5 Steps to Finding the Perfect Portrait Photographer in Texas.

5 Steps to Finding the Perfect Portrait Photographer in Texas.

Choosing your perfect portrait photographer in Texas can be an overwhelming task. If you search for a “Family Photographer” online or through your social media, you will be slammed with hundreds of options. Not to mention the studio that you’ve seen downtown, or the family photos your friends posted on Facebook from their own session. So where do you even begin with finding the right photographer for YOU?

I’m going to cover the steps to help choose the ideal portrait photographer. I hope that you find this blog post helpful and I’d love to hear what your favorite part is. Also, don't hesitate to pass the information on to your friends who might find it useful. 

Step 1: Start with Quality, Expertise, and Service.

Quality should be the #1 factor when making this decision. No matter how low the price, finding time to make this happen the first time is hard enough, let alone extra time for a re-do if you are unhappy with the results.

How do you know if the photographer you’re interested in creates high quality art? 

One of the best ways a photographer can demonstrate quality is to have a strong portfolio of beautiful imagery. Some will say that a photographers portfolio should be consistent in color, tone, exposure and overall look across the board. While the subjects should be in flattering light and natural poses with perfect focus and exposure, most importantly, the photos should make you feel something. The images you are viewing should create a connection between you and the subjects, personally. You may find yourself smiling, laughing, tearing up, or even talking to yourself with ah's, ooo's, so cutes, you know what i'm talking about! Having a cohesive look across the board only means that you and/or your family might be photographed just like everyone else.  

Are these the types images you want framed on your walls and in albums to enjoy for years to come? 

While trendy styles and insta-famous looks may seem great and exactly what you want to share online, a high level of expertise should be shown by the photographer through their work. Being able to consistently provide only the highest of quality portraits despite different conditions, families, and faces, requires a true attention to detail and professional artistic ability.  

Consider your service needs. 

For creatives like photographers “business” comes in all shapes and sizes. 

Do you prefer a full office staff, set business hours, and a commercial location similar to that of a mall portrait studio?
or

Do you prefer a more boutique experience?

Many of todays photographers are a one person show that work in an in-home studio, edit at home, and offer an experience that includes a pre-session consultation to plan the session and outcome with you. They provide the option for in-studio portraits or on-location, and a custom design session at their home studio or even in the comfort of your own home. Their spaces are filled with wall galleries, albums, and other sample products to allow you to get a feel for all types of products. 

With a full-service boutique photographer, you can call, text, email, and message your photographer and build a true relationship.  

Does that feel like an experience you appreciate?

or

Is it more important to visit a store front?

If you’re wondering what to expect if you choose me to photograph your family, I’d be happy to chat. Our studio is open Monday through Friday, 9-5. Don’t hesitate to give me a call or use our contact form.


Step 2: Style, Style, and Style

So, you are now considering the quality and expertise your photographer will be providing. Just as important is finding the desired style that works well for your family, home decor, and lasting imagery.  Take your time to consider exactly what you are looking for. Are you looking for Fine Art Studio Portraits, Studio Fashion, Formal, on-location with natural light, if so, where? Fields? Urban? Beach? Light and Airy? Sunset/Sunrise? Depending on your goals, you can even narrow down by mood. Now, with all of that being said, your photographer should be able to help you figure these out as well and will be happy to do so. 

It’s absolutely imperative to choose the photographer whose portfolio shows what your end goal is. Look at photographers’ websites, blogs, and social media pages. You will easily be able to see what direction that photographer takes and if they have their own style that they have mastered or if they are just following "today's" trends. 

Regardless, make sure to really take into consideration what you want the outcome to be for your completed artwork. DO NOT be swayed by “what’s popular” or like I said before "Insta-Famous" images. What's trendy today might not look so great for generational heirloom photography. in 5 years, the last thing you want is to look up at your walls and say "Remember when that filter was popular?"

As soon as you have narrowed down a couple of photographers who you feel can provide the quality, expertise, style and vision you're after, initiate a conversation to discuss your goals. You will want them to understand what you’re after. If you have made the right decision in your choices, the photographer will be able to tell you if this is something they can accomplish for you and will be excited to share their ideas of how!

 

Step 3: Display, Share, and Celebrate

Next, You need to ask yourself how you plan to display the artwork you have invested in. If all that you are after is some pro-ish pics to post on Facebook and Instagram, a “shoot & burn” photographer will be the way to go. These photographers provide you with a download of digital photos for you to share memories online or order prints from consumer sites like ‘Canvas on the Cheap’ for example.

However, if your investment in professional portraits means that you want to enjoy and share your memories long-term, in heirloom quality albums, framed fine-art prints, and museum quality canvases, you will want a full-service photographer. 

