Tips on Choosing the Best Photographer for Your Family

Written by Lena Antaramian

It’s that time of the year – the time when people are thinking about holiday cards and updated family pictures – and many of them are searching for professionals to photograph their children and families.   With so many photographers in Ridgewood and other towns in Bergen County how do you find the right photographer for you?

While I am a Ridgewood family photographer myself,  (or maybe because of it!) I truly believe that capturing family images is very important and even though I take a ton of images of my girls, every year I hire another professional to photograph us as a family.  I think it is important for parents be in pictures with their kids – I do follow my own advice.

Below is a list I use to chose a professional photographer, I hope you find it useful in your search for a family photographer in Bergen County:

1. Style: Traditional vs. Lifestyle

Do you like traditional, posed, formal family portraits or are you looking for something more fun and candid?   Look through a photographer’s portfolio and blog to see images from recent sessions – are most of them traditional and posed?  Or do they seem lifestyle-like and natural?  What speaks more to you and what would you like for your family session?   This should be one of the main indicators of whether or not a photographer is right for you – if you love his style and images on the website, chances are you will be happy with your images if you choose to hire him or her.

2. On-location vs. Studio

What do you envision for your session?  Do you want studio portraits or do you prefer to have your session done at a specific location – e.g. your home, favorite park, etc.?   Talk to your prospective photographer to find out where he/she conducts his sessions – and think whether that is what you have in mind for your session.

3. Technical Proficiency

I believe that whomever you choose to capture your precious family memories should know what they are doing, know how to use their camera and photo editing software.   A LOT goes into taking and editing a picture and while you don’t not need to be concerned with everything that goes into producing a beautiful image, you should be able to tell a technically proficient image from one that is not.  Do the colors look correct and life-like?  Are images oversaturated and over contrasted or do they look washed out?  Are images sharp and the key elements appear in focus?  Is editing of images in the portfolio consistent?  Ask yourself these questions as you are looking through portfolios of family photographers.

4. Customer Service

For me customer service is very important in everything I do – for example, I go out of my way to go to a hair salon where I get treated like royalty vs. the one that is much closer to my home.  For this reason I think that customer service is very important when it comes to selecting your photographer because you will be working with this person for some time – from getting info about a session, to getting ready for the session, working together at your session and getting your images.  So how responsive is the photographer you are thinking about hiring?  Does he/she get back to you within a reasonable amount of time (say one business day) when you emailed your inquiry?  If he does not get back to you right away when you are inquiring about a session, most likely he won’t do that if you have questions regarding outfits, images, etc….

So if customer service is important to you, this should definitely be a consideration.

5. Customer Feedback

I read reviews on everything before I make a purchase – hotels, books, shoes, restaurants and you can bet that I definitely read reviews when consider hiring a photographer to do our family pictures.  A lot of photographers have reviews posted on their websites – so definitely check those out.  But I think what is even more important are reviews that are posted on external sites, such as Facebook, Google and Yelp.  When reading reviews also keep in mind how many reviews there are. I personally would lean towards hiring a photographer with 15 4 and a half stars reviews than one with 1 five stars reviews.

6. Product Offering

It is great that you are looking for a family photographer in Ridgewood or surrounding areas to capture your family memories but what are you planning to do with your pictures?  Do you want to get digital images from your session?  Are you interested in purchasing an album with images from your photo shoot?  Do you want to display wall art products, such as gallery wrapped canvases or framed prints, in your home?  If you have a specific product in mind, make sure that a photographer you are thinking about hiring actually offers that product!

7. Personality

This may not be important for everybody, but I prefer to deal with people I like – be it my dry-cleaner, dentist, a cashier at Whole Foods or a photographer.  So see if you ‘connect’ with your photographer – check out their blog or Facebook page to see what their personality is like.  Do you like similar things?   Do you have a similar sense of humor?  Chances are if you have something in common and like the photographer’s personality, you will have a great experience working with him/ her.

8. Connecting to the Images

And this is one of the most important things – do you LOVE images that this photographer produces and are they memorable?  Do they ‘speak’ to you, do they make you laugh or get teary-eyed and would you like to have similar images of YOUR family.

9. Specialty

While there are a lot of photographers that can photograph anything – from a wedding, to a maternity, newborn all the way to grown up kids and family sessions – other photographers have a specialty.  Some are GREAT at maternity and newborn, others like seniors and grown up kids, and others – like yours truly –  love and are known for their family photography.

This is my personal opinion but I would recommend you go with a photographer who specializes in what you are interested in.  So if you want to photograph just your baby, go with a baby photographer.  If you are interested in family images, go with a photographer who specializes in family photography.   And in the Ridgewood area that’s Live Love Laugh Photos.


And here is a list of questions that you may want to ask your ‘candidates’ – answers to them will help you get an idea of what to expect:

  1. How many images will you see from a session?
  2. How long does a session take?
  3. How many people does a session fee cover
  4. Is there a minimum purchase required for a session
  5. How much do people generally invest in their photography products
  6. Are products that you are interested in available for sale
  7. What is the turn-around time of the images – this is especially important if you want to get digital prints for holiday cards or holiday cards through your photographer

Hope you find this guide useful!   And if you are looking for a photographer in the Ridgewood area who specializes in family photography and is known for original, un-posed fun family images, definitely give Live Love Laugh Photos a try:)

Lena Antaramian is an award-winning family and children photographer, and owner of Live.Love.Laugh Photography in Ridgewood. To learn more about Lena and her business, click here. To find out about Live.Love.Laugh Photography’s FREE mini session, click here.  

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Author: Jennifer Hamlet

Jennifer is the curator for Ridgewood and would love any feedback or suggestions you may have.


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