Family photo of parents tipping kids upside down towards the photographer

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Family Photographer

Know what’s really tough? Figuring out the right family photographer for you when there are SO MANY options out there! I’m going to try and make it a little easier for you, though, so here’s a list of questions you should be thinking about when you are searching for the best photographer for your family.

Family of four playing together

The questions you want to ask yourself before hiring a family photographer are:

  • Do you like their editing style?
  • Is the photographer’s style consistent?
  • Do they help with styling or have a client closet for you to borrow from?
  • Will they help you choose a beautiful location?
  • Do the subjects look comfortable?
  • Do they have legitimate reviews?
  • What are their prices?
  • Have they been a family photographer for a while or are they fairly new?
  • Does their personality work for your family?

Let’s break each of these questions down to help you understand them a bit better and really help you with your decision on who to hire.

The first question you should ask yourself: Do you like their editing style?

This is probably the most obvious question, but also something that a lot of people don’t realize is crucial! Each family photographer has a specific style, and they don’t just change their style and look depending on what you ask for. In most cases, it has taken years to figure out their editing and how they want their photos to look, and is very personal to each photographer. So make sure you like the photos they are showing on their website and social media before you hire them. But this leads to the next question…

parents playing with their boys

Is the photographer’s style consistent?

Another question to ask yourself while searching for a family photographer is, are their photos consistent? When you look at the photos on their website and/or social media, do they look cohesive? If the editing seems all over the place (cool and warm tones, bright and airy but also very dark images, muted and vibrant colors, etc), then it will be hard to know how your final photos will turn out. Of course, the clothing colors and locations will change things a bit, so keep that in mind.

Kids jumping up to touch a blanket while parents lift it

Do they help with styling or have a client closet for you to borrow from?

Many family photographers will help you figure out what to wear, and some even offer a client closet full of clothing for you to borrow at your session. If you don’t want to be left to your own devices to figure out your clothing, then look for a photographer who mentions this, and also who shows photos of families styled in a similar style to what you are looking for. Not all photographers have been trained in styling, and not all photographers’ pricing includes this, so be sure to check if this is something that is important to you.

parents snuggling and looking at each other while their kids laugh

Will they help you choose a beautiful location?

Did you know that some family photographers will help you with location selection? Some will provide a location guide to help you pick the best location, while others will suggest a couple of spots they like. But some photographers will leave it up to you to decide. Personally, I have scouted all the best locations in my area with the best lighting. Not all locations will produce the look that I show in my portfolio, which is why I give a location guide to my clients with options that will give us amazing light. For travel sessions, I will still scout locations and find the best option for you even if I don’t live there. Location is extra important to how the final images will look.

Mom cuddling with her boys

Do the subjects look comfortable?

This is a big question for me when I’m looking to hire a family photographer. If the people in the photos don’t look comfortable or if the kids look upset, that’s not a great sign for how your session will go. Keeping things fun for the kids and ALSO the parents is definitely a skill and one that I would want my photographer to have. If you feel the same way, then pay attention to the photos they display on their website and social media and make sure you’re seeing genuine smiles and laughter, sweet and authentic cuddles, and families that look like they are having a good time. Of course, the occasional crying baby is just real life, but as a general rule you want to see authentic smiles and comfortable people.

Little boys laughing at the camera

Does the photographer have legitimate reviews?

When looking for a family photographer, you will probably want to check their reviews. The best place to look for those would be on Google, just look up their business name. If they have reviews, that should help you see if people have had good experiences working with them or not. You can also check Facebook or Yelp if you aren’t seeing any Google reviews, as some photographers have preferred places they ask for reviews. I personally ask for Google reviews.

You also may see some reviews scattered throughout their website, or on a testimonials page, but I really like to check Google to make sure those reviews are legit and also to check for any bad reviews. But keep in mind that bad reviews don’t mean they aren’t a great photographer. How they respond to a bad review will tell you a lot!

Dad holding mom while the boys try to help lift her up

What are their prices?

Obviously, the most asked question is what does a family photographer charge? Every photographer is different, so their pricing is varied. But typically the longer they have been in business and the better the experience they provide, the higher their pricing will be.

I know that as moms, we are often looking for the best price, but this is one area where lower prices are not your friend. You may need to ask yourself why the photographer’s prices are as low as they are. Do they have experience working with kids and families? Will they make your session feel easy, fun and low-stress? Do they have backup gear? Or insurance if someone gets hurt? Will they be able to think on their feet if your child has a meltdown? Do they operate a legal, tax-paying business? Are their photos consistently beautiful? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then it may not be worth it to go with a low-priced photographer. These are moments you just can’t get back.

Mom cuddling with her little boy at sunset

Have they been a family photographer for a while or are they fairly new?

There are four types of photographers that you might find while searching for a family photographer (well, there could be more but let’s focus on four!): 

  • new photographers (most likely don’t know how to direct you very well, could have an inconsistent portfolio, usually very low prices)
  • Photographers who have been around for a while but have only recently started photographing families (may not understand how to work with families very well yet, has a consistent portfolio but not many family images, prices vary)
  • Photographers who have been photographing families for a while but don’t offer a lot of extras like helping with location, clothing, etc. (moderate pricing, may or may not have a consistent portfolio)
  • Photographers who have been photographing families for a long time (are great at making you feel comfortable, have consistent portfolios, prices are typically higher, may offer additional services like styling and location help, client closet, etc.) <— obviously this is the best case scenario!

You will want to weigh out what is most important to you when deciding who to work with. Usually the higher the price, the better the experience and final photos. If you search for the photographer’s business name on Google, you can typically find reviews and how many years they have been in business, which should help you with your decision).

Mom and son dancing together at sunset

Does their personality work for your family?

Personality is a huge factor in how your family photo day will go, and ultimately how great your images will be. If your family is really playful and fun, but you hire a photographer who is very serious and doesn’t know how to bring out your family’s fun personalities, then your photos won’t feel like you. Or if you are very calm and sentimental, but you hire someone really energetic and upbeat, that will also be a mismatch. Make sure to read your photographer’s website, and check their social media to get a sense of their personality before you hire them. FYI, I’m fun and playful, but with a calming presence that will make you all feel comfortable enough to be yourselves.

parents playing and dancing with their kids in a filed of pink flowers during family photos

Are you ready to hire your own family photographer?

I’m here for you! I’m available for travel sessions anywhere, or you can hire me to be your photographer here in Oregon. Adventure, fun, cuddles, and capturing authentic moments are what my family sessions are all about. You can find out about pricing and the experience here and if you have further questions, you can send me a message.

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