Gold Coast Family Photographer: 10 Tips For Choosing the Perfect Photographer
When you are looking for a Gold Coast Family Photographer to document your lives, it can be really overwhelming. So much jargon, different prices, styles and packages – it can be hard to decide who you want to work with! I have written this guide to help a fellow busy mum to cut through the noise and know what to consider when booking a family photographer.
Here are my 10 top tips for choosing a Gold Coast Family Photographer.
1. Personality & People Skills
How the photographer makes your kids feel is so important that I can’t overestimate it. So many children have negative experiences with photography – being told to stand still and say cheese for the camera over and over again – how boring is that for them? One of the top requests that I get from clients is to to capture their kids just as they are – with natural smiles and not that forced “school photo” face. When I am photographing families on the Gold Coast, one of the most important parts of the shoot is what happens before I even get the camera out of my bag. I take time to introduce myself to the children and make sure they know I am on their side and that we are going to have lots of fun! I have a whole bag of tricks for different personalities and even the most shy and sensitive child is normally clinging to my leg by the time we are going back to the cars after the session!
2. Are they an AIPP Member?
AIPP stands for Australian Institute of Professional Photography and is the governing body for professional photographers in Australia. I am a proud member of the AIPP and an Accredited Professional Photographer. These days, anybody can buy a nice camera, set up a Facebook page and call themselves a professional photographer, but only AIPP members have earned the title by going through a rigorous accreditation process. Just some of the things that AIPP members have to prove is that we:
- have been practising for a minimum of 2 years (my business was founded in 2013)
- demonstrate that my photographic skills meet with their professional standards by having a portfolio of work assessed by experienced assessors
- agree to continue my professional development every year and maintain up to date skills and business practices.
As a result of my focus on professional standards and continuing education, not only do you get the best family photography but also the best experience as a client.
3. Location, location location.
When you are looking for a photographer, one of the most important choices to make is what style of photography you love. As a Gold Coast family photographer, I shoot primarily on location or in my clients’ homes. I am so creatively inspired by the beautiful area that we live in and love nothing more than photographing on the beaches of the Gold Coast or the scenic rainforest of Tamborine Mountain. I find that children feel so much more free to be themselves when they are out in nature, and some of my most beautiful work has been captured when they have forgotten that I am even there! As part of my service, I discuss with you which locations would work best for you as a family – I have lots of ideas up my sleeve or we can plan your session in a location that is special or sentimental for your family.
4. Candid or posed?
Another important stylistic choice when you are choosing a Gold Coast Family Photographer is whether you love natural, candid images of you all interacting or whether you prefer posed images where everybody is looking at the camera and smiling. Personally I employ a hybrid model, where I set you up in the most beautiful light and then alternate between posed images and giving you activities to do together so that I can capture candid images. I never leave anybody standing in front of the camera feeling awkward or not knowing what to do or where to stand and I make sure that you have variety to choose from when you view your photographs for the first time.
5. Start with the end in mind.
I always like to start with the end in mind. So one of the first questions I will ask you is what your plans are for the photographs. Whether it is something to put up on the wall, a book / album or even a whole gallery for the wall that tells a story, understanding your needs will help me to shoot images that you will love. If you want something for the wall – is that for the living room, the kitchen or the kids’ bedroom? What colour and style is your decor in that area? As an example, if you want a large framed print for your lounge and you have a beachy-feel to your interior decorating then one of the Gold Coast beaches will be perfect for your shoot. If you have green or deep jewel coloured accents to your home then I may suggest a rainforest setting. Your photographs are intended to be artwork for your home, so lets start with a plan and make them perfect!
6. What do other people think of them?
When you are choosing a photographer, you should always make sure they have testimonials from past clients that talk about the experience. If other people have loved working with them in the past then there is a good chance that you will too. Beware of working with any business who have switched off reviews on their Facebook page! I have a wealth of testimonials from past Gold Coast Family Photography clients – you will find them all over my website, all over Facebook and YouTube.
7. Are they client focussed?
Once you have decided on the style of photography you love, you will probably end up with a shortlist of photographers that you may reach out to for more information about their services. When you are communicating with a potential photographer, you can gauge a lot just from those initial interactions. Are their responses useful and full of information, do they communicate the value that they will bring to your session? Are they happy to talk over the phone, or do they take a long time to respond to your emails? I would advise that when choosing your Gold Coast family photographer, you find somebody who is focussed on your needs as an individual client and is engaged when dealing with you. Most importantly, make sure you like them! Personally I treat every client as if I am their family photographer for life – it isn’t just the first shoot that is important but that I do such an amazing job that you want to come back and see me again and again as your family grows.
8. Value for Money
How can I write an article about finding a Gold Coast Family Photographer without mentioning price! There is a photographer out there for every budget but think about what constitutes value for money for you. Is it having the best experience, the kids having fun at the photoshoot, the most beautiful photographs, the highest quality products that will last a lifetime and beyond as family heirlooms? Personally when I am dealing with a company, value for me means working with somebody who makes the whole process effortless and easy for me – that is what I try to offer to my photography clients. Some photographers offer all inclusive packages where you pay up front before a photograph is even taken and others sell a gift voucher or charge a sitting fee where you choose your products after the session. The latter is how I work at Victoria Nelson Photography – how can you know what you want to buy before you have even seen the product? I only want my clients to purchase what they really love and you only know what that will be once you have seen your images.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
There is no such thing as a stupid question! I think we have all dealt with companies where they assume that we know what the process of working with them is and we feel like we can’t ask questions. I welcome as many questions as you want to throw at me, as I understand that many people have not been professionally photographed before, or may be used to the way that a different photographer works. My challenge to you is to try and ask me a question that nobody has ever asked me before – I bet you can’t! Some great questions to ask would be:
- How long have you been a family photographer?
- Are you a member of the AIPP?
- Can you send me a full gallery so I can see what an entire shoot with you looks like?
- What experience do you have in working with shy children/toddlers/newborns/teenagers/*insert variable here!
10. Talk on the phone or meet in person
I have talked in this post about how important it is to like your Gold Coast family photographer and that they understand your needs and wants but to take it a step further I think it so important that you actually speak to them prior to booking. You need to get an idea of whether you want to spend your hard earned money with them, whether they sound like they will be good with your children and ask some of the questions that you might have in your mind after reading the point above! I know that sometimes there is the temptation to organise life via Facebook messenger or email, but family photography is such a personal thing that deserves at least a phone call. I always speak to clients on the phone prior to sessions also for a pre-shoot consultation – this helps me to understand exactly what you have in mind for your images, what are the must have photographs and I can offer some help with what to wear and what to bring for the kids.
Feel free to reach out and speak to me via phone any time with any questions – my number is 0498 173 132 and I’m happy to shout you a coffee too if you would like to meet in person – if you follow my Instagram stories you will know that I am a coffee fanatic!
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