Looking for a professional photographer can be confusing these days. There are so many choices that it can be overwhelming, so I wanted to share some information with you that may help you to find the perfect photographer for you and your family. Professional photography is an investment in time, money, and emotion. Hopefully, this page will help you to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for, why it is worth investing in, and how to find the best photographer for you.

#1) Why hire a professional photographer? 

True professionals have skilled training in how to use professional cameras, lenses, and editing software. They understand how to shoot everything manually so that they can manipulate the photos to look exactly how they want them to look. Skilled professionals also possess knowledge and talent in composition. It is not enough to just know what buttons to press on your camera. They must also know how to set up the shot, place the subject within the background, and work with the natural light to capture the best shot. Then there is the ability to make clients feel at ease, get them interacting naturally with one another, and help make them look their best. For weddings, it is crucial that the photographer have experience with couples, understand their personality and emotions, and be able to work with patience, speed, and flexibility. Lastly, your photographer should have the most sophisticated editing software and know how to use it without overusing it. You are hiring someone because they have a proven track record of all of these skills. Relying on someone who is not truly a professional may cause you to end up with amateur looking photos that aren't worth the money, no matter how low the photographer's fees may be. 

#2) What are you looking to achieve in your session?

This is an important thing to consider because photography is truly a form of art. As a result, every photographer has his/her own style and that is usually what they will stick to during a session. When hiring the best photographer for you, it is a good idea to ask yourself what you are looking to get from your session. Do you want a classic, eye contact/smiling photo to frame and hang on your wall, give as a gift, or use on a holiday card? Do you love colorful, vibrant photos, or black and white or antique looking photos? Are you more drawn to photos that are emotional, with less emphasis on poses or eye contact and more focus on the emotional connection between the people being photographed? Do you prefer studio photos or outdoor photos? Do you like props and "staged" photos or natural, relaxed photos? When answering these questions, there are really no right or wrong answers here....just use these questions as a guide to help you narrow down who's photography style best matches your interests. Be sure to really look at the photographer's blog, galleries, and online reviews. This will be as important, if not more important, than what they charge, where they are located, or when they are available. 

#3) What is my budget and why does professional photography cost so much?

There is no questions about it...if you want high quality, beautiful photos, then it is going to be an investment. Most professional photographers invest a HUGE amount of money in pro level equipment, editing programs, professional training, marketing, creating websites/blogs, etc, etc, etc. Not only that, but the amount of time that goes into booking a client, consultations, shooting, editing, ordering, packaging products, shipping, and all of the other steps to the process is sizable, to say the least. Most photographers put in this time on weekends, evenings, and during typical business hours as well. Many photographers have families and are working during the times when most other people are spending time with their spouses, kids, friends, etc. So while it may look to the outside eye to be a simple job.....the kind where you just grab a camera, snap some photos, throw a little editing finish on it, and its done.....this is never really the case. The truth is that your photographer will probably spend many, many hours working on your session to bring it from start to finish. 
As a result, you will find that some photographers charge a huge premium for that time away from family and for all of their other investments. Others charge a bit less because their photography business may not be their sole source of income. And then there are those who charge next to nothing, which can be because they are just starting out and lack experience or a portfolio of work.  It also can be because they are really not in demand or are not producing high quality work, so they get business by being the best bargain in town. The range is great, and as a result, your options can be at times overwhelming. 

So you will need to first find the photographers who create work that moves you. Something that excites you and makes you wish you had a photo like that. Then you start researching the costs. Once you narrow it down to the style and costs that match your needs, you will be ready to select a photographer that will be a great match for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and express exactly what you are hoping to achieve with your session. The photographer that is best suited to you will be happy to answer all your questions and will make you feel at ease with your decision. 
I hope this has been helpful and will assist you on your journey to finding the best photographer for you and your family :-)
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