October 1, 2021
Photography has become much more accessible than it has ever been before. Most moments are captured by taking a quick picture on your phone. However, these photos that lie in your camera roll are rarely good enough to hang on your walls or to perfectly capture and document those memorable and candid moments of your family.
We spoke with four experienced family photographers from across the United States and Canada. Together, we have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons why you should book a family photographer for your next shoot:
As a parent, it can often feel like your kids are growing up in the blink of an eye. From their first step to graduating high school, you want to hang onto every single moment. Hiring a professional family photographer allows you to document changes in your kids' lives and to look back on them fondly for years to come.
“Sometimes you don’t even realize how quickly things change and go by," says Calgary-based family photographer Haley Skof. "And if you invest in an annual yearly family photographer that knows you, and knows your family, and knows what you're about, then they can capture year-to-year how your family grows and changes.”
For Vancouver family photographer Julie Doro, “everything changed” when her best friend had her first baby.
“I ended up capturing her son's first years almost every day, and it made me realize how precious those pictures are and how many memories, emotions, [and] feelings they hold for the families,” she says. “Her boy is now a stunning young man, and we still have these [photos] of him as a baby to treasure.”
It’s okay to feel awkward in front of a camera — many people are. That’s why the composure, understanding, and experience of a pro will make the entire shoot relaxed for you and your family. A professional family photographer can capture everyone's unique personalities on camera while showcasing the relationship of your family. They will tell you what looks posed and guide you through each shoot so you look and feel natural and confident. Additionally, lighting, posing, location, props and style are just a few of the things that photographers live and breathe; their understanding around the craft and bringing all these together will help you get great family photographs.
“Being a photographer is maybe just a half of everything we need to be,” says Doro. “The photographer has to take the responsibility and lead the clients, not to be afraid to suggest a location, a change in pose, or composition.”
With so many great photographers out there, it can be hard to pick. Many people underestimate how valuable it is to make a connection with your photographer. This connection will help ease every session you and your family walk into. Knowing that your photographer understands you, is non-judgmental and will capture you and your family at your best will make you feel confident during every shoot.
“I feel like a lot of people book mini sessions because they feel like their kids can’t tolerate a full hour,” says Skof. “I think in doing that you’re missing out on the connection that your photographer can make with your kids. I think that connection ends up really showing in the photos that you get.”
“From the very beginning with my clients, I want to talk to them on the phone or via Zoom or FaceTime before our session begins, because I want to get to know them before that first time we meet at the park, and hear their story, and pick up on ways I can relate to them. I want them to feel like they’re with an old friend,” adds Wake Forest family photographer Jessica Woodall.
A common concern for not booking a family photographer is fear about your kids’ behaviour. However, a professional photographer will have hours of experience of photographing families with children and babies. They can turn chaotic sessions into a great time, which will be shown through the photographs.
In the opinion of Haley, “all kids are so different, and their interests are so different. I honestly really try to make it about the kid and think that if you can connect with each kid on their own interests that just makes such a difference. I realized that I can’t force my son to do anything no matter how much I bribe him; he’s gonna do what he wants to do and that just works with so many other kids as well.”
“More than half my life, essentially, I’ve been working with kids,” adds Victoria-based family photographer Brittany Barry (Burrow & Bloom). “You just have to find out how to tap in and build that rapport — and it’s different with every kid.”
What’s better than displaying your family photos throughout your house? Getting family photos done yearly will turn into a fond memory that you and your kids can look back on years from now. Each photograph is a piece of art. It not only captures a moment, but it allows you to relive and tell a story of a fond memory; it becomes a keepsake that you and your loved ones will cherish forever.
“I [tell my clients], ‘get [those photos] off your computer.’ Because your computer’s going to crash; you’re going to lose your USB stick,” says Woodall. “Get it printed; put it up on your wall. Let your kids see themselves on the wall. Put your wedding in the album. Pick it up a few years down the road to celebrate your anniversary, and have those same ooey-gooey feelings all over again. It’s just so important to have.”