In my line of work I meet lots of lovely people that work with children. Andy Nickerson is a family portrait photographer in Northampton and he's given me some advice to share on choosing a family portrait photographer...
Choosing someone to shoot your children’s portraits sounds straightforward enough, but it’s an investment and a shared family experience so its worth your time and research. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the right family photographer for your needs.
Does your chosen photographer have the credentials? This may sound pretty obvious, but take a moment to look at their training, experience and specialism. Most photographers favour a specific interest eg, school photography, family portraiture, commercial or weddings, although some may cover many other so it’s worth looking at their portfolio to check out which genre they really shine at, not just jack of all trades.
Children are amazing through all their ages and stages, but timing is an important consideration. For instance, if your 7 year old has lost several teeth you might want to wait a couple of months for photos when they feel less self conscious and goofy! Equally, if your baby is not yet smiling, it’s worth waiting till they smile around 6 weeks old as this is a smile you’re going to fall in love with. If they’re ill on the day of the shoot, postponing is likely to be the better option to get the best out of them at a later date.
Is your family photographer someone you feel is trustworthy? Are they qualified or hold lots of experience? When choosing a family photographer, ask questions about safety. Eg, there are particular industry considerations for posing newborn babies that should be observed. You could also ask about safety in the studio if you have an energetic 2 year old as there will be lots of heavy equipment around. During the shoot, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ensure that the photographer puts your children’s safety as priority.
Are you thinking classically posed shots, or are you looking for informality to capture the purity and natural expression of childhood? There’s no right or wrong and it really is down to personal taste, but do think ahead and consider fashion. The photographs are an investment you’ll want to last the test of time so it’s important to consider quality too, especially if you opt for bespoke artwork. After all, if you could capture the same quality and expertise at home you wouldn’t be seeking professional photography, so make your session count.
Three quick questions to ask yourself when short-listing your family photographer based on style and quality include:
Practically, are you within travelling distance of your favourite family photographer or would it be best for you to commission a home service? Studio photography is a specialism in it’s own right, while location photography means you have the photographer come to you, space allowing. There are pros and cons t to both, and again it’s down to preference.
Great portrait photography is an art form and suffice to say prices will often vary to reflect both the experience and talent of the professional photographer. Often if something seems priced as too good to be true, then it probably is. Be sure to ask your photographer about any hidden costs and expect clarity. Any business worth their salt will offer honesty and transparency. The web is full of stories where this isn’t the case so research pays off rather than meeting hard sell head on.
The web is a great place to do your homework. Netmums is a great website to find honest customer reviews to make an informed choice as are the photographer’s business Facebook pages. Friends and family are perhaps even better sources for honest reviews.
The trend of receiving digital images remains popular, but a disk of images unprinted and unappreciated is often not the best option. Most photographers sell professionally presented bespoke artwork, helping to ensure your beautiful images get seen everyday, ensuring commissioning a photographer is worth your while.
These pointers should help you make a good investment. Perhaps most important is to enjoy your shoot, as every time you view your images you can treasure the lasting memory of a memorable family outing together.