Hey Facebook Moms!
"I'm due with our first baby in June and looking for a great newborn photographer in CT, who do you all recommend?"
"We need to update our family photos this summer, what family photographer do you recommend in the New Haven area?"
"We have extended family visiting this summer and would love to get an extended family photograph of everyone. Who is a great photographer who can meet us at the beach in Old Saybrook?"
I see these posts every day, in fact it's where I have found some great clients. But I want to caution you on this, just a bit or at least approach it with a different mindset. Yes, it is an easy way to find a photographer that someone has used and loved, and that always makes the process a bit easier. I would probably do the same thing if I wasn't a photographer myself. There's only one major thing that concerns me with this method of searching and that is simply - what works for other people, may not work for you, and may not actually be the best value.
I know price and budget is important. Every single person, regardless of income, has a budget. Everyone. But I want you to consider something:
Photographers who are less expensive will inevitably have had more clients, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have more value. They might, but they might not, and that is why it is incredibly important to ask the right questions and understand that you may actually want to pay a bit more for more service, because it will save you money in the end.
Here are two examples:
- Wardrobe. This one is big, especially if you have other children that you are trying to dress. I'll be honest, if you get this wrong, you will not be happy with your images and well, that ends up being a waste of money in my opinion. Maternity sessions are another thing to think about, do you want to spend money (and time) finding a maternity dress that fits you, only to never wear it again? I'm guessing no. When a photographer gives you a quote and it does not include wardrobe assistance, you must understand that the cost for that session will inevitably more. Shopping, coordinating, fit and of course considering what actually looks good on camera, will make or break a session and can cost a lot! My advice: find a photographer that assists you with wardrobe, sends you links for outfits that will harmonize and fit your budget. An even better option would be to look for a photographer that has women's dresses that you can borrow, especially for a maternity session. This will save you SO much time a money!
- Artwork. I know everyone wants the digitals, and most photographers will give you the digital files, but I 100% encourage all of my clients to let me design and order their frames and albums. I can toot my own horn here, and talk about why I am an expert at this, why I know how to print, frame and create albums better then you do, but you don't want to hear that, haha. To be frank, even the most experienced photographer can make an error in ordering artwork. When I was new, I can't tell you how many errors I made trying sample products and how costly they were. I chose the wrong paper, the wrong resolution, the wrong frame finish etc. You can keep your images on a USB forever if you like, I'll blog about that mistake someday soon, haha. Save your time, money and mistakes! If you find a photographer willing to design and order artwork for you, I believe you will save a lot of time money in the end.
In conclusion, it's always best to find recommendations from multiple sources. Especially if you are investing in a maternity or newborn session, because that is a once in a lifetime event, even if you have multiple pregnancies, you will never regret documenting each one.
I'm now stepping off of my soap box and making a coffee.