the journal




fresh 48



Ok, let’s start from square one. I am guessing most of you reading this already have an somewhat of appreciation for the art of family photography, but in case not…


Is it worth it?

If you want the short answer, YES! (of course this is a photographer’s opinion..)

Photographs are an important yearly tradition for a lot of families. Some families carry it throughout your kids’ entire childhood. These photographs become part of your family’s history. They fill your walls and pages of your photo albums. These photographs become some of your most prized possessions. So let’s talk through the question, “How do I choose a family photographer?”

When you are choosing a family photographer, keep in mind that this could be someone you work with for 15+ years. Obviously you can always “break up” or move on (and some clients don’t mind switching around). On the flip side, it is amazing to have a go-to person that turns into a friend. And there is certainly something to be said about how much more at ease your children are with someone they are more familiar with. Hopefully they even look forward to this every year! Let’s talk all about ideas on how to choose a family photographer..


  1. Look at the photographer’s website
  2. Check out Google reviews
  3. Get a feel for their portfolio
  4. Ask a friend
  5. Contact the photographer directly!

Look at the photographer’s website and compare to other local photographers with the following questions in mind:

  • What’s the overall messaging? Does it vibe with you and your family?
  • Do they offer all of the session types that you are interested in now or maybe even down the road? A lot of family photographers offer sessions that include maternity, newborn, fresh 48/hospital, but some photographers don’t. Do they offer mini sessions?
  • Do they shoot mostly indoors or outdoors? (or both)
  • Are they a posed/studio photographer and/or on-location? (some will be both)
  • Do they have a lot of images with kids the age of yours?
  • Do they take mostly images of everyone smiling at the camera or do they look more candid/interactive? What do you like about the photographs?
  • Do you like the locations they shoot at? Some photographers gravitate towards sidewalk paths in city parks and others like a good ol’ adventure.
  • How much do their sessions cost? If you love their work, you could also consider if they offer mini sessions.

Check out Google Reviews: look at how many reviews they have, the overall rating, and maybe even more important: what are the common threads between the reviews? For example, if you are a laid-back family and you want a low stress, fun session, make sure to see if the photographer’s clients mention something along those lines. If you are looking to hire a newborn photographer, are there reviews specifically about how the photographer handles babies or helps gives directions, etc.

Get a good feel for their work/portfolio: a professional photographer should have a beautiful portfolio to show off not only on social media, but also a website. Checking out Instagram Portfolios are a beautiful way to see a quick snapshot. You could even look here first. However somewhere along the process, you want to get an idea of how the photographer delivers on a consistent basis looking into their full portfolio (not just the homepage). You want to see full beautiful galleries for each and every session. You may want to see that they have variety (that way each year your pics look different!). If it’s hard to tell what a full gallery may look like for your family, you can always ask the photographer to see a full gallery (like this one!). When you look over their work you may even write down some words that come to mind.

Ask a friend: this is one of the most popular “tried and true” methods of how to choose a family photographer. I think this one works really well if you keep in mind if your friend/person referring has similar taste as you. Just as everyone designs their home a little different, you may have a different eye or artistic style. And keep in mind that what makes each family unique and different may also lend itself to different photographers (i.e. children’s personalities etc). Most of the time, it’s great to have someone’s opinion that you know and trust.

Contact the photographer directly: this a great final-ish step to help narrow down the best fit for you and your family. Reach out to photographers via their contact forms, or reach out via social media. The photographer may be willing to have a phone call or Zoom call so you can ask any other questions and also get a better feel for them as a person. You can also pay attention to their communication including how fast they respond and if their response seems personalized. Here are some questions you can ask the photographer to learn more.

Questions to Ask a Photographer (to help your decision):

  • {How} Do you help us prepare for our session?
  • How would you describe your approach and style?
  • What is the general flow for __ session (i.e. family, newborn)
  • Do we get to choose the images after the session? How many do we get to choose from?
  • Do you have a professional store for products? Do we get the full rights to our images?
  • For newborn sessions, do you feel comfortable handling our baby?

I hope that these suggestions on how to choose a family photographer in Iowa City were helpful. Just keep in mind that there is a photographer out there for you-it’s just a matter of finding them! Happy searching!

Oh yeah and I happen to be a photographer, so if you are interested in booking a session, please feel free to reach out!


How Do I Choose a Family Photographer? 5 steps to find the best fit for your family