by Tara F, Guest Contributor
Summer and Fall are the most popular times to have family pictures taken. Having your family pictures done can be a lot of work for a busy family! There are so many photographers out there right now, finding the one that fits your needs can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Here is my attempt to pull all of the things to consider about family photography in one place.
Find Your Photographer
1. KZOO Kids Photographer’s guide! KZOO kids makes finding a photographer simple with their guide. Head over to the guide and check out the wide variety of photogs to choose from! Pssst… Don’t forget to check me out. 😉
2. Google Search. Use keywords such as Southwest Michigan Photographer, Kalamazoo Photographer, Kalamazoo Family Photographer, Kalamazoo Child Photographer, etc. If you are looking for a specific type of photographer you could add those keywords to your search such as Kalamazoo Lifestyle Photographer, Kalamazoo Newborn Photographer, etc.
3. Social Media. Post on Facebook asking for recommendations. People are happy to share and tag the photographers they know and love!
4. Ask friends and neighbors who they use. Many of them will have their family pictures hanging in their home, so you can even check out the work in person!
Things To Consider When Choosing Your Photographer
1. Style. This should be your first consideration. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a photographer say that a client came to them and showed them someone else’s work wanting to know if they could make their pictures look like that. Each artist is going to have their own individual style. Look at the colors. Are you attracted to bright and clean, or a darker, more moody style? Does the photographer do posed, studio-style work, or do they shoot lifestyle/documentary images in the home? It is important to find a photographer whose style matches your own taste!
2. What they offer. What are you looking for? Prints, canvases, photo books, digitals?
3. Price/Budget. Some might think that this one should be first, but I’ll argue that this is actually the last thing you need to consider. People spend money on what they value. Everyone finds value in different things. If you value something, you will save for it. After all, these images will last forever. Look closely at different photographers work. If it all looks the same to you, then you probably don’t value photography enough to spend what a higher end photographer would charge. That’s OK. Artists want to attract clients who appreciate and value the art they create. On the other hand, is there a photographer whose work makes your heart skip a beat? I know who my favorites are. Sometimes just looking through a good portfolio will give me goosebumps and I don’t even know the people in the pictures. Images like this of my family are priceless to me and worth every penny. If you can’t afford your favorite photographer, get on their mailing list anyway. They may offer specials or mini sessions!
Choose Your Location And Time
1. Most photographers will have places they love to shoot and are familiar with. Location scouting is a big part of our job. We like to be familiar with the light in the area we are shooting. Ask your photographer for a list of places they like to shoot!
2. Choose some place meaningful to your family. If your family loves to be outside in nature and go camping, one of the many nature preserves would be a great fit for you. If you are drawn to urban life there are so many great locations with colors, textures, and lines to choose from! Lifestyle sessions done in your home are also an incredibly meaningful option.
3. Time of day. This is a big one for families with small children with early bedtimes. Most photographers shoot outdoor sessions at sunset, which can be a challenge in the summer months when the sunsets late. Consider a location with lots of trees or open shade to block the sun. Urban areas with tall buildings will also allow you to shoot earlier in the day. You might also want to choose a photographer who utilizes a studio with natural light for an earlier session time, or studio lights and will be able to shoot at any time of day or night.
Choose Your Clothing
1. Again, this will be something your photographer will likely have something to say about. Some photographers’ style and brand use specific color palates. For example, some photographers’ have a bright colorful style, while others style may be softer, with more muted and pastel colors. If you’ve chosen a photographer whose style matches your own, and clothing choices will be a breeze!
2. Choose one main piece with colors that you can pull from for your palate. Usually, I suggest starting with mom. Make sure mom is comfortable and feeling beautiful, and put everyone else together based on her.
3. Avoid matching, but do coordinate. Multiple patterns can easily be mixed in with solids. Use statement pieces, such a scarves, colorful necklaces. and bracelets, etc.
4. Think about the location you will be shooting and the location you will be hanging your pictures. Make sure the colors you choose compliment the surroundings you will be photographed in and the decor where your images will be displayed in your home.
5. Avoid wearing fluorescent colors. And avoid any colors that are overly bright close to your face, as it will cause color casts on your face in your images.
6. Check Pinterest for ideas. Pinterest can be a great resource for choosing family outfits.
Print Your Pictures
1. Your photographer will be your best resource for this! If they sell prints and products, they will have researched them carefully and will only offer quality products with the best color and sharpness. They will also likely guarantee these items. Even when I sell digital files, I still offer prints and products that I have researched through my preferred professional vendors. My computer monitors are calibrated to the colors and brightness of these vendors, to ensure that you get the most accurate images that will last and maintain their quality!
2. DIY Print Vendors. Most photographers that offer digital files will have recommended print vendors. I only recommend www.mpix.com for DIY printing, as it is a good quality second choice to what I sell from my professional vendors.
3. Above all else, PRINT your images! If you purchase digitals, please don’t let them just sit on your computer or a flash drive. We are the most photographed generation in history, and we will have the fewest prints to show for it. Technology is changing so fast, our children won’t be able to see pictures if we don’t print them. (*Stepping off soapbox now…)
So grab a cup of coffee and head over the KZOOkids Photographer’s Guide here. There are so many incredible professional artists you can choose from. There is guaranteed to be someone on that list that will fit your needs and help you preserve your memories!
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Tara Fletcher is a Southwest Michigan Photographer, serving the Kalamazoo and surrounding areas. She specializes in lifestyle and portrait photography of families, children, and babies. Her coffee fueled days are filled with children, music, laughter, art, and plenty of chaos.
Tara Fletcher Photography