How to Choose a Photographer For Your Family Portraits Part 1

Let's face it; it seems like everyone has a good camera these days, and the technology has become more user-friendly and affordable. So, why should you hire a professional photographer, and what should you look for?

When I was planning my wedding over 13 years ago, in the days before digital, I knew I wanted artsy black and white shots of the day. My husband and I paid for almost everything for our wedding, and I didn't think I could afford a real photographer. I asked the brother of one of my bridesmaids; he was artistic and took interesting shots, and he was gracious to do it as a gift. We also put disposable cameras on each table at the reception, and thought that would cover the bases. Unfortunately, he ended up having camera issues at the ceremony, and didn't get a single image. The only photos I have of that day are crappy point and shoot images from weird angles taken by guests. There is one of me standing at the altar looking up my nose with my eyes closed.  When you have priceless family memories at stake, it may be safer to not leave them up to a family member or friend who may simply be an enthusiast. If something goes wrong, like it did in my situation, it can certainly strain the relationship.

Hiring a professional photographer to capture memories of your family will be an investment. You can spend anywhere from $150 - $6,000 or more. The lower end of the spectrum will buy you images from Target, Sears, Wal-Mart, or Picture People, or a CD of images taken by usually beginner photographers. I'm not knocking this option. If you like to have portraits of the kids done a couple of times a year to mark milestones, this can serve that purpose. Every fledging photographer has to start somewhere building their portfolio, and may not feel confident enough in the consistency of their images and therefore charge less.

Family portraits are heirlooms. They will be cherished and adored for generations.  They are worth every cent you are willing to invest, and you get what you pay for. Higher end portrait photographers offer the full service experience. If you decide you would like something different from the chain studio approach to portraiture, you will need to find a independent photographer that offers the service you are looking for.

How do you find them? Read part two!


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