How much control should you give your photographer?

So – you’ve stumbled across a photographer’s work on social media, Pinterest, or a friend’s Facebook post.

You love the pictures, you connect with their point of view, and you want all that good stuff for yourself.

You wonder what this will cost, and gosh – it was more than you expected. But you really want pictures like that for yourself, so you figure out a way to make it work.

Now here’s the tricky part – how much control should you give the photographer? They are the artist, but you are trusting them with your hard-earned money.

There are three things to consider when working with a photographer:

#1 The vision

Before picking a photographer, you have probably spent a good chunk of time looking at their imagery. You have a good sense of what their pictures are about – that’s why you are determined to work with them in the first place.

In my case, the pictures reflect real life and genuine connections between family members – moments in time that families want to be able to travel back to again and again.

A family hanging out in their living room

#2 The method

You might be wondering how you will get the type of pictures that you have in mind. Rest assured, the photographer has a process for how they are able to create the type of pictures that you have seen in their portfolio.

Trust the process.

Ever since I found my passion in the documentary approach to family photography, I’ve been struggling with how to explain what I do to families that haven’t heard of it before.

A lot of parents are curious about how I make sure that they get happy images, how I make sure that the light is perfect, or how I make sure that the pictures appear natural.

Well – I don’t.

I make my best photographs when families are comfortable enough to go about their day normally, and I have the freedom to take pictures of what is interesting to me. That’s when the magic happens.

#3 The end result

While the resulting pictures may not be exactly like pictures you’ve seen the photographer create in the past, what you get is unique art that has grown out of the collaboration and trust between you and the artist.

No documentary or newborn of family session is the same, which means that I can never guarantee a specific picture from a session. But the pictures always tell the story of that day for that family, with unique twists mixed with familiar routines that are important to that particular family.

Art that can never again be replicated for another family, because every family is different.

Final thoughts

I would argue that the more money you invest in photography, the more you should surrender control to the artist.

Trust them to make the best possible art for you.

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Documentary newborn and family photographer serving San francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas