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A woman holding a camera and looking off to the side

With so many photographers out there, it can feel overwhelming to have to put extra work into choosing one. But not all photographers are alike – in fact, most of us like to think we’re one of a kind. 😉 Jokes aside, there are an almost infinite number of photographic and editing styles, and every photographer has their own personality and approach to their sessions – and those things might not align with your vision, so it’s important to ask questions up front to get a feel for who you’re working with and what you can expect from the session and your photos.


Here is a short list of questions I recommend you ask any prospective photographer before you sign any contracts or pay a retainer.


1)      DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN MY NICHE?

This may be the most important question to ask – yes, even more important than cost – because if you’re looking for newborn photos and the first photographer you contact shoots only weddings, you’re wasting your time. And even if they agree to take the photos for you, do you really want to trust your brand new baby with someone who doesn’t specialize in photographing newborns?


2)      WHAT'S YOUR STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

Think documentary, cinematic, traditional, etc. Each of us has a style, and some of us even blend styles to make something even more unique. If you like traditionally posed photos, then you want to make sure your photographer shoots that way. And if you have more of a lifestyle vibe, a traditional photographer can’t give you what you’re looking for.



outline drawing of a camera

TIP: check out the photographer’s website and socials and take note of whether or not they pose their clients, or if they seem to let their subject interact with each other (and not the camera). It’s also important to note their editing style because they’re going to edit your photos in a manner that’s consistent with their other work. If you want true to color and this photographer edits with warmer tones, you’re not going to love your pictures, no matter how great the composition.



3)      WHAT'S YOUR PRICING STRUCTURE?

Some photographers’ pricing is all inclusive – meaning the cost covers the session and images – and some come in packages, or even a la carte. It’s important to ask before you sign & schedule because there’s nothing worse than getting a surprise invoice for your digitals when you thought you’d already paid for them.

 

4)      WHAT'S YOUR PAYMENT STRUCTURE?

Some photographers want payment in full at the time of booking, some require half the cost as a retainer and the remainder due within a certain time frame prior to the session. And others may let you break up the fee into multiple payments. It’s important to ask that up front, so there are no surprises.


5)      WHAT IS THE IMAGE ORDERING PROCESS?

Some photographers like to do in-person sales, meaning they meet with their clients to go over the images, at which time the client places an order. Other photographers simply deliver a gallery ready for immediate download, and others deliver what’s called a proof gallery, where you’d review the images uploaded by your photographer and select the ones you want to download or purchase. It’s important to know ahead of time what the process is, as it will save you time at the end so you don’t have to wait even longer for your photos.


6)      WHAT PLANNING HELP DO YOU PROVIDE?

Even the simplest of sessions requires some planning, and it’s good to know going into things how much support your photographer offers along the way, whether that’s location scouting, styling guidance, or simply being available to answer any questions that might arise between scheduling and the day of your session.


7)      HOW DO YOU APPROACH YOUR SESSIONS?

I know I sound like a broken record, but trust me – the more you know going into your photo session, the more comfortable you’ll feel. In this case, knowing ahead of time whether your photographer plans their poses, works on the fly, or somewhere in between will help you know what to expect. Going into a session with one expectation and finding out your photographer operates in a completely different way can throw the energy of your session completely off, and trust me: that will show in your pictures.


8)      DO YOU HELP WITH POSING?

With the exception of a select few, most of us don’t know what to do with ourselves in front of the camera and need guidance. Your photographer should be able to easily guide you through poses or with prompts to ensure your photos look natural and flattering. If they can’t…well, keep looking until you find one that can.


9)      HOW LONG WILL THE SESSION BE?

Most full sessions last around an hour, and mini sessions are anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes. Some photographers are strict with time, while others just go with the flow, shooting until they feel they’ve gotten what they need. It’s important to know before you begin how long you can expect to be there and whether or not you’ll be kept to a strict timeline.


outline drawing of a camera

TIP: Be respectful of everyone’s time and don’t be late. Chances are, for every minute you’re late, you’ve cut into your session time, and that’s just going to stress everyone out. Plan to arrive at least ten minutes before your session start time.


10)    HOW MUCH EDITING WILL YOU DO?

Aside from their overall aesthetic (i.e. light & airy, dark & moody, bold & colorful, etc.), how much touching up does this photographer do? Don’t expect them to remove every blemish and wrinkle – at least not for free. Find out what corrections they regularly do, and what extras they’d be willing to do and for how much.


