The Ultimate Guide: How to Find a Photographer, Tips & Tricks For The Perfect Shoot

Hey there! Welcome to the ultimate guide to find a photographer, step-by-step, written just for you.

Why?

Because I truly want you to have the best time.

I truly want you to absolutely love your experience and your pictures.

So, let’s get straight to it, shall we?

This ultimate family photo shoot planning resource guide was created just for you!

This guide contains everything you could ever need to help you find a photographer, and tips for what to do leading up to your shoot. It includes my experiences, as well as experiences from previous clients. Having children myself, I know what all goes into looking for a photographer and planning your big day, right down to every last detail. 

Yes, I am a family photographer, but I’ve also been a mom for over 5 years. I know how kids react in front of the camera (mine won’t even let me take their pictures anymore!), I know how to get them to relax, and how to get you to relax! This guide is meant to be the ultimate resource for you. I’m not going to hold anything back.

As you move forward and read through this step-by-step guide, just remember that hiring the right photographer is much more than just finding someone who can take pretty photos of a beautiful family. That’s the simplest part of what we do as family photographers, to be totally honest.  After all, a truly talented family photographer is much more than just someone who can take a beautiful photograph. It’s someone who can also have fun with you on your big day, help keep your nerves calm during those stressful moments, and who can ultimately provide you with both the experience and the quality of photographs that you’ve been dreaming of. You have one opportunity to get it right. Your kids are only young once. And that’s exactly why hiring the right family photographer is so key, and exactly why I have taken the hours putting together this guide for you.

At the end of your shoot, I want you to be so excited to see your photographs. And when you receive them, I want you to be able to relive these moments over and over again in the years to come. So, keep reading everything below. I am going to go step-by-step to help you navigate this planning process as best I can.

PICKING YOUR DATE & YOUR BUDGET

Once you and your family have decided that you want to have your memories captured you need to consider a few dates that may work for you, and a few backups in case your photographer is booked. You should also consider your budget at this stage; Did you know that some photographers offer small discounts for having your shoot during the week rather than on the weekend? It’s worth inquiring about if you want to save some money or have your money stretched a bit farther. On those peak days (Saturdays & Sundays) and peak months (typically October – May in the southern states), don’t expect any discounts from photographers.

For your budget, that’s a super important discussion to have with your partner.  See what you can realistically afford (and consider payments may be able to be stretched out over time), much like a car, house, etc. Remember, this is an investment into a very special day in your life, something you will look fondly on for all the years to come.

find a photographer

How to find the perfect photographer

After you have picked out your ideal dates and your budget you are ready to start looking for a photographer! Finding a photographer can be challenging, especially because there are so many different styles and types out there. I recommend going to google and searching for photographers in your area and checking out each of their websites. You will want to start with reviews on google, possibly even their Facebook page. Then go to their website and check out their style, personality, editing style, and anything else you may want to know about them! After you look at all that look at their portfolio and pricing pages to see if their prices line up with your budget. Keep in mind: Many photographers offer a payment plan, and it’s well worth it to have the beautiful, perfect memories you’ve been dreaming of!

Once you find someone that you click with (personality, style, budget), get in touch with them through their contact form to let them know you’re interested and to inquire about the dates you have picked out!

When the big day finally arrives you’ll want to get there about 15 minutes early, you will have booked your photographer for a specific amount of time and don’t want to lose any of it! Regarding time of day, it’s totally determined by the time of year and the location. Some locations photograph better mid-day, others in the morning, and others during the typical golden hour in the evening. Most often, the sessions will be in the late afternoon or early evening. Either way, I will help you navigate all of this.

The Big Day

After you find the perfect photographer you’ll want to book them as quickly as possible. Booking means signing the contract and paying your deposit, simple as that! Leading up to your big day you can keep in communication with your photographer if you have any questions. Personally, I like to offer help to my clients when trying to decide on what to wear and color schemes. It can be challenging trying to decide what to wear, especially if it’s your first time having family photos!

WHAT TO WEAR TO YOUR SESSION & OTHER SESSION TIPS

Most importantly, it’s impossible to overdress. Always come erring on the side of being too dressy rather than too casual. Here are a few basic pointers to help you in the right direction:

  • Maximize the time you have during your session with just one outfit. Otherwise, you will spend a duration of that time changing. It’s honestly just not worth it doing more than one outfit for your engagement session.
  • Don’t try to match patterns or colors, instead go for coordinated outfits. Similar vibes. Similar colors. Complimentary is the key word here.
  • Stay away from bold patterns and graphics.
  • Avoid items of clothing with big logos. If you can, stay away from logos altogether.
  • Ladies, for your outfits – Pastel colors are great. Soft, warm, romantic tones. And if you want to really make a bold statement, go for a really bold red or popping yellow. Those two colors really stand out.
  • Don’t go for bold accessories, but go for accessories that add that extra bit of class and personality.
  • Empty your pockets. Don’t have anything on you during your session. You don’t want to look back on photographs for the rest of your life when you have your keys, cell phone or wallet bulging out.
  • Iron or steam your clothes to eliminate all wrinkles. That’s even true if it’s a brand new shirt, gentlemen. Those new shirts and pants are creased, and those lines will show up in the photographs. Make sure those outfits are looking sharp and wrinkle-free.
  • Plan for traffic. Even if that day typically doesn’t have traffic, plan for it. Worst case scenario, you will arrive early and be able to relax. Do not plan to arrive right when your session is supposed to start. Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the session start time.
  • Make a date out of it. You are all dressed up, so after your session is done, go grab a romantic dinner. It’s these moments that are truly memorable. Make it a fond one.
  • Some of the best photos I can get are when your kids are just running around being themselves. Kids get shy in front of the camera, if they can relax enough to be silly then that’s fantastic!

After your shoot

WHEN DO YOU GET YOUR PHOTOS AND HOW ARE THEY DELIVERED?

Every photographer is different, but I deliver photos within 3 weeks, and very commonly within 2 weeks.

The photographs are high-resolution digitals and put onto an online gallery. This will be sent directly to your email address for viewing and selecting.

After you select your images they will be emailed to you within 2 days. 

CAN I GET PRINTS OR FINE ART HEIRLOOM PHOTO ALBUMS?

Yes, absolutely! You can do all of this straight through your online gallery. It’s all super easy to use and the quality is incredibly high and the prints will be much longer-lasting than what you can find at those over-the-counter photo labs. And ordering a “parent album” is a great way to say thank-you to your parents!

PHOTO WATERMARKS AND PRINTING RIGHTS

I don’t watermark any photographs. I think it looks tacky, and it distracts from the images themselves. I want you to be the focus! And because of that, I simply ask that you tag me on social media when you post them to places like Instagram and Facebook.

That said, you have total freedom to print wherever you would like. If you want the best quality, print through your online gallery that I will send you. I want the best for you.

FINAL WORDS

I know there are numerous family photographers available in today’s world, so I wanted to say thank you for reading this ultimate guide on how to find a photographer and considering me to be your photographer.

Simply put, I love what I do, and I would be absolutely honored to be your photographer. I want to be there along your side through it all. I want to be there to document your family the way it actually is, not posed and stiff. The way that you’ve always envisioned it.

I truly hope you have found this guide as epic and awesome as it was meant to be! And as always, send over your questions if you have any. I would love to answer your questions for you.

I’m super excited to hear from you soon. Thanks so much!