Maternity, Newborn, &
Family photography

Serving Columbia, SC &
the surrounding areas

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Take a look around to see past maternity, newborn, and family sessions, read tips for clients, and get little peek into my life as a mom and photographer!

5 Tips for Choosing the Best Family Photographer

Smiling family at Gibson Pond Park in Lexington SC captured by Nicole Watford Photography

Feeling overwhelmed trying to choose a family photographer? You’re not alone! Do a quick search or ask for a recommendation in a local Facebook group and you’ll probably end up with hundreds of results. So how do you sift through all of them to find one that will give you the beautiful photos you’re looking for AND an incredible experience?

Tips for clients about how to choose the best family photographer

Today, I’m sharing five questions you should ask when looking for a family photographer. By the end of this post, you’ll feel confident narrowing down the seemingly ~endless~ options to find a photographer who will serve you and your family well!

Let’s get started!

While you’re here, grab my stress-free style tips to help you plan for your next session!

1. What style of photography are you looking for?

One of the first things to consider when you’re looking for a family photographer is the style of work you’re drawn to. If you love bright, natural-looking photos that feel more candid (which is my signature style of family photography), you probably won’t be happy working with a photographer with a dark and moody style who does studio portrait setups!

When looking at different photographers, here are a few things to consider:

  • Editing style (bright and airy, dark and moody, etc.)
  • Shooting style (natural and candid, lifestyle, posed portraiture)
  • Location (studio, outdoors, in your home)

2. Is their work consistent?

Photography is an art form, and all photographers tweak and adapt their style over time. But if someone’s work seems to vary from session to session, that’s a pretty good sign they haven’t nailed their signature style yet. And that means you might not know what you’ll be getting from your session… which can set you up for disappointment!

As you consider different photographers, ask to see a few of their recent galleries (or check out recent work on their blog). Look for consistent lighting and color—within each session and from one session to the next—as well as photos that are clear and in focus.

3. What kind of photography do they specialize in?

Just because someone takes gorgeous wedding photos doesn’t mean they’ll be a great fit for you as your family photographer! Especially when you have young kids, it’s important to find someone who is used to working with families and has the patience, energy, and personality your little people will respond to!

As a photographer who works primarily with young families (as well as a mom with two young kids of my own), I know that little ones are… unpredictable. Even with the best preparation, it’s hard to get our kiddos to value a photo session the same way we do! And hey—that’s totally normal (and developmentally appropriate!). But if you’re working with a photographer who isn’t skilled at connecting with little ones and adapting to whatever they throw their way, it can create a stressful situation for everyone!

young boy smiling during tickle fight during family session at the USC Horseshoe in Columbia SC captured by Nicole Watford Photography

4. Are they focused on an excellent client experience?

As a busy mom, you have a LOT on your plate, and you don’t want planning for your photo session to be a source of stress! And 99.9% of the time, what makes a situation stressful is not knowing what to expect. There are lots of photographers who take beautiful photos, but what separates a good photographer from a GREAT photographer is their client experience!

When looking for a family photographer, you need more than someone who will just show up and take your photos. You need someone who has excellent communication (before, during, and after your session), will help you prepare and make sure you know EXACTLY what to expect, and who you trust will take care of the details behind the scenes so you don’t have to worry about them.

Here are a few things to look for when considering different photographers:

  • How responsive are they to your initial inquiry?
  • Do they communicate clearly and thoroughly?
  • Do you feel a connection with them and their personality?
  • How do they help you prepare for your session?
  • Do they offer a contract that outlines their policies and what you’ll be getting from your session?

5. What do others say about their experience?

Have you ever asked for a photographer recommendation on a local Facebook group, only to be bombarded with replies that all sound the same? This person is “the best” and their photos are “amazing” or “beautiful”? To me, that doesn’t tell me much about what it’s *really* like to work with them!

When deciding on a photographer who will be the right fit for your family, check out their reviews on Google and Facebook, as well as client testimonials they share on their website. Look for specific feedback about what went well or what they loved about working with the photographer instead of generic things like “we loved our photos” and “they’re the best!”

So there you have it. The next time you’re looking for a family photographer, you’ve got 5 questions you can ask to help you find the BEST photographer for your family!

Need some tips to help get your kiddos ready for your upcoming photo session? I’ve got ya! Be sure to check out my post How to Prepare Kids for a Successful Family Photo Session!

Updated September 2022

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Hey, I’m Nicole!

Columbia, SC Newborn, Maternity, & Family Photographer

I’m a sentimental mom of two with a heart for helping moms like you have a stress-free photography experience. I’m here to help you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera and capture beautiful photos to tell the story of this season of life.

Serving Columbia, SC & the surrounding areas