With the how far phone cameras have come, it almost seems unthinkable that people would pay for a family photographer rather than simply snapping a selfie with their loved ones or setting up their phone on a tripod to get a nice picture themselves.
However, what many fail to consider is that family photographers have skills, experience, knowledge, and equipment that allow them to take pictures of far higher quality.
What Do Family Photographers Do?
Family photographers are tasked with taking pictures of a family in a way that accurately reflects their dynamic. To do this, many photographers have consultation sessions with their clients so that both parties are on the same page when it is time for the shoot.
In these meetings important questions such as if the family is interested in traditional or lifestyle photography, what the family will be using the pictures for, when and where the family would like the shoot to be, and if the children have any particular fears are asked.
Some family photographers will have families fill out a form or online questionnaire instead of a consultation session, but they serve the same general purpose.
To prevent misunderstandings on either end, some family photographers have contracts that detail what each party is responsible for, what exactly the photography session will entail, and what will happen in the case of unforeseen events—for instance if rescheduling the shoot is needed.
These contracts prevent both the client and photographer from either expecting more than they should or losing money.
Families searching for a family photographer should be aware that different family photographers have their preferred style of shooting.
For instance, one might only take photos in a studio where customers are posed and another might offer candid photos taken at a scenic location.
Some might opt for lifestyle shoots (shoots that focus on capturing real moment) while others might opt for traditional (posed, more formal shoots). Shooting locations can be anywhere from a studio to a park to even a family’s home.
There are family photographers that will advise families on what to wear—for instance patterns that should be avoided, if the family should come in coordinating outfits, or if the family should dress formally. This can help the photos feel more cohesive.
However, other photographers who are aiming for more genuine shots will have their clients shoot in outfits of their choosing. Photographers also have their own distinct ways of editing their work, which is why it is advised families preview a photographer’s portfolio before paying for a shoot.
Family photography shoots can be for any occasion, whether it’s holiday pictures or pictures just for the sake of preserving memories. Families should notify their photographers of the event so that the family photographer will be able to give their recommendations.
After the shooting session, family photographers will usually host a session where clients can review their final photographs before making a purchase. These photographs have been edited and screened so that only the ones the photographer considers worthy are in the batch.
Photos are generally taken in color, but at client requests, photographers can edit them to be black and white. Photographers typically will not give clients their unedited photos because that would include test shots, blurry shots, and shots where not everyone is looking at the camera when they should be.
The final cost of working with a professional photographer differs on a case-by-case bias. Some may charge per every hour of the session whereas others may charge based on packages.
How much a session can costs can vary depending on its time and locations, and if there will be multiple locations per shoot.
What’s in a package can range from if both hardcopy and digital copies of a photo are included to what the photos are printed on to if the photos will be digitally retouched to edit out blemishes and the like. There are also those who charge both for the shooting session and for the photos.
Family photographers are usually transparent with their pricing, though, so finding one within budget should be no problem.
What Makes a Family Photographer Worth It?
It is far more common for parents to have album upon album of their children than for kids to have pictures of their parents, or even with their parents. However, when children miss their parents, pictures are one of the first things they’ll go searching for. Family photographs provide a picture with everyone, not just the kids, that can be preserved and passed down.
Pictures are all about the memories, and at its core, family photography is no different. Family photographers provide high quality photos that family members can look at year after with fondness.
Years of family photos can show how a family has grown and changed over time, and there’s nothing that pulls at the heartstrings quite like old memories.
Looking at photos of years gone by can bring to mind other happy memories that were made around the same the photographs were taken. Memories such as those are priceless, making a visit to a family photographer a worthy trip.
Tips for Family Photography
For families choosing to shoot at a scenic location, a location with less traffic is ideal. A family photograph is meant for the family and family only, so it wouldn’t do to have strangers in the background.
If the location of choice is somewhere that’s frequently busy, going either in the morning or evening can reduce the amount of people who may be there.
The “golden hour” is a great time for photographs thanks to the wonderful lighting it provides, so if it’s possible scheduling a shoot around that time would be a great idea. If it’s not, many photographers are able to create situations with good lighting with their equipment or mimic it with editing.
Family photography is meant to be an enjoyable experience, and the pictures will turn out best is everyone is present, relaxed, and in an upbeat mood.