How to Choose a Photographer

I just love photographing this family so much.  They are friends, but also one of my oldest clients. I am always excited to photograph them.  When I think about my perfect clients, this is one of the families on my list.  

When I first started photographing people professionally, I thought that I was supposed to accept every client who inquired about a session.  I’ve come to learn over the past few years that not everyone who comes to me about a session is a good fit, and that is perfectly OK.  Part of my job is to help people to decide whether or not I’m the right choice for them.  I’ve realized that people don’t always know how to go about finding the right photographer for them.

Often, people find a photographer in one of two ways:  Google, or a friend’s referral.  Both of these are great resources, but they should really only be step one. You should also look through the website of the photographer you are considering and evaluate whether or not they are a really a good fit for you based upon a few things:


You generally want a photographer who specializes in the type of photography you are looking for.  Now, there is definitely some crossover here.  I consider myself a children & family photographer, but for me that also includes seniors, and newborns.  Toddlers are my passion, but I enjoy all types of families. 

But you would be surprised at the number of inquiries I get about wedding photography (also applies: head shots).  I always wonder where these come from…. my website is full of pictures of young children and families.  Could I do a better job than your Uncle Bob who just bought his first fancy camera?  I should hope so.  But do you know who would do the best job? A wedding photographer.  Think of it this way….would you go to an OBGYN for a problem with your broken foot?  I mean, she went to medical school and probably knows some, but it’s not really her thing. 


This is probably the most important thing, in my opinion.  

There are a couple different things I mean when I talk about style, and there are many, many things that go into making up a photographer’s style, from shooting to editing.  

Do you prefer perfectly posed photos or more candid, natural images?  Studio or outdoors? Natural light or studio lighting / flash?  Do you expect your photographer to give you lots of specific posing direction? How do you want the images to make you feel?  

Editing is another aspect of style… do you like light and airy photos, or dark and moody? What color tones draw you?  Each individual photographer has a very specific style.  You don’t really need to understand this, you just need to know it exists and decide whether you like the look of that photographer. (And don’t ask them to do something else….It’s like asking Monet to paint like Picasso.)


This is kind of related to style, but basically, just make sure that you are seeing enough consistency in what you see on a photographer’s website so that you know what to expect from your photos.  Every session is unique and different, but you also just want to see enough consistency in style to know what to expect. 


Yes, I put this last on purpose.  I understand that budget is important, and is definitely a consideration.  However, I just want to say that good photography takes a lot of time (a lot more than just what you see when you are in front of the camera), and education and money (equipment, taxes, insurance, website fees, etc).  So when you hire someone out there charging $50 for a session, just know that that person is working for WAAYYYY less than minimum wage. But of course, there is a wide range of pricing for photography in general, so just start with understanding what that includes, and what you are getting for your money.  

So that may all seem like a lot of work to choose a photographer, but it really comes down to one thing: does the photographer’s work embody what you want from your photos, or are you expecting something completely different?  If you are wanting something completely different, then you need to find a different artist. 

Extended Family Portrait Session at the Factory at Franklin

Pam contacted me for a portrait session after I had photographed her grand-daughter Lily at Spring Meadows Academy.  She wanted to have photos made with all of her children and grandchildren for Christmas.  We had originally chosen an outdoor location, but then decided to move it to the Factory at Franklin because of the cold.  The Factory is great because it has some outdoor locations, but then if you get cold, you can go inside for some shots to warm up. 

Can I just say that I am falling in love with the color Mustard?  I’ve always loved blues in my photographs, but I’ve had several clients lately who have used mustard in their wardrobe choices, and I just really love the pop of color it brings.  

I’m going to be real here for a minute…groups this large are hard.  Especially with so many young children.  My passion has always been for candid images, but with a group this large, the sheer amount of combinations you want to try to get leaves little room for just letting the children play and capturing what happens, but I do try to fit those in anyway.  Some of my favorites from this session were at the very end of our shoot when the kids were playing on the chairs in the factory. 

But these adorable kids did an awesome job and were so patient.  I think my absolute favorite is the photo of all of them taking a sucker break on a long bench.  All my little clients know that I travel with Yummy Earth Organic Sucker in my bag, and I’ve never minded including suckers in the photos sometimes, but I kind of adore the suckers in that photo.  All the kids are doing their own thing and enjoying their break…not posing at all, just staring at the ceiling or whatever.  And then there is 12 year old Dahne just looking at me like “how did I get stuck with all these little kids?”  LOL  I guess if you know my style, it’s probably not surprising that I love that photo. What about you? What kind of photos are your favorites?