From a consumer's point of view, choosing a photographer is not always an easy thing to do. The market in big cities is saturated with all types of photographers ranging from Portrait Specialist to Lifestyle Photographers and Studios and Natural Light options. All of these different options can seem overwhelming. However, with the onset of Social Media we have been given a great tool with Pinterest and Facebook to view multiple styles of photography to decide what style we prefer.
Often as a consumer the initial reaction we have when we purchase anything from food to housing and everything in between (photography included) is to look at price. If the price doesn't fit what we expect or want to pay we move on. However, I challenge you to stop and think about what these photos will mean to you and your family as your children grow and move on with their lives and the photos you have of them as children are what lingers on in your home. The reminder of what it was like to have a full nest. All those intimate special moments and memories. Then take a second look and remember what you're paying for. Of course the value of the service needs to be there, however, is that the most important thing you should center your decision on?
I would argue that the first thing you should decide upon is the Style. Will this photograph, this documented memory, match your vivid memories of your family. Will a portrait of your child with a forced smile bring back memories and put a smile on your face, or do you prefer a photograph of your family walking together in a park, is that the connection you're looking for?
I would then argue that the second thing, I as a consumer would look for in a photographer (whether it be a child photographer, pet photographer, a studio session, or a wedding photographer) would be reviews. Did they live up to their promises to others? Were they fairly easy to work with? Did they accommodate their clients? We all know that no one is perfect and that there are a lot of people nowadays that want instant gratification and that is definitely not a photography attribute as this is a form of art and takes time (edits, etc.) and not everyone is OK with waiting. However, this is the best view we have of a business prior to employing them to do a service for us.
Lastly, I look at value. With professional photography this is a complicated thing as every photographer charges differently and offers different things. When looking at value, go back to the photographer's work. When you look at the photographer's portfolio, does it speak to you? Do you feel that the price is worth the degree of skill? Have you considered everything that this professional is putting into the finished product you will receive from the initial phone call you have, time they will invest in follow up emails, scheduling, invoicing, session time, editing (skilled labor), placing orders for you, etc? Once you have taken all three of these steps and can look back feeling confident in your choice then I believe you have found your fit!
There are lots of hard to pass up deals out there today, but in 18 years when your child is out of the home or in a year when your wedding is over and you're looking back on these precious moments will the deal be worth what you hold in your hand or place on your wall?