Woman in a white dress sitting on the grass and leaning on a rock

In addition to asking the above questions, there are a few other things you can do to get an idea of who you will potentially be working with:


·         Read their reviews (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) – be judicious, though. One or two one-star reviews among a large number of four- and five-star reviews is normal. More bad reviews than good is a sign to keep searching.

·         Ask to see some galleries of their work. Most photographers only put a small selection from each session on their website or social media – a gallery or album will give you a much clearer picture (no pun intended) of what their work looks like.

·         Throughout your correspondence or conversations with this potential photographer, try to get a feel for their personality, and make sure it matches yours. If you’re exuberant and outgoing, but your photographer is serious and reserved, I don’t think anyone would enjoy themselves during a session. (Hint: Scope out their social media, too. Their captions, videos, and content will give you some clues about who they are)


Young couple sitting together among flowers

It sounds like a lot of work, I know. But if you’re going to check out restaurant reviews before ordering a meal, why wouldn’t you look into someone who’s going to be sharing and photographing intimate moments with you? Photos are an investment (and to some, even a luxury), so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by doing a little bit of work up front so on the day of your session, all you have to do is show up and have fun. 😊



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I’d been feeling uninspired for months. Business was slow, winter came, and I lost my mojo. It was like someone crept into my room one night and gave me a creative lobotomy. There was no inspiration, no joy when it came to taking pictures.

And then…along came an opportunity to take part in a styled shoot, the theme for which was in-home maternity. I jumped at the chance I needed to shake things up creatively, to do something different from anything I’d done before.  

All I can tell you is I am in love.

Here’s the thing about in-home sessions. They’re comfortable. You’re in your own environment, you’re relaxed, you’re doing things you might normally do at home, only there’s someone there lurking around like a stalker taking pictures of you. JUST KIDDING. Okay, sure, it’s weird to have someone with a camera following you around your house, so you may not be completely relaxed, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth it.



couple embracing during their in-home maternity session

Lifestyle photo sessions are just that — a documentary of you living your life. Granted, it won’t be entirely organic (no one wants a picture of themselves doing the dishes), but even the “poses” come across as natural and easy. It’s just you, your significant other, maybe a kiddo or two, interacting with each other. Being together.

And the connections that get captured are nothing short of magical.

Know why? You’re not looking at me. You’re looking at each other. Feeling all that love, that joy, all that anticipation for the life that’s growing inside you.



A couple in their kitchen in an-home maternity session


You might be thinking, “My house is a mess, I can’t have pictures taken here!” And that’s okay. It’s why we have Airbnb — well, one reason, anyway. We’ll find someplace local that’s got just the right aesthetic, and use that as your “home”. I have a feeling you’ll be just as relaxed — if not more so — than if you were in your own home.



A couple relaxing on the couch together in an in-home maternity session


So if you’re into the more organic, relaxed vibe, then an in-home maternity photo session is perfect for you. Ready to get started? Click the button below and let me know exactly what you’re looking for!



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When I was in high school (many, many years ago), the only options we had for "senior pictures" was the usual yearbook photos taken by the local Olan Mills studio - three to four backdrops, maybe two outfits, and a stack of wallet-sized prints that we were never going to give away. No real way to make it personal; to let ourselves truly shine.


Thankfully, things are different now.

Senior year is a big deal and it needs to be celebrated, and your photos should reflect that. A really fun way to do that is to incorporate your personal passions into the shoot.


High School Senior sitting on the sidewalk playing his guitar
Music Man

 

Whether you love to dance, paint, play sports, or anything in between, including these hobbies in your photos will make them truly unique and representative of who you are. Senior portraits are all about capturing your personality and your passions, and what better way to do that than by featuring the things you love most?

 

Not only will this make your photos more memorable, but it will also make the shoot more fun and comfortable for you. When you're doing something you love, it's so much easier to relax and let your personality shine through - which means you'll have photos that are truly authentic and showcase the real you.


High School senior sitting on a painted crosswalk playing his guitar
Be Who You Are

 

Don't be afraid to get creative with your props and outfits, too! If you're a nature lover, bring along some flowers or incorporate a natural setting into the shoot. If you're a musician, bring your instrument or wear something that represents your favorite genre. The possibilities are endless, and the more unique to you, the better.


High School Senior standing by a tree, smiling
Sweet Senior Session

 

Your senior portraits will be something that you and your family will cherish for years to come. They will serve as a reminder of this special time in your life and the person you were at this moment in time. So, why not make them as special and unique as possible?


Got questions? Hit me up! Head on over to my contact page to get started, and I'll be in touch soon!


 


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