What Makes A Great Kids & Family Photographer?

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So what makes a great kids & family photographer?

…their first name is Shani, last name is Leead. Haha! ;p

Ok so you’re a mom, dad, aunt, grandma, friend and you want photos of the people you love so that you and your loved ones can cherish these moments forever. You decide that taking hundreds of pictures with your iPhone is great, but you really want to get some professional shots. Ones with YOU in them too! But you don’t want those staged shots in front of a backdrop with everything so prim and proper. You want to capture the realness. One day you want your kids to look at these photos and see that mom made you laugh till your stomach hurt. That she could move mountains with the love she has for you. That dad used to carry you on his shoulders and, yes, he could also run with you on his shoulders. All with that big goofy grin of his. And that these moments were just the beginning of a lifetime of love and happiness together.


So the search begins…

Here’s the thing, these days, everybody is a “photographer”. We can all point the camera, click the button, and voila, a photograph. If we’re lucky, this photograph will be wonderful and will capture those candid moments we’re after. But here’s the secret, professional photographers know how to make those candid moments happen. I know what you’re thinking, but you can’t make candid happen, that’s the whole point of candid…stick with me here.

You want to find the right professional to make your photos authentically yours! Authentic photography begins with an authentic photographer. This person cares about the connections they make with you and your family. They care about producing real smiles, real laughter. It takes work to quickly create bonds. You have to be a people person, with empathy and an ability to truly listen.

What to look for:

  • What kind of photos does this photographer post? Is their movement? Emotion? It is dynamic and alive, or stiff and uniform?

  • How are the photos edited? Look for extremes or inconsistencies in image quality. Are they too vibrant? Too dark? Too blurry (too much fake bokeh?) Is there no editing done at all? Maybe you’re not sure. One way to tell is to compare to photographs you have loved in the past. Most likely they are not totally flat and lifeless, right?

  • Most importantly: How do her photos make you feel? You don’t need to be a photographer or an artist to be moved by a photograph. If you look at their photos and you like what you see, then that means this photographer is the right one for you!


Meeting the photographer

Now that you’ve narrowed down your search to a few of your favorite photographers, it’s time to give them a call.

Questions to ask during this call:

  • Is your photographer asking you questions? Does she want to know what you want out of the shoot? Does she give you an opportunity to express yourself how you want? Is she open to your ideas?

  • Is she giving you all her pricing and information upfront? Does she have a model release to sign? If you don’t want your photos to be used (especially if you are sensitive to your kid’s photos being published), it’s important to communicate that with your photographer. More than likely she’ll ask you, but in case she doesn’t make sure you bring it up!

  • Will she allow you to see the photos as the shoot is going on? I always show my clients how they look on the back of my camera. Some people are curious, and some people are just plain picky. There’s nothing wrong with that! They’re paying for this shoot after all. Why not cater to them and make sure they’re totally happy with it while you’re there and can make adjustments? Once the shoot is over, it’s a lot harder to change.


After the shoot:

  • Did she take some time before the shoot to get to know your kids? Kids can’t fake it the way adults can. If they don’t like you, they won’t pretend otherwise. If they’re shy or need a little more time, give that to them. You want them to feel like this shoot is not about getting the photos. It’s about the experience.

  • Speaking of which, how was the experience? Were you stiff and stressed out? Did you feel like you can’t wait till this is over? If so, that’s not a good sign. Family photo sessions, maternity sessions, engagements…all these shoots they all center around one thing: LOVE. If love is being sucked out of the air by a stiff and businessy photographer, it might be time for a switch.


Family photo sessions are incredibly intimate. It’s important to recognize this and make your subjects feel comfortable. If the shoot is going well, everyone will be smiling and laughing throughout…Except for the babies and kiddos, we all know a little crying sesh can happen from the smallest things and can change to a giggle fest very quickly. After all, we are looking for photos that are authentic. Photos that represent us and the people we love. The most important parts of our lives can be captured by the right photographer. We’re just a click away!

Shani LeeadComment