Honestly, I never knew how overwhelming shopping for a photographer could be until I had to do it when planning my wedding. I hated it. Even though part of our issue was having a very small photography budget, even if I had an unlimited budget, I probably still wouldn't have known where to start.
So I'm here to give you the insight I wished I had, and bring you one step closer to owning some beautiful personal or family portraits.
The first thing you should consider when thinking about having your picture taken by a professional portrait photographer is not budget. I mean yes budget is on the list, but should be considered only after you can answer the first 4 questions below so you won't let price compromise your vision.
1. Do you want to be inside or outdoors?
Some photographers prefer to photograph in a studio with artificial lights and fancy equipment, while some prefer to have photo sessions outdoors with limited equipment and natural light.
2. Do you want your images to have a formal or informal feel?
This often ties into your wardrobe selection and the overall mood of the images you are going for. Formal images are usually more posed than informal images too.
3. Do you want it to be themed?
This can tie into wardrobe and location selections as well. I mean you don't want to have a halloween ghost and goblin feel, for an image that will be used for a family Christmas photo (unless that's your style of course). Plus, if you are going for a themed feel, you want to make sure you are clear on the types of props you would expect to see.
4. What do you want to do with the images?
Do you have plans to add them to your scrapbook? Use them for your annual greeting card? Start a wall gallery to tell a story?
5. And finally-what is your budget?
There are photographers at every price point, however keep in mind you will get what you pay for. And honestly try not to get sticker shocked at the more expensive priced photography services as you shop around, because regardless of the price point, this is actually an investment into yourself and/or your family. Another thing to consider is deciding if you would be open to making installment payments, as some photographers will work with you on this.
So while you continue to ponder back and forth about whether or not to have your pictures taken by a professional, make sure to think through the tips above. It will not only help you with identifying a photographer's work that matches your vision, but it will also help you to articulate your vision if asked by prospective photographers during the selection process.
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