Houses for Sale” and found a “great deal” only to realize that it’s on a highway or has a basement that doubles as a pond? All first time homeowners-to-be have been there!!! Once you realized that you needed to also pay for a comfortable location your concept of value and price shifted. And, then, you found a very special place to call home.
When you hire a photographer, you are asking someone to capture those most dear to you in the most authentic way possible. You want someone you can really trust not just to take good photos, but to be a professional from top to bottom and to treat everyone with respect.
Of course, part of treating clients with respect is not springing hidden costs upon them. So, be sure to hire a photographer who has a contract to clearly explain the expectations you each have of the other. Is there a plan to reschedule without cost if someone in your family is sick? (Check!) What are the photographer’s safety plans? (I follow all covid safety guidelines being careful to keep up with the latest updates.) Are they insured? (Of course, I am!) Can you see the package options before you sign a contract? (Yes!!)
It is hard to place a value on art. However, if you’ve gotten this far, I think you agree the best things in life are not things. We cherish memories of our loved ones and quality professional photographs are one of the best ways to do this.
Step 6: Schedule Your Session with a Family Photographer
You’ve done your research and come to a decision. Click the “Let’s Get Started” button and put your photographer to work.
Most Vermont photographers schedule a few weeks, or even months, ahead of time. Once you’ve decide who you want to work with, reach out as soon as possible to schedule your session.
At this point, the photographer will take the lead on helping you find a time and location that work well for you. They will provide support as you prepare for the session and have a questionnaire for you to help them prepare for the session. And, they will be available to answer any questions that come up along the way — at least that’s how it works when you book with me.
I hope this guide has been helpful and wish you the best with your photo project.
If, as I hope you have, you’ve decided you’d like to work with me, please use the “Let’s Get Started” button to email me today.
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