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Finding The Ideal Portrait Photographer

Finding The Ideal Portrait Photographer

Looking for a portrait photographer? In a two-part series, Brittney Kwasney of Bright Photography gives Vancouver moms some tips when selecting and evaluating portrait photographers for you and your family. Here are some key considerations Brittney recommends to ensure you make the right decision:

1. How do I find a photographer?

You may intuitively want to kick-off your search for a photographer online with a search for, “Vancouver Portrait Photographers”, or the like. Pause.  The amount of city-based photographers can be overwhelming and your enthusiasm for nice, updated family photos may be abruptly squashed as you troll site after site. Also, the websites appearing at the top of your search results have no direct relationship to the quality of the photographs within. Instead, I recommend starting your search by asking friends about their experiences with local photographers.  After you have some references, then start visiting websites. You can also check out the list of Vancouver’s 50 Essential Portrait Photographers here on

2. Do you like the photographer’s work?

Once you have a photographer to investigate further, the next logical step is to decide whether you like the work in his or her portfolio.  Look for variety and creativity as good indictors of talent.  Do their subject’s poses and expressions look natural? Does the mood and lighting seem to fit? Most photographers these days have a website with an online gallery making it easy to browse through as many sites and you like.

3. Do you like the photographer? Are you confident in them?

Whether you’re having the photographer present at an all day event such as a wedding, or a short portrait session of your family, it’s very important that you feel at ease with the person behind the lens. The “mood” of the moment will be portrayed in your photos and your chemistry with the photographer is integral to that.

Ask yourself, “Will my kids respond well to this person?”  Trust your gut. Take the time to read their online bios and have a chat with them and make sure you’re on the same page. If a photographer is hesitant to meet you in person without a monetary commitment, be very wary.  Personally, I like to meet people in advance.  It allows me extra time to consider the right setting and strategy for their ideal photo-shoot.

4. What should you ask the prospective photographer?

Whether you use email, phone or a face-to-face meeting to communicate with the photographer, here are some questions that may be of value to ask:

  • Where could the shoot take place? Outside, in a studio, at your home? Consider the benefits of natural surroundings rather than an unfamiliar studio.  I am of the strong opinion that people are more at ease in a natural and familiar environment.  Unless you are a model, this probably doesn’t mean a studio! Additionally, I find that non-studio shoots lend well to a photo journalistic approach – bringing out the essence of your family.
  • What will the photo-shoot be like?  Consider duration, breaks, “what if” scenarios regarding weather or illness.
  • Is the photographer experienced in whatever you would like to create – with kids of your children’s ages for instance?

Brittney Kwasney is owner of Bright Photography. To find out more about Brittney, visit her site at or email her at brittney [at]

Photo © Brittney Kwasney.

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