How to Find the Best Family Photographer for You

If you google “Toronto family photographer” you’ll get more than 43,500,000 results! So how do you find the best Toronto family photographer? Since I’m a photographer, you might think I would say “choose me”. But truth be told, best is a relative term. What is the ideal for you might not the best for your friend or neighbour. Here are 5 things to think about before hiring a family photographer:

1) Style

You want to look for someone who has a cohesive style that appeals to your aesthetic. Photography is an art form and the way I view a scene (and edit the photographs) can be very different from other photographers. My style is bright and airy, with a natural, modern aesthetic. I try to produce images that are full of emotion, joy and connection. While my pictures may appear more candid, they aren’t completely documentary (e.g. I will guide and suggest poses and activities for my clients).

Other family photographers have a more moody, artsy style, whereas still others have a more classic approach with everyone smiling at the camera. Before booking a photographer, make sure you take a look at their portfolio (on their website, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) to make sure their style is what you’re looking for and ensure that this style is consistent across many images.

Toronto Best Family Photographer Girl Smiling with Father

2) Skill

I’ve included skill after style because they are closely interlinked (but not the same). You might adore someone’s style but you also want to make sure they have the skill and experience to produce this style during your shoot. The subject matter (e.g. newborns vs. teens), lighting conditions (e.g. is the shoot at sunset vs. full sun vs. another time of day), location (indoors vs. outdoors) all require different photographic skills. One way to assess if the photographer will be the right photographer for you is to look for images that they’ve taken under similar conditions to your shoot. So for example, if you’re having a birthday party at an indoor location lacking natural light - but the only pictures you see in someone’s portfolio are outdoors - ask them if they have experience photographing in a similar setting and to see sample images.

It can also be helpful to look at a gallery of images from a single session (such as this) vs. single images. You can often find these on a photographer’s blog. Remember, it’s much easier to produce one, amazing “instagram-worthy” photograph than for a photographer to produce a single gallery full of strong images.

Top family photographer toronto newborn and mom kissing toes

3) Professionalism

You’ll also wants to make sure that that the photographer is professional and someone you like! You’ll be in front of the camera (which is often a pretty awkward place to be), so you’ll want to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable. It can be hard to assess from email but check to see if they respond in a timely fashion and are friendly.

Referrals from friends and family can go a long way here or look for positive reviews on Google and Facebook.

Toronto's best family photographer natural candid black and white photograph

4) Location

You’ll want to have an idea where your want the shoot to take place: some photographers work out of a studio space, whereas others work on-location (e.g. in a local park or in your home). Many photographers who shoot outdoors have their favourite spots in Toronto, so check their portfolio to see if these locations appeal to you.

best family photographer Toronto outdoor picture of mom and baby

5) Price

Family photography is often an investment but pricing can vary greatly. Is more expensive better? Not always but like any product, price can be an indicator of quality.

There are many different pricing models so make sure you understand the total price before booking. Some photographers charge a session fee (which covers the photographer’s time and talent only) and charge a separate price for images or products. Others have one all-inclusive price. Still others (like me) charge one price for a set number of images and a higher price for additional images. There isn’t a right or wrong way of pricing; it’s just critical that you understand the price before booking so there aren’t any surprises after the shoot.

Mini session pricing also differs from regular family photography pricing. Mini sessions are often priced lower because these sessions are shorter and you receive fewer photos, but also because the photographer is able to book many sessions back-to-back (making it a more efficient use of their time).

family_Photography_Lifestyle_Best_Toronto (9 of 30).jpg

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about hiring the right photographer for you.

Best things to do in Prince Edward County with Kids

At the end of August we went away for a couple day with my extended family. We were looking for a place that was an easy drive from Toronto and had great activities to keep both the kids and adults entertained. Prince Edward County checked all the boxes and here are a couple of recommendations of the best things to there with kids!

Do

Our main reason for choosing Prince Edward County was the beaches and they didn't disappoint. There are a couple different options at Sandbanks Provincial Park but the Dunes Beach was our favourite. It has a shallow, calm area that was great for swimming with little kids and gorgeous high dunes that were a dream for kids to run up and down.  

