Angie's List: Advice for getting a photographer

When was the last time you had a family picture taken? Do you have a new addition to the family that you want to capture?

There is some advice you should know when 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," says Adrienne Miller.

Angie Hicks/Angie's List:
"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,” explains the founder of Angie’s List Angie Hicks. “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."

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,” says photographer Jessica Johnston. “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.”

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,” explains Johnston. “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."

Angie Hicks/Angie's List: "Having family photos done can run anywhere from a couple of hundred to a thousand dollars,” says Angie. “The key here is to understand 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?"

Also you should understand all that will help make your experience picture perfect.

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?

A family photo is a great way to capture memories which you'll treasure for a lifetime.

Gone are the days of the static shot. Today the trend is catching the family in candid shots.

Angie's List, the nation's leading provider of consumer reviews on local service companies, asked it's highly rated photographers about how to capture the perfect picture.

Angie's List Perfect Picture Tips:
• Share your vision: Talk to the photographer prior to the session about the kind of look you want and the results you want to achieve. Do you want an indoor or outdoor photo shoot? Posed photos or candid? Will the photographer come to your home so the family is more relaxed in their environment?
• Timing is key: Schedule the session around the best times for the kids. If you have kids, schedule the session when the the little ones are happy, well-rested and relaxed. If you are including the family pet in on the photos, take your dog for a good walk before the session and bring treats.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a Photographer
• Review their work: Each photographer has their own style. Look at the photographer's website to give you some insight on whether the style fits your needs. If you want photos of your newborn, do they have experience with newborn photography?
• Communication is key: You should feel comfortable telling the photographer exactly what you want the end product to be and a good photographer is about making your children feel comfortable.
• How much is that? A photo session and pictures can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. Some photographers do offer discounts or incentives.
• Check references. When you've narrowed your choices to one or two photographers, ask for references. Actually call them. Previous customers are your only source for knowing how the professional actually performs on the job.
• Put details in contract. When you're ready to book a particular photographer, make sure the contract stipulates how long he or she will be present, whether there'll be a second shooter or assistant, how many pictures you'll receive and in what form and arrangement, and will you have rights to the images?

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