Angie's List Report: Choosing a Family Photographer

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Updated: 6/20/2013 9:10 pm

When was the last time the family had their picture taken? Do you have a new addition to the family that you want to capture?
In this Angie’s List report, working with a professional photographer to get that perfect picture.

For Adrienne Miller, a mother of three girls, her daughters are growing up quickly. So Miller hired a professional photographer to capture them at this age.

“They’re really important because one goes by so fast, and three goes by so fast, and I love too how they have pictures together and then interacting and how they hug and how they kiss and even just how they look at each other is sweet, so I’m excited to have that that always captured to see it,” Miller said. But capturing that special moment is going to require some legwork. Not everyone can do it they way you want it.

“With the advances in cameras these days everything thinks they can be a photographer, but when it comes to a family photograph sometimes you do want to invest in a professional photographer. It’s not just the camera that matters, it’s the lighting, how they arrange the family. Being able to get that special moment, especially with small children, can be a bit of a challenge,” said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.

Gone are the days of the static shot. Today the trend is catching the family in candid shots. A simple way to check a photographer’s style is to look at their portfolio on their website.

“A lot of people come to me and say I saw on your blog, these smiling pictures or laughing pictures. They’re just playing or not necessarily looking at the camera. And that’s exactly what they want. They don’t want the awkward posing smile say cheese kind of things anymore, which is fine by me," Photographer Jessica  Johnston said as she laughed.

So the best advice is to talk to the photographer prior to the session about the kind of look you want and the results you want to achieve.

“I think a few things to keep in mind when you’re shooting little ones is timing. Usually families want a morning session because kids are happier in the morning, they’ve just been fed. They can be clean from the night before.  You don’t have to worry about the day’s grime on them or anything,” Johnston advised.

“Having family photos done can run anywhere from a couple of hundred to a thousand dollars. The key here is understanding how they price and what they are getting. How much is a sitting fee, how much is it per sheet of photo that you have done with them?” Angie Hicks said. 

Before you sign a contract, make sure you understand all the details, including who will have the rights to the high-resolution images? Will you have unlimited copyrights? Are you OK if they use your photos for their marketing purposes?

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