Hello to all of you wonderful AWN readers. My name is April Kroenke, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself as a new AWN Expert Blogger. I married my high school sweetheart, and it’s hard to believe we have been together for 23 years and married for 19! I am a proud mama to two amazing teenagers: Austin, a senior, and Jessica, a freshman. I am blessed to be their mom. I am a portrait photographer and a proud Army Engineer wife!
Being a portrait photographer for the last 18 years has had its ups and downs with moving every few years during my husband’s 22-year career. Throughout that time, I have earned my Master Photographer Degree, Photographic Craftsman Degree, certification as a Certified Professional Photographer, all from the Professional Photographers of America, and an Associate Fellow Photographer of Oregon.
Over the next few months, I will be covering different photography related topics. For this month, let’s touch on how to choose the right photographer for you and your family as we head into the holiday card season.
Here are my four tips for choosing a photographer:
Start with referrals.
When you were looking for a new hairstylist after you moved to a new post, what did you do? You asked someone for recommendations. The same thing is true for photographers. You want to work with someone who has a solid reputation for delivering a great experience and quality products on time. The good thing is that your friend will not hold back on their experience with their photographer, good or bad. Keep in mind though your friend’s preferred style might be different than yours.
Do your research.
Every photographer is different! Styles are varied, and offerings differ with each photographer. No two photographers are the same. Look through their portfolios and see if their style blends with yours. What type of experience are you wanting? Do you want a themed session or a session that provides images you can use at any time of year? Don’t feel like you must choose who your friends chose, especially if the photographer’s style is not your style. Get to know them! Once you have the referrals and some idea of what you are looking for, narrow down your photographers, and then reach out to them. Have those conversations with the photographer explaining to them what you are wanting.
Budget your money.
You will want to take all costs into account when determining your photographer. A huge thing to keep in mind is that not all photographers price their sessions equally. Do you want to show up and have a few pictures taken, like at Sears or Target? Or, do you want a photographer who takes the time to learn about your family? Are you looking for a low-cost volume photographer or a slightly higher cost with fewer clients for more personal experience? There are all sorts of photographers on all levels of experience who offer different types of sessions.
Read the contract. Then re-read it.
Most photographers have contracts that they send out to their clients to sign before they book the sessions. You may feel this is silly, but it is an essential part of the process for you and the photographer. The contract should cover pricing, ownership, distribution, cancellations, model releases, etc. Always clarify with the photographer if you do not understand what something means.
Plan your session.
Now that you have picked a photographer that fits your style and budget and signed your contract, it is time to begin planning, which may include wardrobe suggestions by the photographer to ensure your look matches the background and surroundings of the session location.
The most important part of your photoshoot is to enjoy your time with your family. Together with your photographer, you will be able to create some beautiful and lasting memories.
Until next time, I hope these tips help you to choose the perfect photographer for you.
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