Top Questions to Ask a Family Photographer Before Booking:

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Top Questions to Ask a Family Photographer Before Booking:

Have you ever gone to book a service, hung up the phone, and then realized you still had more questions? Or you wake up in the middle of the night and suddenly your mind is racing with questions that you realize you will never remember to ask. It happens to the best of us. So I’ve done the thinking for you! Below are some of the questions that I get asked and know they are the questions on your mind too! Let me know if you have any to add in the comment section below

What would you consider your “style” when photographing families?  

Not just in editing style (more on that later), but also their approach to carry out a family photo session?  Do they prefer more posed photos?  More candid shots?  At Novella Photography, I do more “lightly posed” and prompts.  I like to be sure you and your family are comfortable (but still looking your best) and then I’ll throw a prompt at you that will create organic internations between your family members.  Nobody looks their best or natural if someone is putting them in weird positions.  Unless you are a professional model, you will see the uneasiness in your family’s face with rigid posing.  We of course will get the “grandma” shot when everyone is looking at the camera, but it will be relaxed.  And the rest of the time is spent playing and interacting to show your family’s true “Novella”.  

Family of four cuddling on a blanket with their two dogs at St. James Forrest Preserve in Warrenville, IL

How do you edit?  What’s your style and is retouching included?

 If you look closely at photographer’s pages, you can get a good sense of the type of “look” their photography portrays.  Some photographers edit Dark and Moody where the contrast levels are very high.  Others go with the light and airy look.  Personally, I love seeing different photographers editing style…photography is really an art form.  But I feel like there is a certain place for that.  I don’t feel family photography is one of them.  20 years from now, you  are going to want to pass down photography that is timeless…true to life.  

On the topic of editing, is your photographer just doing color correcting, or are they including retouching as well (such as brighter eyes/teeth, acne removal).  Are they removing that terrible garbage can in the background?  And is retouching an additional cost or is it included?

What is your experience working with kids?

Having an open dialog about what happens when your kid doesn’t smile?  Can’t settle down to get a shot?  How your potential photographer reacts will tell you how your potential time together could go if everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan.  Because, let’s face it.  Kids are going to be kids.  They have bad days just like we do.  It’s how we handle that energy that will make all the difference during our time together.  

Little girl in beautiful pink dress twirling under a canopy of ivy at Fabyan Forrest Preserve in Geneva, IL

What’s included?

Some photographers charge a session fee and then charge additional for prints/digitals.  Some photographers don’t include or offer digitals at all!  Many only include a set amount of digitals.  Are there options to upgrade if you want more then what is included? 

Will you be the photographer at my session?

This is important.  If you are going thru a small, independently owned company, most likely there is only one photographer.  However, if you are inquiring with a larger studio, there may be many photographers.  If this is the case, you will want to be sure you are meeting or speaking with the photographer that is actually taking your family’s photos so you know what to expect from them and make sure you have great communication pre-session.  Be sure to see a full gallery from start to finish and not just their “best work” if you go this route.

Four woman lying on their bellies and laughing during our Family generations shoot at St. James Forrest Preserve in Warrenville, IL

What do you need from me before our session?

Does your photographer take a retainer to hold your date?  Do they require you to sign a contract?

What happens if I need to cancel or reschedule?

Life happens, right?  If your child gets sick last minute or an uncontrollable instance comes up, what happens?  What if it rains?  Be sure your photographer has a plan in place for when life happens.

Mom and Dad with young daughter snuggling during our family session at St. James Forrest Preserve in Warrenville, IL

What should I expect after the session?

Will you receive sneak peaks?  How will your pics be delivered?  How long after your session should be expect to wait to hear from your photographer?  At Novella Photography, I send off your online proof gallery within 3 days of our session together.  Proofs are unedited , watermarked pictures – usually straight from my camera – for you to see the composition of the shot.  I will usually fully edit 1-2 so you can see how the editing will look once complete, but the rest are raw.  You will then “heart” your (5, 10, whatever is included in your package) favorites and I will then fully edit those and send back within 2 weeks of receiving your choices.

What image sizes will I receive?

Some photographers only include web sized photos in their packages and charge more for high resolution ones (the ones you would need for printing purposes).  I personally include both the web sized (2040) as well as the highest resolution available which will allow for large print photographs.

Can we order prints or albums directly from you?

Some photographers will ONLY allow this and will not provide digitals.  And I can understand why.  Having prints printed at Walgreens/Costco or even Shutterfly/Tiny Prints do not give you high quality prints. Their labs all interpret colors differently and the professional pictures you paid for are not the ones you will receive. I can tell you, I have printed the same picture at numerous retail labs and they all look completely different.  So…while not all photographers require pictures to be ordered thru their professional lab…I highly highly encourage that you do if it is offered..  I can’t stress that enough.  If you spend the money for pictures…spend the money on professional prints.  It makes a huge difference.  

Is there anything I missed?  Leave your thoughts below!

Kim Novella is a lifestyle family photographer based in the Western suburbs of Chicago.  She services Naperville, Warrenville, Wheaton, Oakbrook, Lombard, Downers Grove and surrounding areas. Photos in this publication were taken at Fabyan Forrest Preserve as well as St James Farm

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