Monday, October 7, 2013

Card Prep Week -- Picking a Photographer

Hi friends! If you are anything like us, your bulletin board may look something like this...

So, in honor of this "panic mode" this week we are venturing off of our regularly scheduled routine and dedicating an entire week to CHRISTMAS CARD PREPARATION!  Yep, Christmas Card Season is here (and of course the Merry Mommas are D-E-L-I-G-H-T-E-D (it's our favorite season)) and that means there is work to be done to get that awesome Christmas card ready. Today we are going to discuss Picking a Photographer!

Things to consider...

Finding a Photographer:
Before you can choose a photographer you have to find people to pick from, right? So where do you get your list?  We suggest blog stalking (we are professionals at this!) {And please please continue to stalk Your Merry Mailbox - we LOVE LOVE LOVE our readers!}, perusing Facebook and asking your friends and family who they use.  After you have your list of potential photographers, then you need to consider STYLE, INVESTMENT and AVAILABILITY.

1.  Style:
What's your style and your family's style?  The two main types of photographers are lifestyle and traditional.  Lifestyle photography is exactly like it sounds...the images captured are real life events or situations.  Images that come to mind are a mother and a child snuggling on a couch or siblings laughing and giggling while playing at the park.  Traditional photographers do more of the images where all the subjects are looking directly at the camera.  These types of images probably hang in most of our homes, or at least our parents homes.  Please know that neither type of photography is RIGHT or WRONG, it is art and art is all about personal preference.  When you are considering a photographer, first think about your style and what you want your images (both for the Christmas card and your home) to look like, then search for photographers that meet your needs.

  1. This is a great example of a newborn lifestyle shoot 
  2. We love this picture of these sweet sisters!
  3. And we think this would be cu-te for a Christmas card
  4. This is an example of a traditional - traditional family photo (does that make sense?) - and probably hanging in a home near you!
  5. This is an example of a trendy traditional family photo - we LOVE an outdoor shoot!
  6. And while we know it isn't Thursday... don't act like we don't ALL have one of these!

Other Style Considerations:

 - Lighting: natural or flash
Again, there is no right or wrong way to capture images.  Some photographers only use natural light and some only use a flash.  Most use both depending on the situation and client.

 - Location: outside or inside
Most photographers shoot both inside and outside.  Inside locations can be in a studio, your home, or a cool building.  Outside locations can be parks, train tracks, outdoor cafes, parking garages, really ANYWHERE!

 - Subjects: immediate or extended family
Some photographer's rates go up the more people that are added into the mix. So, if you are only wanting to include your immediate family, you are probably set. But, if you are considering making this an extended family shoot (may we remind you of this) then make sure to ask about price!

2.  Investment: (Don't you just love that word?  We always smirk a bit when we see that on photographer's websites, but it is true - GREAT pictures are an investment.) Just ask our hubbies...

Ask yourself - What am I willing to invest for pictures?  And what does that investment get me?  Literally, sessions can range from $50 to $5000.  And like most things in this world, you do get what you pay for!

- Session Fee: Is there a session fee?  If yes, what does it include?
- Prints:  Are prints part of the package (or session fee)?  Is there a minimum print investment?
- Digital Images: Are images given to you digitally?  If so, approximately how many?  Is this a separate cost not associated with the session fee?  Do you have full access to the printing rights if pictures are given to you digitally?
- Styling: Does your investment include any kind of styling?  Will the photographer pick the location or do you?  Will the photographer allow you to do your own styling?  Does the photographer use some sort of form to get to know you and your family better to know your family style?
- Props:  Does the photographer have props?  Are they part of the session fee?  Can you rent props from a photographer?
- Time:  How long will a photographer allow for the photo shoot?  What is the average length of a session?  Will the photographer let you have outfit changes, if yes, how many?

3.  Availability: Not gonna lie - if you haven't already booked your pictures, well, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! (Ok, so that's a little dramatic), but well... do that SOON. Like yesterday. The Merry Momma's are the crazy people that use actual vacation days for photo shoots. Expect a week day shoot as an option because weekends book up fast.

PS - Haven't booked your photographer...we have a solutions for you!  You'll want to stick around, because something big is coming...

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