Wednesday, October 20, 2010

6 Tips to Select a Great Professional Family Photographer

It is so important to capture those precious moments in life. But it is more important to find that great photographer. Monica and Briana - The Shoots & Giggles Photography Girls tell us just how to do it right.

1.) Get to Know Your Photographer & Create a Lasting Relationship. We suggest that you research photographers both online and via word-of-mouth. When you find a photographer that suits your style – CALL them. Emailing is fine but it is so impersonal. It's so important to make sure you "click" with your photographer since you will hopefully be creating a relationship with them over the course of the next few years as your child and family grows. If you choose a photographer to do your maternity, newborn, 6-month, and one-year session you will be spending A LOT of time with them so it's imperative that you can relate.

2.) Ask Your Photographer About Their Level of Experience. As a wise client of ours once said, “These days everyone with a digital camera considers themselves a ‘photographer’… but if I were to hand you a trumpet you wouldn’t consider yourself a musician.” You need to be aware that photography companies come with ALL degrees of experience ranging from your amateur neighbor to the world-reknown photography celebrity. More than likely you will want someone in-between who fits into your budget, preferably someone with experience and a photography education. However, the most important tool in picking a photographer is their body of work. Make sure that your photographer is a “what you see is what you get” professional. This means that the quality of images that they represent on their site or portfolio are going to be the same quality of work you receive. Whether that means another photographer at the company might shoot for you or that the images you see online are retouched and the images you GET aren’t… it pays to ask about their quality standards.

3.) Be Ready to Make an Investment. When you look for professional photography services, you need to be prepared to invest and here is what you are investing in: a pro isn’t simply coming to hang out and casually snap some photos – a pro is highly educated in their craft, has taken great time to schedule your session and familiarize themselves with you, your family and your image goals. They know how to make you feel comfortable, pose you and your family, perfectly light the scene and make you and your family look amazing. And it doesn’t stop there! We also then typically do a TON of post production including uploading and editing your images, setting up a meeting with you and helping you pick your favorite shots and their ultimate products. From there we create the products of your choice and are on hand to assist you every step of the way from booking to product delivery.

4.) Understanding the Final Product AKA You Get What You Pay For. Many professional photographers are also simultaneously graphic designers and skilled retouchers. Therefore we are capable of not only capturing your images but retouching your prints and designing your products. For example, at Shoots & Giggles we do all our post-production ourselves. It is important to ask your photographer about the degree of post processing and TLC your images will receive as that often increases the value and beauty of the images exponentially. Are your images going to be color corrected and retouched as they are represented in the photographer's online portfolio, or are they going to deliver them to you straight from the camera? Do they retouch and design your products in-house, do they outsource it to another company or do they work on the images at all?

5.) Disk of Images VS Fine Art Digital Negatives. We get asked about this a lot. Most high-end pro photographers do NOT offer a disk of ALL the images, however many amateurs and beginners will. Rather than offering a disk of ALL the images, many pro photographers will offer hi-res digital negatives retouched and color corrected a la carte. If you are looking to spend very little and get a disk of untouched beginner-caliber images, working with an amateur or a student might work well for you. However, if you want a lot of "guaranteed-to-be beautiful" shots to choose from, working with a professional is going to be your best option.

6.) Last but not Least – Photography is ART! Pros look at each shoot as an opportunity to express themselves creatively and ENJOY what they do – that is why we are doing it! The moments you hire us to capture are priceless (and totally adorable) and we truly love every minute of it!

About Shoots & Giggles:

Monica and Briana both got their degrees in photography and film from the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara. The two have been working in the portraiture industry ever since, both working in digital retouching and graphic design, as well as perfecting their photography craft and ultimately starting their own company, Shoots & Giggles Photography.

Visit the Shoots & Giggles website and blog too!

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