Everybody has to Start Somewhere
The journey is different for every photographer. So you look at different portfolios and you realize, we all have different styles. Some differences as subtle, some are extreme. Some of us ended up specializing in family portraiture, weddings, newborn or even boudoir. Of course there are many more categories, however I am assuming that you are interested in having your or your family's photographs taken, so those categories are probably most important to you.
Everybody has to start somewhere, so as you scout for your photographer there are many things to consider.
First off, know that everybody who decided to extend their love for photography out to the public loves what they do and is proud of the product they are able to deliver to their clients. Whether or not someone is new to the business, does not mean at all that they are less experiences, skilled or knowledgeable. Many of us have studied and practiced the craft intently for many years, before starting a photography business. So why am I telling you this?
The answer is simple. You can have excellent photographs taken by someone who is new to the business aspect of photography and lucky for you, many of them offer discounted rates for the first few months or even year to get business going. So don't discard someone whose portfolio is smaller than others, as long as their style speaks to you. Which brings me to the next subject.
I already talked about every photographer having a different style. Some deliver photographs that look like the subjects were taken to a mysterious fantasy world for a couple of hours and left to explore the unknown. Others create photographs with subtle, dreamy tones and colors, or on the contrary photographs that are bold and colorful. Some prefer natural lighting while others are expert strobists who can create amazing lighting with their setup. Some are able to make skin look like porcelain and have beautiful butterflies surround the subject in post production while others are able to capture the rare, candid, non-posed moments the best.
There you have it, we all have our own style. So shop around and look for a photographer whose style suites your taste, otherwise you will be disappointed. Not because the photographer is bad. No by no means, but because you expected butterflies when that's just not what they do. Although it never hurts to ask, you are very likely to get butterflies from someone who loves adding butterflies. Ok, so I hope this whole butterfly talk made sense.
Once you have narrowed it down to just two or three photographers, see if they have time to sit down and have a cup of coffee with you or speak with you over the phone, to see if your personalities match. After all, you will be spending time together planning for the photo session, during and afterwards. Hiring a photographer you like and who you feel understands what you want, is important to both you and the photographer. Speak up and make sure they understand what it is you want so they can deliver for you!
In the end, if you liked your photographs, make sure to brag to everybody! Not only are photographs an investment to be proud of, but your photographer relies on referrals to grow they business.
Of course, ultimately I hope you allow me to show you what wonders I can do for you in preserving your memories of the now!