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Deciding where to have professional photos taken can be tricky. There are freelance photographers as well as portrait studios to consider. Deciding which is right for you all depends on what you want out of the shoot.
If you want head shots, printed photo packages or solid backgrounds then a portrait studio is the way to go. If you are looking for authentic scenery, natural poses or digital copies to print yourself then you may want to go with a freelance photographer.
Privately run freelance photography companies are generally more flexible and sometimes you can even snag a ‘friends and family’ discount. I would recommend asking around to see if anyone you know does photography as a side business or hobby. Professional photographers can charge up to several hundred dollars for a single shoot while those who do not rely on it for primary income may be just as talented but much more reasonably priced. Many have online portfolios that will give you a reference to the quality of their work.
It may take a little hunting to find the right photographer but it will be worth the effort. Most freelance photographers are happy to provide the customer with a digital copy of the images as well as legal rights to print the images. This means you will be able to print the photos as many times as you like. Instead of purchasing pricey prints from the photographer you can save big by keep your eye out for online photo printing deals!
Another benefit to this option is that you can usually have input on the location of the shoot. Unlike photography studios you can even have photos taken outside, which provides natural light and real setting as apposed to a backdrop. These settings can help to make your poses look more natural and a tad less staged.
Going to a studio can often be cheaper than using a freelance photographer, especially if you have coupons or snag packages from daily deal sites. If you want prints asap then this is the way to go. There is generally a sitting fee per person in addition to the cost of the photo package you select. Cheaper packages usually only come with prints of a few images, to get a package which includes a digital copy you may have to pay a good bit more.
Studios are a great place to get professional portraits or school photos. You are however limited to the backgrounds they have available. You can always bring in your own props to spice things up to give your photos a more personal feel. Keep in mind you will have to coordinate your clothing and props with the back drops the studio has available. It may be worth it to call ahead or stop by to see what you have to choose from.
Things to Consider
– Time length of session
– Location of photo shoot
– Number of images you will receive
– Number of clothing/scenery changes
– Digital copies vs printed packages
Reasonable Prices for Basic Shoot
Hobby Photographer: Free-$150/hr
Professional Photographer: $150-$300/hr
Studio Photography: $25-$50/hr
Do you have any other tips for saving on professional photos?
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