Congratulations, you had a baby/are making a wedding/having a bar mitzvah/planning an event! The next step is finding all your vendors, and I am sure that when you sat in front of your computer to search for a photographer you were instantly overwhelmed. If you live in a large city like I do (New York and the Tristate area) then it becomes even more impossible to narrow things down. There are SO many photographers to chose from. I’ve got a few tips and tricks for you to make things less painful and put the joy back in the planning!
TIP #1 KNOW HOW TO SEARCH
So you head on over to google and type in some awesome key words to find an amazing photographer for your event. In my case it was ‘bar mitzvah photographer New York’. I press enter and cringe from the 701,00 results that I have to narrow down. I try to put in more specific keywords to narrow the results a little more, but the internet is not cooperating. This is when I realize a few thing that helped me weed through my choices.
To anyone that has experience with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you will know a few things about how your searches online. When you type in keywords into a search the choices that pop up are not necessarily the ones that best fit YOUR needs, they are often the companies and businesses that have invested (often paying) in putting them on the top of the lists. The top of the list isn’t always the BEST choices but the accounts that are most savvy. This can make decision making (especially if you’re looking for specific style) even more difficult. You have to dig deep in order to find what you’re looking for.
My advice: Head over to Instagram/Facebook and start searching. You can do the same sort of searches in these platforms, ask mom groups, and narrow the search a bit. Keep in mind that you still might run into the same predicament. It’s important to note that accounts that have a million followers are not more qualified or BETTER, but they are just more POPULAR. What is important to keep in mind is not how many followers these photographers have but rather if you like their STYLE and work. This brings me to the next tip.
TIP #2 KNOW WHAT STYLE YOU LIKE
Photographers are like artists that all have different styles. Some are create amazing portraits. Some are incredible landscape artists. Some have a documentary style (capturing a moment in time). Some use creative edits to composite fantasy environments. Some pose, some don’t and some do guided posing. Some use lots of color, while others edit with different tones. I think you get the idea. When heading over to mom groups be sure to ask about these types of styles. It is more helpful to know what you want so that others might direct you to the right place. If you just ask for ‘an amazing event photographer that’s cheap’ you will get a whole host of answers. Try asking for ‘an amazing photographer that does has ______ style and is within ____ price range’. The more specific you get the better the results.
For me, I knew. that I wanted a photographer that had the same sensibility that I did. I wanted a LIFESTYLE photographer. A lifestyle photographer creates moments of connection through verbal prompts (that are often games for your family to play) and uses gentle posing to create beautiful emotive images. I wanted someone that would capture the interaction and connection in our family, and the amazing joy that would come along with an event with our friends.
Now that I figured out WHAT I wanted, I needed to figure out how to find it!
TIP #3 KNOW WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHER YOU WANT
In addition to the style that you like you’ll need to know what TYPE of photographer you want. This one is a bit easier to pin down. I wanted a lifestyle photographer that ALSO did event photography. I wanted to have portraits taken with a lifestyle family photographer and then have them document the bar mitzvah in the same style. I had my keywords: lifestyle, family, event, photographer, New York. I asked around, did some instagram searching and voila, I FOUND IT!
As soon as I got on the phone with Lia from Lia Jay Photography (@liajayphoto on insta)I knew that I found the right fit. We spoke for a while on the phone and she told me what she was all about. When she said to me that she was ‘a lifestyle photographer that happens to do events’ I hired her. Her approach was exactly what I wanted.
TIP #4 DO YOU WANT THE PACKAGE?
So many search results sent me to loads of photographers that offered packages that included videography. While this may seem convenient to get an all in one service, it might not be what you can afford or are looking for. Make sure you read the fine print, ask about if you can omit unwanted services and get what you can pay for. It is noteworthy to say that I find that if you’re getting a photographer that is ALSO doing your video one of the two might suffer a bit. We all can’t be experts at two things all at the same time!
TIP #5 PERSONALITY IS IMPORTANT
My last tip may not seem important but it really is. I’m not talking about your personality, I’m talking about your photographers. Before booking give them a call, have a short chat and see if you click. This person will be documenting your special event and will be there along with the rest of your crazy family. Make sure they are someone that you want to be there, and won’t make it more stressful than it already is!
Congrats and enjoy your event!
Chana Grossman from Carrot Seed Photography is a lifestyle family photographer located in Oceanside, NY and services the Tristate area.