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7 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting Your Family Photographer

Selecting a Family & Children Portrait Photographer When you have your family photographed by a professional photographer you are doing so much more just having your picture taken. Photos touch your life in many ways. They create a family legacy, capture memories, raise your children’s self-esteem and serve to document your connectedness as a family. You won’t be able to contain your smile when you see those images hung on the walls you pass by each day. Whether you fancy wall-art, albums or matted images (my favorites) you will be ensuring these memories and family legacies will be handed down from generation to generation.

Here are a few tips to selecting and working with a photographer for your next family session.

· Ask family, friends, and neighbors for some names. A friend’s recommendation (solid gold btw!), the Better Business Bureau and professional associations are excellent sources of information.

· Interview several photographers. A professional photographer should take the time to listen and ask questions about you and/or your family. A photographer needs this information to create images that tell the story of who you are, or who you would like to be. Keep in mind that you are not hiring someone to simply take a picture, but to tell your family’s story. They need to know about your personalities. Are you outgoing or introverted, casual, formal, shy, or silly? It makes a BIG difference if they know going into the shoot how to communicate with your family.

· Discuss the style. Do you like that photographer’s portfolio? If you researched on-line, you saw some of his/her images and were drawn to something in the images. Please share what you were drawn to in the images you saw in their portfolio. Let the photographer know what you have in mind, so they can assist you in posing, lighting and expressions.

· Additional services. Most professional photographers, (including me) provide services that include retouching, removing blemishes or otherwise altering images i.e., cropping, adding tonal looks such as sepia or duo tones. Many of us will provide custom framing, to make your portrait look its best. Some, including me, will also hang them on your wall when you are ready. While your photographer may not offer all these services, he or she can at least refer you to an experienced professional.

· Communicate. Make sure the photographer has a clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to discuss his or her services and fees involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.

· Discuss how they (the photographer) deals with grumpy, quiet, don’t- want-to-be-there husbands, sassy, hyper, uber shy, or sightly ill children. This is really, important as energy to corral your entire tribe – getting everyone up, fed cleaned up, or trying to get the family to stop what they are doing in the middle of the day, get cleaned up and travel to the site is a Herculean task. You finally get there, and their mood is UGH! LOL. It’s true – I’ve seen it often.

· Once you’ve hired a photographer, he or she should take the time to talk to you about your family and their favorite activities, as well as offer suggestions on location and wardrobe including coordinating clothing and colors. The photographer will use this information to create a photograph that tells your family’s unique story.

Conclusion In fact, many families make their portraits more memorable by turning them into an event. One way of accomplishing this is traveling to your favorite location, like local parks where you can have a picnic lunch or enjoy the park after your session is over. Another, idea along these lines is to have your session at your home. Many times, young ones feel more safe and secure at your home, and this will allow them to open up and be more outgoing and engaged.

You’ve got this!

Arthur Ellis, is owner and photographer at Arthur Ellis Photography, in Charleston, SC.

One of his specialties is Family & Children photography.

Reach Arthur through his website:

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