How do I choose a Charlotte family photographer?

You're in the market for a family photographer, you type into Google *your city* family photographer and you get a list of names pop up. Now what? There are so many photographers, this can be completely overwhelming! The top names don't necessarily mean they're the best, so you scroll on through and are inundated with even more names. Or, you saw a photographer a friend used on social media and really liked their photos, but don't feel like you fit the "mold" of that photographer's style. Or you found a photographer you love, but they cost more than you budgeted and another doesn't cost much money, so you question how good your photos will turn out. What do you do? How in the world do you choose the right family photographer for your family?

Family of four sits on their house steps smiling at Charlotte family photographer
Family of four sits on their house steps smiling at each other

What story do you want to tell?

Choosing the right family photographer for you all in this time of your life comes down to what story you want to tell.

Do you want to look styled / posed or laid back / stress-free? That would be my first question.

Styled and posed would be the standard (more traditional) of family photos. Absolutely nothing wrong with these photos, it is the "norm" and there are photographers who take amazing and beautiful portraits. And by posed, I include when photographer's say they give you "prompts" to help you react to each other to get a more "natural" reaction from you. I even do this from time to time in at-home photos.

Then if you're wanting to tell a story this year that breaks the traditional mold, you'll look for a photographer who tells the story of your family. This can be at home, or at your favorite park, or ice cream shop, but one that captures your family doing your magical ordinary.

a brother and sister smile at each other sitting by rice Krispy treats and sugar cookies
a family talks to each other at their kitchen island
a mom and dad smile at each other while leaning over kitchen counter and talking to their children

What editing style?

Editing style probably means nothing to you, but it's actually the thing that catches your eye. I think when it comes to family photography, there is this idea that we can do all of the different styles and storytelling, but a good majority of us have a niche and an editing style. I edit true to life color and at-home documentary (some may call this lifestyle), some edit light and airy, and some photographers are dark and moody. I've noticed a trend of where each year either "light & airy" or "dark & moody" are preferred over the other, stay away from trends and choose whatever style you want, choose one that speaks to you. Luckily, all of the different styles are exactly how they sound.

Light and airy is the whites and bright light. Less shadows and feature soft pastels and light colored clothing. Think big hats and flowy dresses in a field if you're wanting posed photos, or well lit houses during newborn photos.

Dark and moody is usually a little more dramatic. Think more shadows and rich & warm colors. Think big hats and flowy darker colored dresses on a mountain side, or sexy engagement photos in a boho living room.

True to life colors are exactly that, when the colors match closer to the actual scene. Think flowy colorful dress in a field of colorful flowers, or colorful children's clothes and spaghetti fun messes eating their first meal on camera.

None of these are better than the other, but you'll want to pay attention to the style that each photographer uses.

Family sits in their kitchen hallway during a photo session
French bull dog licks the bottom of a cabinet
a Mother and daughter, both with blonde hair, smile at each other over rice Krispy treats
mother and fathers legs standing in kitchen while dogs beg for treats

What story are you wanting to tell?

Make sure that the photographer you want is going to tell your story. Our stories change all the time, sometimes we feel perfectly put together and want to tell the story of traditional portraits. Sometimes we feel like we should keep up with Jone's and we have to show a perfect smiling photo like social media has told us to and struggle to make it happen. Sometimes we just wanna tell the story of who we are, that story could be a tired mom who just wants to be in the photo, whose partner takes some shitty photos of us, so we hire someone who can at least plan it out a little better so we look good in the photos where we are having fun with our children.

Take a look at the photographer's home page. This is where they shine and if you see yourself in those photos, feel comfortable with how those images look and want to be in those images, reach out to that photographer. Your family story doesn't only have to be told in the Autumn when it's expected to have the perfect holiday card, tell your story in your favorite season with your favorite people doing what you love to do. It is a vulnerable experience to be in front of the camera, you should enjoy it and finding the right family photographer for you will you help you enjoy the experience!

mother, daughter, and dog sit in big bay window that is brightly lit
family of four with two dogs sit in big bay window that is brightly lit in their Charlotte home
mother, son, and dog sit in big bay window that is brightly lit
kids lay on living room floor with family dogs
husband and wife embrace with eyes closed
young boy cuddles with stuffed animals on his bed
young girl smiles at camera while laying across her bed
Family cuddles on the couch and smiles at each other
Family of four in bright colored clothes smiles at Charlotte Family photographer for photo
Fun photo of four family members cuddling on their living room couch