Trust us on this one: No one wants their holiday family photos to wind up on AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. These top-rated Thumbtack pros advise you how to hire the right photographer so you get fabulous family photos this holiday season.
What does your work look like?
Ashley Hamm says it’s really about finding a photographer who understands your vision and appreciates what you’re trying to capture. Do you love their work? Scope Instagram and visit websites portfolios to find your perfect match.
And although experience is important, even if they’re the most experienced in the group of bidders, if their work doesn’t move you—you should move on, suggests J.J. Bentley.
What do previous customers say about you?
When navigating Thumbtack, Bentley suggests reading the insightful comments people leave, not just relying on the star ratings. It’s important you are comfortable with your photographer.
When it comes to that personal interaction, Hamm says to get a feel for the artist on the phone. Ask yourself if you are confident in them, because photography is really about connecting.
What are your rates, and what do they include?
Marc Raff suggests clarifying how many finished images are included in a quote, and if you will have access to all the images taken. Ask about how you will receive the pics—if you want prints, a CD, etc. Furthermore, he suggests asking if shots are taken with a full frame professional camera, as the image quality is much higher.
How long will it take to get the photos?
This is exactly why you don’t have a best friend take photos—they sit on the retouches for months. Raff and Bentley both suggest asking how fast the photos turn around, you don’t want to wait until 2018 if you plan to use it for a holiday card.
Where will we shoot the photos?
There are so many options! Share your goals for the shoot and the artist can guide the location—unless you have a specific place you love. Hamm often takes clients into the outdoors and always urges caution—for example be careful with heels if there is elevation.
Do you have experience with ______?
Look to previous work to confirm that your photographer is skilled at what you want such as weddings, kids, pets, etc., says Bentley.
If you have a special case, for example a newborn baby, Hamm strongly suggests you find someone trained on the necessary safety precautions. Another instance Ashley recommends training is if you have a child with special needs. A photographer who’s been trained to work with an Autistic child will be better suited to capturing beautiful pics of your kiddo.
How does a photo shoot with you work?
To learn more about the technical nature, Raff recommends asking how many images they will take, and if they use both flash and natural light images. This one is important, he says, as many non-professionals don’t know how to work with flash and it can make or break a shoot depending on the quality of light.
Bentley likes to tell clients that shoots are casual and easygoing, that they can breathe, smile, and it’s going to be fun—the photographer handles everything.
Hamm informs clients that these pics are about capturing who your family is at this moment in time. You’re not supposed to be thinner, and it’s okay if your kid wants to come dressed as Pippi Longstocking—these pics aren’t to impress others, they’re to record special memories of your family. That often helps take some of the pressure off and put it in perspective.
Another reminder Hamm likes to give clients is that the best photos are often ones where no one is looking at the camera, instead the family is interacting with one another. Don’t fight too hard to get the “perfect” shot. It might not be what you think it is!
What should I wear to the shoot?
The number one rule is to wear what makes you feel beautiful and comfortable. But do ask the photographer for suggestions if it’s an outside shoot. For example, Bentley likes clients to know that wearing solid white for daytime beach shoots is not a great idea. If you’re going to a specific location, ask your artist for some color suggestions.
What’s your availability?
All three of the artists stressed that your photos are about capturing special memories as a family. Come as you are, relax, and enjoy.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to find a local photographer in your area.
[Photos via MyLifeandKids]