For many of us feeling comfortable in front of the camera just doesn’t seem possible. I should know because this is how I feel. I’m way better behind the camera than in front of it. And so it made me think about what helps me when I’m getting my photo taken.

For me the first and probably most important thing  is liking and trusting the person taking the photos. But how do you know that when you’re trying to choose… you check out their website or Facebook page, read the raving reviews and you like their work. But how do you know you’ll actually like the person behind the camera on the day of your photo session?

This happened to my sister on her wedding day. Along with her then husband to be they met with their photographer, looked at his work and went through the packages on offer. He wasn’t cheap but everything looked great so they booked and paid. Then came the big day… and the photographer did not live up to his reputation at all. The photos were good but he was impatient almost to the point of being rude. He rushed the family photos. He only took black and white ones of the cake. Although my sister and her husband have beautiful photos to remember their day they did not enjoy the photographic experience at all. They certainly didn’t recommend their photographer to anyone else. And they were lucky that one of the guests snapped a colour photo of the cake!

So here are some tips for getting to know your photographer better BEFORE you book the session.

What do other people say? Reviews are good and the more the better so you know it’s not just their friends saying nice stuff! And it’s even better when someone has referred them.

Do they have a personal Facebook page or Instagram account you can look at to see if they’re the type of person you could be friends with. You’re not necessarily looking for someone ‘perfect’ but rather someone who is friendly and kind and who seems to share your values.

Look at their work. Do you like their photography style? If most of their work is posed and in a studio and you prefer lifestyle photos in your own home maybe they’re not the photographer for you. If they shoot outdoors and you’re looking for something on a classic background to hang on the wall maybe you need to find someone else.

Read their ‘about me’ information. Ask if you can have a pre-consult and meet them in person. Or talk to them on the phone so you can hear their voice and ask questions.

Make sure you know what to expect. What is included in the session fee? Do they offer packages and individual products. Do they supply prints or digital negatives. Do they offer wall collages, albums or framing? There is no right answer here, it all depends on the service you’re looking for.

Do they supply a welcome kit or information such as what to wear and if there’s anything you should bring. Being as prepared as possible not only helps you get the most from your session it also gives you something to focus on and less reason to be nervous.

If it’s a family session are they used to dealing with kids? Children can be unpredictable and as we know sometimes don’t act the way we want. As a parent this is a major cause of stress especially when we see all those photos of other ‘perfect’ smiling families.

Choosing a photographer who resonates with you can help take away some of the pre-session nerves. Being prepared and knowing exactly what to expect helps you feel more confident and trusting. Knowing that your photographer can adapt to whatever happens on the day can calm the stress about your children behaving.

Contact me if you have any questions or comment below if these tips have helped you.