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What Your Photographer Wants You to Know

I received a discount on my photo session in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

I am extremely blessed to know an amazing photographer, Christine Cuglietta with Belle la Via Photography. She has been photographing my family for years. I thought it would be great to ask her to share some Photography tips you should know before having a photo shoot.

What Your Photographer Wants You to Know

What Your Photographer Wants You to Know, by Christine Cuglietta
Quality photography is an investment in your family’s memories. When making the decision to hire a professional photographer don’t be fooled by low prices and offers of print credits. Make sure you review their work and you don’t just like what you see, you need to love it. There are lots of trends and fads in the world of photography so it’s important to make sure you will love the photos for years to come and not just while the fad is popular. Here are some of the things as a photographer I wish my clients knew to ensure the correct expectations were set and they ended up with an enjoyable session and beautiful photographs.


Some of brother’s and my photos from Belle La Via Photography

The miracle of Photoshop
Glad you asked, yes, I do know Photoshop.  No, I will not be able to swap out your body with your current celebrity obsession or change your hair color or remove the grass stains on your child’s shirt in every photo. Photoshop is a wonderful tool and can be used to adjust and fix issues, however, if you want the NYC model experience be prepared to pay NYC model prices. Editing takes hours and hours to turn out a cover model worthy image. If you want that kind of editing there will be extra charges and a longer wait for your disk.  And what you probably don’t realize is that you’re already beautiful & that your children love you for who you are. Not to mention that your family and children want to remember you and not Sandra Bullard.  So just embrace the now and enjoy your memories wrinkles, 5 pounds extra and all.

Cost per print does not equal cost to hire me.
Why does it cost 250$ for an hour of my time to photography your family? Good question and the one we get most often. The answer is somewhat simple – you are paying for a lot more than an hour of my time. You get location scouting, session planning, lighting research, travel and set up time, posing, editing, uploading and sharing on social media and blogs, disk creation and shipping. Not to mention you are paying an artist to create a work of art for your family to treasure not your cousin to snap a quick candid on their phone. And yes my friends you can get a print at Walgreens for $.12 but the amount that a photographer charges isn’t actually related to the cost of your prints. What our clients pay us for is the hours and hours of hard work behind each image you want to print. And 99% of photographers aren’t priced to be making the big bucks – we’re priced to afford preschool for our kids and to put food on our family’s table.

One man’s trash is another man’s potpourri
Photography is a form of art no different than a commissioned painting, we just use a different type of brush.  Each photographer has their own style and if you don’t like what you see on their web site chances are that photographer is not a good fit for your family. So don’t hire a photographer with the intent of asking them to reproduce someone else’s work. We came prepared to give you our all while using all our skills and creativity to create a vision tailored for your family. Please, however, don’t expect us to come prepared to copy our competition.

Please don’t call on Thursday for a shoot on Saturday
There are certain times of the year that book quickly and are high demand. Please don’t expect that you can call in November for a family photo session to be shot, edited and ready for Christmas cards. Plan ahead and book early especially if your family is hard to get together. It pays to send emails and ask in advance for when you can book because often we will give you the details of when openings will be offered and then you do not need to stalk blogs and websites.

“Can I have all the reject photos too?”
Simple answer is no you can’t. There’s a reason why those photos didn’t make it on to your disk. Usually it’s because there was a better photo taken or because they’re duplicates of what was taken already taken. Due to the time involved in the editing process we won’t be spending hours editing photos where someone blinked or is not looking. Trust your photographer when they say that you don’t want those photos because the ones we provide you will be the cream of the crop.

Kids will be kids, so let them be kids
It’s ok that your two year old is not looking at the camera in each photo. Some of the best photos of your kids are when you capture their personality and that is not what is showing when he is sitting straight backed in a chair with his hands on his knees & smiling ear to ear. It’s when he is playing, reading a book, climbing on a chair or holding a toy. Let them just have fun and you will love the result.

Trust me I’m the professional
We have hundreds if not thousands of attempts at posing and groupings that will work for the location, your clothing style and the feel of the photo. Trust us when we ask you to sit a certain way and hold a certain pose. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to edit a photo and having the perfect lighting, beautiful location, flattering clothes and an awkward arm placement or head tilt because you thought it would look better. Trust our vision and you will be thrilled with the photos on your walls for years to come.

Belle la Via Photography is located in Arizona, and is quickly booking for 2014.  Mention A Mom’s Take for $50 off your session.  Contact [email protected] to book today!