Ashlie Behm


10 Excellent Questions To Ask Your Potential Family Photographer

Mom and dad holding baby and looking at him and making him laugh.

Your kids are growing and changing each and every day. The year passes by so quickly and you know you want to remember them at this exact moment of life. Enter… Your favorite Portland Family Photographer. 😉 From those tiny fingers and toes, newborn fuzz, to the: crawling, standing, walking, full on belly laughs… I’m here to help you remember it all with beautiful, timeless family photographs that you will cherish for years and years to come. And I know that choosing the right family photographer for you is important, so I’ve compiled a list of THE 10 must-ask questions for your potential family photographer.

 I am participating in a blog circle this month and am sharing a link to another amazing photographer in Hawaii! Be sure to check out her link at the end of this blog post.

1. How would you describe your signature style as a family photographer?

Your family photographer will likely have a distinct style that appeals to your aesthetic. Whether it’s timeless simplicity (like me!), classic elegance, in-home documentary, adventurous, artistic flair, light & airy, dark & moody, etc. Understanding your photographer’s style will help you envision your family photos and ensure they are exactly what you are looking for. 

Mom and dad holding baby and looking at him and making him laugh.

2. What types of photography do you specialize in?

Some portrait photographers offer a wide variety of session types. Prior to booking a portrait family photographer, make sure you find someone who photographs what you are looking for. You could even ask them which type of session is their favorite to get a feel for where their passion lies, as that will often lead to the most beautiful results. You want someone who is well versed at working with kids similar in age to yours and someone who is going to be excited to photograph your family. 

Personally, I love working with young and growing families. Maternity, Newborn, Baby and Family photography sessions are really the types of sessions that make my heart sing. This is why I specialize in these four areas of portrait photography. 

Two images. Left image of Dad holding 6 month old baby facing out and dad is looking down at baby. Baby is in sage green and dad is wearing a white button down. Right image is baby with mom. Mom is holding baby up facing her and we are seeing a profile of both subjects. Mom is wearing a green floral dress and baby is in sage green romper.

3. Will you help us figure out our outfits for our family photos?

Many photographers will offer styling assistance of some sort in the way of style guides, to planning tools, to offering a client wardrobe you can borrow from. Depending on your level of comfort styling your family, you will want to make sure you select a photographer who can best help you with this aspect of your photo session. Outfits can seriously make or break your photos, so make sure you have someone helping you figure out what the whole family will be wearing for your session. 

When you work with me, I offer very hands-on styling assistance. Prior to our session we will get on a pre-session planning call where we will discuss outfits for the entire family. I always put together some styling boards for these meetings and show you options from my client wardrobe that you can borrow from. 

Mom and dad are holding baby boy having him lying on his belly. Baby is in focus and the parents are a bit blurred behind him and they are smiling looking at the baby. Baby has his tongue sticking out and is looking at the family photographer.

4. Can I see examples of your family photography work?  

You should definitely look through your potential photographers portfolio to make sure that you like what you see in their images. Make sure you see some consistency in their work, so you can be sure that they will produce the same results for you at your family photography session. 

See some examples of my Portland Family Photography work here. 

Side by side images. Left image is of parents holding baby up in the air and everyone is smiling at each other. Right image is of dad holding baby facing out toward camera and they are both smiling at the camera. Family is dressed in sage green and white color palette.

5. Can you describe your approach to directing and posing/ photographing candid moments as a family photographer?

Your portrait photographer should be trained in how to pose people in a flattering way. We all want to look good on camera and there are definitely some small little adjustments that can be made to ensure that everyone looks their best. You want to make sure your photographer is knowledgeable about flattering angles and proper posing techniques. 

While you may love the candid look of portraits, let me tell you a little secret – SHHH. There is definitely some off-screen direction that happens to create those moments that look and feel candid. Whether you are looking for your more traditional portrait of everyone smiling and looking at the camera or you are looking for more candid feeling images – your photographer should be trained and well-versed in the style you are looking for. 

Mom holding baby boy facing out and looking down and smiling at him. Baby is smiling off camera.

6. What will you do to help me feel comfortable in front of the camera during our family photo session?

I get it, you’re probably not used to being in front of the camera and you feel a little awkward anytime it happens. Me too. But, every professional photographer should have a clear plan for helping clients feel at ease in front of the camera. If they don’t have a good answer to this question, that’s a definite red flag. 

