Hi there!  I'm Caiti and I am a wedding & portrait photographer living in Prince George, Virginia.  I am a music loving, doughtnut eating, coffee drinking, mama of 2.  This is the place where you can come to see my latest work with my beautiful clients and learn more about me, my husband, and our sweet babies.  Take a look around and enjoy! 

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March 10, 2017

Choosing The Right Photographer | Advice | Caiti Garter Photography

I am going to start this post off just by saying that I am not writing this to say you should choose ME as your photographer because I may not be right for you! It’s a fact. And that is absolutely okay!! I know I am not the right fit for everyone, and everyone isn’t the perfect client for me. You need to find the right photographer for YOU and that is why I am writing this post.

I know people who could care less who takes their family pictures or photographs their wedding day. It just isn’t a big deal to them. Umm….they boggle my mind! I do not get it. If you are one of those people, maybe this post will help change your view. If you are NOT one of those people, then thank you very much for appreciating a beautiful, quality photo! You deserve those pretty canvases you probably have hanging in your home.

So how do you choose a photographer and why is it even that important to put actual thought in to it? Well we are going to talk about that very thing today. Here we go!

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Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

When I became a photographer, I did it because I wanted to capture the joyful, beautiful moments in people’s lives for them so that they could hold on to those memories forever! Those pictures could be something that they hang on their walls, put in their family albums, or pass down to their kids and grandkids so that everyone can remember. That is what you want from your pictures, too, right? Well, choosing the person to take those photos for you means thinking through a few things and doing a little research. Now, you may have someone very close to you that is a photographer and you love their work so – BAM – it is a no-brainer for you. However, some people don’t have that. OR maybe you like multiple photographers – GASP! Is that even allowed!?! Of course it is!! I have a lot of photographers that I love and I would absolutely use quite a few of them! So how do you decide who you should choose or what even to look for? Here are 4 things I think you should think about when searching for you photographer.

1. Style:
There are a lot of different photography styles out there. By that, I mean, what a photographer’s images look like, collectively. A photographer’s images could be:
– Bright & colorful
– Moody & contrasted
– Dark & Matte
– Light & Airy
– The list goes on!

One of these styles isn’t better than the other. There is no right choice here. You have to decide which style you like. Think of hanging the pictures on your wall and what you want them to look like. That will help you to figure out what you want. It is totally okay to like multiple styles! My pictures are more bright and colorful. I love those pops of color, and the sun coming through. However, I still love the darker, matte images that some of my photographer friends do! Just pick which style you like the best for your wedding or family photos!
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Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

2. Digital files vs. Prints:
Many photographers these days give you your album of pictures through an online gallery. This is what I do and many of my creative friends do, as well. You are given the link to your gallery and have the print release for them so that you can print them or share them as you wish. This does not give you rights to edit them in any way or anything like that. It is super convenient for you though, because your family can have access to the images as well (Grandma loves pictures, doesn’t she!?).

The alternative to this is a photographer offering you prints of your favorite images to purchase separately from your session. Usually, they will upload them to an online gallery so you can view your images and choose which ones to print & what size to print. You just do not have downloading rights. If this is not done online, then it is done through a meeting with your photographer.

Again, there is no right way of doing things, these are just your options. You decide which is right for you! Some people want those digital files so they can print as they wish, or use them to make photo books or anything else. You may want prints if you don’t want to have to worry with printing the photos yourself, or if you know you will actually never get around to it if it is left up to you! Bonus: Some photographers offer BOTH options!

Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photographyChoosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

3. Personality/Who They Are:
This one may seem strange to you, but just think about the time you spend with your photographer. If you are a bride, you are spending just as much, if not MORE time, with your photographer than your GROOM on your wedding day. Just think about that. This is the girl, or guy, that is with you from beginning to end. I firmly believe that you should get along with your photographer and like who they are as a person. You will be talking with them, laughing with them, and probably crying with them (that may just be me because, if you are one of my brides, then you know I get emotional!). You will also be very involved with them throughout the wedding planning process. Some of my meetings with my brides should probably only have to last like 30 minutes, and we end up hanging out for 1-2 hours! We just get to chatting about anything & everything and lose track of time. You don’t have to be BFF’s with your photographer but you should feel comfortable with them!

Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

The same goes if you are looking for a family photographer. This is someone you are bringing around your children. You want someone you like and trust because you are bringing them into your children’s lives or having them care for your infants/newborns. If a photographer brands themselves as being a family photographer, you can almost guarantee they will be good with kids, or at least you should hope so. I recommend looking for someone who frequently takes newborn or family photos if that is what you are wanting. That may seem obvious, but I know plenty of people who just think “Oh, they say they are a photographer so I will choose them” not knowing if someone specializes if that type of photography. Newborns, ESPECIALLY, are not something you just jump in to. You need someone who can work with them, as well as EDIT correctly for them (newborn skin can be yellowish from the jaundice, or even purple/blue from bruising).
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photographyChoosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

4. Price:
I don’t want to get crazy in to this because every one is different. Some people don’t mind paying more for beautiful, quality photos. I view professional photos as a luxury purchase. Anyone can take every day photos with their phones or whatever, but high quality, professionally edited photos should not be cheap. The saying, “you get what you paid for” is legit. With that being said, I know everyone has a budget. You need to search around for photographers before creating your budget though. If you don’t, you may underestimate what professional photos cost. Once you have an idea, then you can come up with your price range. This is especially true for weddings. But you need to remember — these photos last a lifetime!!! After the wedding is over, all you have left is your wonderful spouse and your photos! That is it. Think about that and make sure you don’t try to skimp on your photographer. You will NOT regret it! Trust me!

Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

There may be more things to think about or look for when you are choosing your photographer, but these are the four main point, in my opinion. Like I said before, multiple people may fit your needs and that is OKAY! I have clients who I know have pictures taken by my friends as well. This could be the case if you are a family photographer and someone else is offering mini sessions that you aren’t offering. Or if someone’s photographer is just crazy booked and doesn’t have openings but someone else is open, they may go to them for a session. I refer clients to other photographers all the time if I am booked or can’t meet their specific needs! (Photographers – this is why you need good relationships with other photographers and know about their specializations & prices!) If you can though, stick with your photographer, as long as you continually pleased with their work and your relationship with them. The more comfortable you get with each other, the better the sessions continue to get! (FYI – A lot of my frequent clients are also a part of my website and other marketing tools).

I hope this was helpful and that you enjoyed this post! If it was, leave me a comment below!! Let me know any questions you have or show some love for the photographer you love in your life (again – it doesn’t have to be me because I love all of my photog friends – #communityovercompetition!)
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photographyChoosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photographyChoosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography
Choosing A Photographer, How to, How to choose a photographer, family photography, wedding photography, photography advice, caiti garter photography

XOXO
Caiti

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