After a day at the beach, we walked around the cute town of Picton to check out the shops, visited the local library for a break from the heat and enjoyed an ice cream at Slickers.  

And we also managed to sneak in a visit to a couple wineries. The two we visited were surprisingly kid friendly: Hinterland's patio opens up onto a nice field for the kids to run around and the Grange had a couple board games and decks of cards in a cozy corner. 

Eat

We looked for restaurants with great food and a great atmosphere, but also places that wouldn't mind the four (sometimes lively) little people we brought along. Thankfully the County is pretty laid back when it comes to that kind of thing. We had a tasty brunch at the gorgeous  Drake Devonshire, which has a kid's menu and rocky beach (perfect place for the kids to blow off steam after breakfast).  We also filled up on Mexican food at Chilango's on our way into Prince Edward County.

For lunch we picked up picnic baskets at the Agrarian Market, which the kids (and adults) happily devoured. 

Stay

We found our Instagram-worthy hotel on Instagram (surprise, surprise). The June Motel had rooms large enough for our families and included small kitchenettes. I'm not sure what my daughter loved more: the bunk beds in her grandparent's room or the smores  at the nightly bonfire. 

What to expect in an in-home newborn photography session?

Newborn photo shoots are some of my favorite pictures to take since I adore little babies and selfishly they allow me to spend time with newborns without having to add a third baby to my family’s crew!  In-home sessions (unlike studio portraits) are more documentary in style and allow me to capture a little slice of what your life is like during this special time. Although I admit it's a little bit of an idealized version of this time:) To help my clients prepare and feel confident about their session, here's the advice that I usually give:

Family & Newborn During this time, it’s not uncommon to feel like you're on cloud nine one minute and a complete disaster the next:) So instead of trying to capture total perfection, I focus on connection. My newborn photography style is fairly relaxed and organic, so I focus on “baby led” poses as opposed to highly posed positions. If there is an older sibling in the house, I’ll usually try to include them in shots first to ensure he/she doesn’t have to stay focused on the session for too long (toddler attention spans are short!).

Clothing: I suggest neutral colours, and softer tones like whites, creams and light grey often lend themselves to the light and airy feel of newborn photography. As with any photo shoot, my advice is to coordinate your family’s outfits, but avoid a matchy-matchy look. Here is a Pinterest board with some suggestions for clothing. 

Timing: I usually schedule newborn sessions in the morning when babies are usually less fussy. Newborn sessions can take time (usually about 2.5 hours), and I’ve found that patience is key during these sessions. I like to allow lots of time for feeding breaks, time for newborns to settle into a deeper sleep, etc.

Your Home: Once I get to your house, I’ll look around for areas with the best lighting: often I use the couch, master bedroom, and nursery. I know what it is like to have a newborn, so I tell clients not to stress about having their house super organized.

Here are some pictures from a  recent newborn shoot, where truth be told, they probably didn’t need any of this advice since they were so cool, calm and collected throughout the entire session. Contact me if you have any questions about a newborn photoshoot!

The Best Gift for a Grandma

Grandparents have a special bond with their grandchildren. After so many years (and hard work) spent raising their own children, they've earned the right to be called the "fun" grownups. They're the ones who'll let the kids have an extra treat or watch another cartoon. They're always up for a snuggle or silly game. Yet grandparents aren't often the focus of photographs, even though these pictures are so priceless. So when a client mentioned she wanted to give her mother-in-law a photography session for her birthday, my immediate thought was that it would be perfect gift.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from this recent extended family session:

Soon to be a family of 4

This adorable family wanted one more photoshoot before their family of 3 turned into a family of 4. I was so happy I got a chance to photograph them in this gorgeous outdoor location one sunny evening (at my favourite time, the hour before sunset!). See some of my favourites below.

Newborn Quinn

My latest newborn session was a special one. This adorable little boy is my fourth nephew under the age of 3! I can only imagine the craziness that will unfold in a couple years when there are so many little boys running around at family gatherings. 

I photographed Quinn when he was just 8 days old and he was pretty angelic during the session. His older brother happily took part in some pictures, but I'm pretty sure his favourite shot was the one where he got to hold his beloved guitar (future rock star?).