Over here we tell lots of jokes, play games, have tickle fests and we talk about poop. Haha Poop always brings out lots of laughs and giggles!

6 month old baby boy dressed in sage green romper with buttons down the front and a little collar. He is sitting on a vintage crochet blanket surrounded by greenery and smiling at the family photographer.

7. How do we decide on location for our family portraits?  

Most photographers have their go-to locations for portraits and you can typically choose from a list. Your photographer should know the locations in your area that photograph best at the best times of day (Golden Hour – Sunrise or Sunset). While location is not quite as important as how a photographer interacts with and poses your family, you want to make sure that you like the look of their locations as well as the general feel and emotion that you see in their images. 

I love photographing families in locations with tall golden grasses, gorgeous wildflower fields, or stunning river and mountain backdrops. I have a list of pre-approved locations you can choose from for your session, which I send to you after you reserve your date for your session. 

Two images side by side. Left image is of parents holding baby in between them and they are all smiling and looking at the family photographer. Right image is mom holding baby up and kissing him on the cheek.

8. When do I need to reserve my date for my family portrait session? 

Every photographer will have a different answer to this question. For outdoor family portraits, I typically tell people to reach out at least 6 weeks prior to your desired session date to ensure availability. The sooner the better, especially in the fall, photographers typically book out really quickly so you want to make sure you get on their calendar ASAP. 

Dad is holding baby and mom is standing at baby's back. Baby is sticking tongue out towards camera. Family photo session at Mcmenamins edgefield.

9. What is the timeline for Post-Processing and Delivery?

Again, this will be a different answer for every photographer. But it should not take longer than 4 weeks for you to see some edited images from your session. 

For me, it takes me about three weeks to hand-edit all of the images from our session. Once I’m done editing your images, we’ll schedule an online reveal and ordering appointment where you’ll view your proofing gallery, select your favorite images and decide on heirloom artwork: albums and fine art framed prints. Once your order is placed; the digital images you purchase are delivered within 24 hours and heirloom artwork takes about about 6-8 weeks for production. Once your artwork is ready, I’ll personally deliver it all to your door. 

Mom is holding baby over shoulder and baby is smiling towards the camera.

10. Will you help us create artwork for our home with our images?

If you are looking for help with printing your images so you can enjoy them every day, make sure to ask your potential family photographer if they help with this aspect. Some photographers will just send you the digital images and leave you on your own to print everything. For some people, this means sadly they never end up printing their photographs. If you think you might need some extra help with this step, be sure to ask your photographer how they help with this. 

I work with the highest quality print labs in the industry to bring you the very best heirloom artwork so that you can always enjoy your images in your home. I will help you visualize what your prints will look like on your walls and I also help design beautiful albums from your session that help tell the story of your family’s memories. 

Family of three, mom, dad and baby boy age 6 months old at family photo session. They are dressed in sage green, white and khaki color palette.

Mom’s dress is available to borrow from my client wardrobe.

Baby’s outfit can be found here.

Conclusion about choosing a family photographer

Choosing a family photographer can feel like a daunting task when there are so many wonderful photographers to choose from. But, with this list of questions to go off of, you are well on your way to selecting the perfect photographer for you and your family. 

If you are in the Portland Metro Area and you like the work you see in my Portland Family Photographer portfolio. I would love to chat with you more and see if we’d be a good fit to work together. 

Remember to check out this blog post by Allison Bell, an amazing photographer in Oahu who is talking all about what to wear for beach pictures.

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Leave A Comment

  1. Such good questions to ask! I especially love the part about artwork!

    • Ashlie Behm says:

      Thank you! I think artwork is such an important part of the photography experience. I want all of my clients to walk away with a beautiful piece of artwork of their family after our session!

  2. This is such great info for those looking for a family session! I’m gushing over your work – so beautiful!

  3. Beautiful photos and great questions to think about!

  4. These are great questions to ask a family photographer. And how cute is this baby, and moms dress is to die for.

  5. Alison Bell says:

    This is a great list! Every quality photographer should be able to help with wardrobe and location!

  6. Tracy Miller says:

    Having someone to help with wardrobe selection and artwork design is priceless. So often people just get overwhelmed with all the possibilities and put off having family photos done, then regret it years later (it’s me, I’m that person!)

    Your images are stunning!

  7. I was captivated when you mentioned that your artwork can be personally delivered by your photographer. My friend wants to opt for family photography. I should advise her to go for it to relive the best memories.

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