5 Great Tips On How To Pick A great Portrait Photographer

Now you have decided that it is time to get a headshots and portraits session done of your family including the kids. You have eyed out an area of the house where you'd love some new wall art of your family to go, I can see it now, a large framed picture above the sofa, fire place etc!! But how do you choose the right family portrait photographer ?

There are so many photographers in your area with a diverse of styles and prices!

I can help you with this, I'm here to help! As a Hucknall, Nottingham Family and Children's photographer, who has been decorated with 86 portrait awards plus awarded the best family photography service East Midlands 2019 by the Midlands Enterprise Awards. I can safety say, I know what to look for in a great portraiture photographer in Nottingham and Derby. I'd love to share with you my 5 tips on considering who you should short list and book a consultation with.


If the photographer has a style you don't like, then no point asking them for a different style. Therefore, there’s no reason to continue. every headshot or portrait photographer will have their own style even if you are not sure what that style is called. You need to look through their portrait portfolio to see if it is consistent throughout, or do they offer a variety of different styles. Pick a style: It is important to consider the type of photography style that the photographer provides. Here are a few different styles to consider;

Documentary: these are candid or spontaneous pictures. This style tends to be photojournalistic, you'll very rarely see people staring at the camera—the photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story. These photos also tend to have very minimal editing. This style is great to capture raw emotions. Typically this style is great for outside family walks around a local beauty spot with a photographer to capture it as it happens,(often from a distance so they are not interacting with the natural moments)

Studio Portraiture And Headshots: The classic and traditional portraits. If you like posed newborn photos, make sure you are choosing someone who shoots those specific types of newborn photos, vs. in-home lifestyle photos. Even within studio portraiture, there is a lot of room for creativity. Not all portrait photographers can take newborn photos, and not all new born photographers can deal with toddlers and older kids, as they are very specialised styles. You will also need to explore if you have to get everyone together to go to a set studio or does this photographer come to you with a mobile studio? Is the quality of work from a mobile photographer just as good as a set studio that you visit. A very simple answer to this is, YES! a good mobile photographer like myself has worked in both large purpose built studios and mobile studios and thus is experienced to control lighting to create the same looks for portraits. What are the differences, Mobile photographers may not be able to bring lots of props to use, but that is pretty much it from my own experience.

Fine art: This is my preferred style, with fine art portraiture, the photographers creativity is just as important as controlling the lighting. Though it's similar to documentary photography, this style gives the photographer greater artistic license to input their particular point of view and style into your photographs, this does not mean that the photographer will not spend time with you discussing your hopes for your portraits . Fine art photography is generally more stylised with a signature look. This could be adding digital backgrounds into the photos in post production, having a theme such as a movie star, period style such as 60's, Edwardian eras and more.


This may sound obvious, but I see it all the time. You may get a family picking a landscape photographer to do their family photos. Here is a hint for you, landscapes don't move and people do. Landscape photographers are also use to natural lighting only so studio photography or fine-art photography outside using off camera flash equipment for the better images could be a struggle. Same goes to a music photographer to capture a portrait or wedding. completely different styles. Again this is why reviewing their portfolio is key, some of us photographers have shoot in all those types and maybe suitable for you, be warned, a photographer that covers all styles in a general photographer and not an expert in any. as the old saying goes, "master of none"


Start your research by reading any reviews in Google, Yell or social media pages. Have they got some testimonials in their website? What are the reviews like? Do they express happiness? This will give you an idea of the set of skills that the photographer has and what kind of work they have done. The wording and design of their website, will also give you a glimpse about the photographers personality

Does the photographers portfolio flow nicely and have consistent quality, even if they have a few different styles you want there to be consistency within their portfolio. They should have at least 20 to 30 quality portraits in their portfolio for you to look at, if those have not help you want to know more about booking them after looking at 30, its unlikely that 100 will do much more to your decisions.


Realistically this should be the last thing on your mind, but usually it's the first. If you want someone literally just to snap photos away - you can find that easily and cheap. But is that what you want? Good photography is not cheap.

Lets break this down, most portrait sessions take around 60 mins to shoot, the photographer will need to factor in time around this for travel or set up times. they need to factor in travel cost with travel time, insurance, wear and tear on equipment, Salary and pensions. Backing up your images to a cloud storage in case of a fire at their studio or home. Then there contracts and licencing conditions, maintenance for their backdrops and other equipment's. Editing time can be one to 2 days of work and time in the labs printing your work after. So if you'd be happy to work for £20 to £50 for about 3 to 5 days work then book that photographer. If however you value quality and good value for your money then you be looking at around £60+ for the shoot plus print orders on top. This does not mean you have to spend Thousands or even hundreds on your portraits, but that is down to who you choose and hat images you wish to select. I always give one 20x16 framed wall art print with all bookings, then if my clients wish to order further images then its down to them, I don't offer sales pressure. I pride myself with a relaxed fun experience from start to finish.


You don't want someone that just turns up, takes some photos and leaves, with no interaction you will not enjoy the session, kids maybe nervous and it will show in the images. Some kids and adults have epilepsy or other conditions that could mean using flash may be a bad move for them. If you're including your animals into the photos you need to check if they are ok with flash as well. This is all something you will tell if the photographer is right for you or not on your consultation, this does not need to be in person but over the phone, email, social media etc. its all about questions and answers to find out who you are as a client and who the photographers to you.

Personality: Check for recommendations. Are they good with children? Are they relaxed? Having your photographs taken in front of a stranger can be very daunting, you want someone to make it as relaxed and fun as possible! I am use to working with disabled or kids with learning difficulties, they may just need a little extra time and care before the shoot starts. This means talking to them like a person, finding out something they love and using it to earn their trust.


I hope this has helped you in any way, good luck with finding the perfect portrait photographer. Let's hope its me that you are considering :D