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  • Writer's pictureEmily Irwin

5 Questions to Ask a Photographer Before Hiring Them for Your Family Photos

It's super important to know what you're getting yourself into when booking a photographer. Will your personalities clash, will they help you if you're having trouble picking out an outfit, what happens if your little ones get sick the night before? I've put together 5 questions to ask your photographer before hiring them for your family photos, and what my answers are for Emmy & Ollie Photography (so you don't have to ask me when you book me *winky face*).

1. Do you take candid or posed photos?

Let's say you are booking a photographer and you want that lovely lifestyle feel to your photos, but you get to the photo session and your photographer has a studio set up with a few chairs, poses your family, and asks you to all say "cheese" then sends you on your merry way. Not so merry for you if you weren't expecting the posed look! Is the posed look ok? Heck yes if that's what you want! But not every photographer does that, and it's good for you to check before you book your photographer to see if that's all they do. You should be able to tell by their social media photos and their portfolio on their website, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

For me, I LOVE candid photos. They make me smile. I love capturing the personality of everyone in your family in their own time and their own way. Will I do a few posed shots for you? Yes! I know that's what some people expect, *ahem* grandparents, but the majority of the time I will just give slight prompts to get everyone relaxed and having a good time in front of the camera.

2. What is your editing style?

This is a really important question to ask. If it's not obvious from their social media feeds, or the portfolio they have on their website you definitely need to ask this. Some photographers edit based on what they feel the photo needs (I do this, but you can always expect fairly true to color edits and nice soft skin tones), and others like to stick with a distinct style. Even if you think you know what the photographer will do, it's good to mention what you like about their editing style. Sometimes photographers change up their style, and you never know if they are planning on switching right when you decide to book them. Communication and expectation setting is super important here.

For me, I'm open to different editing styles, but what I like to focus on is colorful (but not too saturated), beautiful skin tones, and nice sharp images. We can work together if you want something a bit different, or you can let me get my creative juices flowing and leave it up to me!

3. Do you have any prep guides, or will you help me with my outfits?

Although not crucial to the success of a photo session, it's very helpful if your photographer provides you with prep guides and styling tips. The prep guides are built to answer FAQs, set up expectations for how the session will likely go, and give you some ideas on what you might want to bring or have on hand. Styling tips are also fairly important because if you read back on tip number 2 most photographers do have some sort of editing style, and there are definitely no no colors or textures that everyone likes to disagree on. So, asking your photographer for styling tips will make the process go much smoother all around and you'll get your expected result because of it!

As for me, I do have a prep guide and I offer styling tips as well! You can read through my blog post about session style tips if you want to get an idea of what I suggest for your session! I'm always down for a consultation call as well if you're struggling to find the perfect outfits for your session.

4. How will you deliver my photos and how many are included?

This one is definitely important for setting expectations. Some photographers deliver their galleries through Google Drive, others deliver through a gallery software. Additionally, it's always good to know how many digital files you can expect. It's not uncommon to find photographers who give you all digital files, and others (like myself) who have limits to how many are included.

For me, I use Pic-Time for my gallery software and I love it. The print products I'm able to offer to my families are wonderful, and it's super simple to use (though not as easy on mobile if you ask me, so best to use your computer when looking through your photos). Also, I have a tiered system with how I deliver my photos. Once you pay your session fee which covers all of our prep leading up to the session, the session itself, and my selection and editing of your photos, you'll receive a gallery link. This will link you to a slideshow of all of your photos, so you're able to see your photos before you decide which collection you'd like to choose from. Each collection includes a certain number of digital files and print credit to be used in my gallery store, with the top collection including all digital files. If you want to see what sessions I offer you can click here.

5. If something comes up is there a rescheduling fee?

I feel like this is different for every photographer so it's super important to ask. Every photographer is different in this respect so you'll want to set your expectations early for both of your sake. If you have kiddos that are great some days and not so fun to be around other days, you need to let your photographer know you might have to reschedule. If you have someone in your family who has a medical condition that might mean you need to reschedule, please let your photographer know. Additionally, your photographer should be letting you know if there will be a fee. Either over the phone, via email, or in the contract.

Personally, being a mom, I understand things come up. Within reason I will not request a rescheduling fee, but if someone tries to take advantage of my kindness I will become the mama bear I was meant to be! (I kid, I kid... but you never know).

To recap

Should you only ask these questions? No! This is just a jumping off point for you. I would suggest asking all of these questions, but if you think of something else you should bring it up with your potential photographer. You are hiring an artist to take your photo, make sure you both align and you will both have a better experience because of it.

Got anything to add? Drop it in the comments below!

Looking for photos in the Ann Arbor area? I'd love to chat!

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