How To Choose A Photographer & What To Do Once You Find One

First and foremost, understand that photography is a luxury, not a necessity. Photography will be expensive. Photography is art, not snapshots. This post is for those who want quality over quantity, but aren't sure what to look for.

click on the questions.


+ Find a few photographers who specialize in the genre (the type of session) you are wanting to book in your surrounding areas.

Obviously, you can use Google, but you can also use Instagram hashtags! Simply type in area + photographer or area + genre + photography.
Example: austintexasphotographer or austintxseniorphotography.

+ You want a photographer who does well in the type of session you want. You do not want a photographer who only half-asses what they do.

Of course, this doesn't go for people who are just starting out. They are still learning their craft & what they love.

~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in family portraits to shoot your wedding.
~ Do not expect a photographer who specializes in weddings to shoot your newborn photos.

Most photographers are well-educated in specific genres. Meaning they have spent a lot of time perfecting their craft in their chosen specialties, especially with newborns; Professional newborn photographers take classes to learn how to safely pose babies in those unique poses.

+ Pick a photographer whose style/look you love.

Do you love the dark & moody feel or the bright & airy photos? Do you love the indoors/in-studio look or do you love the natural light in the middle of the field look? Do you want your photos to be full of smiles or do you want to go for the serious expressions with interesting poses? There are a lot of different aspects of a photographer's work that will stand out to you. There are many different photographers out there & there is one for everyone. You can't go wrong choosing the photographer whose style you love.

Personally, I am a dark & moody/weird vibe type of photographer. I occasionally dabble in bright & airy photos depending on the session. Here are some examples of my own work that is considered having weird vibes, dark & moody, and bright & airy. I have even mixed them all up in one photo shoot.

dark + moody

bright + airy

well, bright & airy for me. to some people, these photos might still be considered moody.

weird vibes

usually, these are the halloween photos I take every year

+ MAKE SURE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER'S WORK IS CONSISTENT

The three main places to check are their Facbeook pages, Instagram, & website. There is a possibilty a photographer's Instagram account will not look consistent if they share personal photos along with their professional photos.


+ FIGURE OUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S CONTACT INFORMATION

If they have a website, they will more than likely have a contact form for you to fill out. They may have an email on their Facebook page, in the bio section of Instagram, or somewhere on their website. If you email them, provide as much information as possible, such as: what type of session you want, how many people are involved, what types of products you are wanting, what you are expecting from your photo shoot, etc. If you are contacting a wedding photographer, let them know how many hours you need, where the wedding will be, the date & time of the wedding, how many people will be in the wedding, etc. This helps the photographer figure out if they are the right photographer for you. If they aren't, they may give you names of photographers who best suit your needs.


+ ALWAYS CONTACT A PHOTOGRAPHER & BOOK A SESSION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Most photographers are booked weeks or even months in advance. Booking in advance gives the photographer time to prepare for your photo shoot, especially if there is location scouting or fashion styling involved. Sometimes a photographer will even have a hair & make up artist available; So depending on the type of session you are booking, the hair & make up artist also need to be available as well.


Also, keep in mind: Unless you have put down a deposit, do not assume the photographer is showing up to the photo session because, the date is not yours. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people make that mistake.


+ AVOID SENDING A MILLION PINTEREST PHOTOS AS "IDEAS".

Unless your photographer asks you for examples of poses, ideas, etc., do not bombard them with Pinterest images. Pinterest is an amazing tool, but most photographers already have a style & cannot really imitate other photography styles. If your photographer does ask for examples, first check their website & see if anything jumps out. This will be so much more helpful than sharing other people's work.


+ DURING THE PHOTO SHOOT:

Have fun & trust your photographer's vision. Afterall, their vision is what you hired them for.


+ AFTER THE PHOTO SHOOT:

Give the photographer time to carefully edit your photos. If you aren't sure how long this should take, look over your contract.


Do not edit the photos in any way. Do not put Instagram filters on them. Do not crop them. Do not run the photos through those "fun" apps to make them look all funky. This is considered rude. Photographers work very hard on those lovely pictures & seeing them re-edited is always heartbreaking.


Order the photos through your photographer! Your photographer has carefully chosen a professional printing lab that prints their work to look the best possible. If your photographer does not offer prints & products, ask for their recommendation!

Enjoy your beautiful photos & hire your photographer again!


 

What to Wear

Always be yourself. You should wear something that you are comfortable in. Wear something that truly represents who you are. If you are comfortable with your outfit, your happiness & comfort will show through in photos, which is super important.