The goal of a full service photographer is for you to have art you'll fall in love with and enjoy every single day. This is art that will be passed on to your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Many families consider these heirlooms to be their most prized possessions and a part of a legacy left.

The most collectible Heirloom products today include:

Framed Wall Galleries

Enjoy art of your family every single day with custom designed printed galleries that tell your story while adding wall decor that instantly creates warmth and character to any room of your home. Having your full service photographer handle printing and framing means less stress and higher quality. The photographer of your choice should guide you through every step from choosing portraits that tell your story cohesively to designing and framing your wall galleries to meet your aesthetic needs. 

Gallery Wrapped Canvases

Museum quality canvases allow you to enjoy art on a large scale without the cost and the overall space of mats and frames. Your professionally color calibrated art is printed on canvas and then stretched around a custom-made wood frame. If you want a huge print or a few of them while saving space, Canvas is the way to go.

Heirloom Albums

Heirloom Albums are the perfect collectible to showcase ALL your images in one place and can be passed down through many generations to come. These are not the albums you pull out from 1984 where all the photos are on that sticky (not so sticky anymore) plastic sleeve like thing. An Heirloom album from your photographer will be comprised of professionally printed images on high quality photographic paper, custom bound, and hand finished for a fine art product that is designed specifically for your family. Some will even come with a display case to showcase as a work of art in itself. 

Folio Boxes

While the Folio box is typically an add-on when working with a full service photographer, this is a versatile and elegant way to cohesively display your images throughout your home. Place them on a bookshelf or pop the images in frames, even rotate them out. The possibilities are endless. These are normally available in small and large sizes, linen boxes hold a collection of 10 or more of your favorite matted images. 

Gift Prints 

Family Members will want to display images too! These are typically loose prints and offered in many sizes to pass out to the masses as gifts. Of course they can be framed, placed in cards, or you can get creative. A lot of times these can be ordered on demand as well. 

KLAE Photography specializes in creating beautiful heirloom prints and keepsakes for our clients. If you’d like more information about the products that I offer, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’d love to show you some samples and ideas!


Section 4:

Take this into deep consideration. When it comes to the professionals you choose to work with, do you tend to change frequently or stick with one trusted individual/company? There is certainly a plus side to developing a long-term relationship with your photographer.

1- Your photographer understands you, your style, your likes, and dislikes. Your kids and your significant other get to know them and are comfortable with them. You’ll alleviate those awkward moments in your photos, and every session will build more trust and lead to more natural images. Think about it this way, if you have a lawn/landscape team that makes your home look beautiful, you drive up everyday, have gatherings on the weekends, and are proud of the presentation. Will you look to replace them and hope for the same results or continue the relationship with the team that produces those results year after year? 

2- Keepsakes. Your photographer has a strong product line and you can count on the same quality or more every single year. They know how to lay out your holiday cards and how many you send, the perfect size and aesthetics of the albums you are collecting, and who you want to send gift prints too. You’ll never be guessing and neither will your photographer. You’ll always get exactly what you need.

3- Reliability. When hiring professionals we count on them. When you choose a portrait photographer for the long haul, you will always be prepared for the whole process; from shoot to delivery, you will be able to relax, enjoy the experience, and leave the rest to your trusted professional. 


Section 5: Monetary Memories 

Honestly, price should be the LAST thing you consider when choosing the photographer thats right for you or your family. I knowI hear you loud and clear!:

“Really? What if I narrow this down to expensive photographers that I can't afford?”

First and foremost, you have to define “afford.” Without a doubt custom fine art photography is an investment, but is also a luxury item. Everyone has different levels of disposable income that can be allocated to a photography session. When figuring out your budget, think back to step 3 and figure out exactly what your needs are. Just like anything else, understanding what you really need and really want, will help you figure out what your investment can be with a portrait photographer.

You may have a budget that will allow you to purchase ALL of the digital images from a "Shoot and Burn" Photographer or SOME heirloom prints of exactly what you need from a Full Service Photographer. The idea of quantity vs quality needs to be a big consideration during this decision making process. Plus, you're building a relationship, if additional orders need to be made later or a payment arrangement be put in place, i'm sure your full service photographer will have these options available to you.  

Every single photographer in the world is going through stages and I encourage all of them to continue their growth and follow their path to a rewarding career. Which is why without hesitation, I say that the old adage “you get what you pay for.” certainly doesn't skip the photography industry. More often than not, if you aren’t investing in an artist that has experience and offers the quality, expertise, style, and vision that you expect, then you will receive images that reflect that. With that being said, there are extremely talented photographers in every price point, meeting a vast range of budgets, and with the right research, patience, and maybe a referral, you can find one that meets all of your needs.

Photography is an investment, Make the most of it!

If you would like to learn more about scheduling a Portrait Session with me or if you have any other questions, I’d be happy to schedule a studio visit for you.

Thank you for reading!

Jeremy Klae