When it comes to photography, many people put a lot of effort into choosing a wedding photographer but not as much consideration into the photographer who will capture their family photos. But these images of your family are just as important and will be something for your children, grandchildren, and future generations to look back on. If you’re looking for a family photographer, take time to ask any potentials these five questions—and don’t shy away from voicing your concerns or clearly asking for what you want.

How many years of experience do you have?

While it’s great to help out a friend, if you’re looking for gorgeous wall decor to hang in your home, you don’t want to book a photographer who’s just starting out. Ask about their experience and look at some of their past work to determine if their images are consistent and their style would be a good fit for your family. You want a photographer who knows what they’re doing, has high-quality equipment, and can handle any type of lighting situation—or active kids.

Do you specialize in a specific type of photography?

If you’re looking for a certain kind of photography, make sure to choose a photographer whose style matches what you’re seeking. Some photographers do more posed photos, and some go for a more candid look, while others do both depending on the client. If you want something specific for your images, don’t be afraid to ask.

Do you have repeat clients?

The best photographers often capture multiple milestones for the same families, from engagements to weddings to newborns and beyond. If a photographer has the same clients coming back again and again, that’s a good sign that their work is strong and consistent—and that they’re easy to work with.

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What is your policy for canceling or rescheduling?

You never know what could happen to keep you from making it to your family photo session. Be sure to ask about your photographer’s cancelation policy and whether you would be able to reschedule your shoot, if necessary.

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Have you had any experience with _____________?

You may have unique concerns based on your family’s needs or challenges. Maybe you have a special needs child or a situation that may require some poses outside of the norm. While it helps to have a photographer who has some experience with concerns similar to yours, the most important thing is finding someone who will be understanding and compassionate and who will work with you and your family to get great photos.

When you’re looking for a photographer to capture the love your family shares, it’s important to choose someone who’s willing and able to help you create your vision for your family portraits. Be sure to check out as many of their galleries as you can and be open about what you want for your images.

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