Complement each other in colors & style. Unless you & your family members purposely dress the same every day, I wouldn't recommend dressing the same for your photo shoot. Pick at least three colors that go well together & go from there.

When choosing patterns, it's best to balance out the patterns by also wearing solid colors. If you are wearing prints then the other person should wear something solid. Limiting the patterns to one parts of your body is best.

Make sure you & your family members are dressed as if you're going somewhere together. One person shouldn't be completely dressed up while the other is dressed down. One person shouldn't be in their Sunday best while the other is wearing clothes they usually wear to clean the house. If you wouldn't wear it out to eat, on a date, or to church, then it's not the right outfit.

Think about your location. If you're shooting around a bunch of hills & cactus, make sure you are wearing colors that pop & goes against the browns & greens of nature! And always wear shoes that are comfortable & will protect you from any stickers. If you're shooting against old buildings, wear colors that are bold in colors in contrast to whatever color the buildings may be.

Do not wear clothes that have logos & characters. This dates your photos, which will not go over well. You want your photos to be as timeless as possible.

Do not wear neon colors. The colors will reflect onto skin, hair, other pieces of clothing, which is not flattering.

If you need help figuring out what colors go best together, you can check out my pinterest board. On the pinterest board, there is a color wheel chart that may be helpful for you.

Why I Sell More Than Just Digital Files

When I was in high school, my sister bought me a point & shoot camera for my birthday; I was beyond happy. I could finally post pictures of myself taken by ME. Selfies were important to me & they still are. I took a whole bunch of pictures of me & my husband (then boyfriend, of course) together, I loved them. I was just a teenager; I didn't have my own money, so I never had the chance to have them printed. I saved them all on a cheapie flash drive. As most flash drives do, especially cheapie flash drives, the files were corrupted. I lost years of photographs of myself, of John, & of us together. I was devastated. I didn't realize that files could be corrupted. I never imagined that I wouldn't have time to print the photos. Luckily, I do have just a few pictures of John & I. They are some of my most important & favorite photos that I have.

Back in November, during an event, I somehow misplaced all of my photos that were on my hard drive. I was mortified & disappointed. I lost two years worth of photos - of my son, my husband, my friends, my family, & my clients. I didn't know what to do. By some miracle I found them a few weeks ago.

A few months back, I somehow lost my hard drive for several weeks. I couldn't find it anywhere. The hard drive wasn't where I thought I left it. So again, I was devastated. Not only did I lose all of the photos I spent years working on, but I also lost all the original files, so I couldn't edit them again even if I wanted to.

So basically I took this as the universe telling me to be smart with my work. To be smart with the photos I take of everyone I love. I took this as a sign to start offering products instead of digital files. You never know what might happen between the photo shoot & the delivery.

Of course there will be digital images for social media purposes.

How to Prepare for Your Photoshoot

Start thinking about what products you want. Measure your wall space. Write down what you want in preparation for your Viewing & Ordering Session that will take place two weeks after your photo session.

Plan your outfits
First, decide what style everyone is wearing to the photo shoot. Will the style be more casual or dressy? Will there be a particular theme?

Pick at least three colors. This will help give variety to your family style.

Pick shirts that do not have any characters or logos on them. Characters & logos will date your photos & you want the photos to be as timeless as possible.

Mixing patterns is ok if you limit them. Patterns should only go on one part of your body. For example: a solid color shirt with chevron skirt. A polka dot shirt with solid color leggings. A plaid shirt with jeans. Or maybe a solid shirt with a striped bowtie & khaki pants. The only time it is ok for your outfit to be full of patterns is if you're wearing a dress.

It is best to avoid any new hairstyles & make up. You want to stick with something you know you love & are comfortable with.

Get plenty of rest!
If everyone is grumpy from lack of sleep, the photos will turn out terribly.

Eat something light & healthy. Drink plenty of water.
You want to feel your best during your photo shoot. Skip the alcohol, sodas, & candy to avoid bloat. Make sure everyone is full. Full tummies = a happy family.

Relax & have fun!
Avoid planning too many errands on the day of your photo shoot. You want to be as relaxed as possible. Do not force your children to smile. Avoid saying, "Cheese!" Your mouth forming the word "cheese" does not produce a real smile or even look a like a smile in general. If your children aren't cooperating (posing exactly how you want them or smiling), don't worry about it! As long as they aren't screaming, crying, or running away from me, just let them be. Sometimes the serious faces are the best faces. Let their smiles & laughs come naturally as you interact as a family.