10 Tips to Choose the Best Family Photographer in Hilton Head – Part 4 | Lisa Staff

August 19, 2022

The Ten things you must know before choosing the perfect family photographer in Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Savannah. The continuing series.

The Ten things you must know before choosing the perfect family photographer in Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Savannah. The continuing series.

Queue the Backstreet Boys and sing it loud, “Oh my God, she’s back again!” Or something like that. So here I am. Back again to dispel wisdom, as little as I have, on the one (and only) topic that I know the most about. Photography. And today specifically on family photography and what you need to do as a client to prepare you and your family for the best experience possible and end up with incredible family portraits. Keep in mind this is just another in the series that I am creating. To see them all you can take a peek here. The importance of Google reviews here., There are just too many things to put in one post. Keep in mind that although it may come across as a bit tongue and cheek, they are all valid and useful points that come from years and years of me capturing family portraits here in Hilton Head, Bluffton, Beaufort, and Savannah.

And also keeping in mind, we are in the age and dispensation of time, that everyone can take a photograph. But here is the difference. Can they take a good family portrait? One that will be a timeless image passed down to posterity? Now that’s a different question.

If you missed the last blog that discussed the differences, both the positives and negatives, to help you make the decision between studio or location photography, you can read it all here. And the follow-up blog on the Best Time to Shoot Your Family Portrait is here. And another in the series that covers Google reviews, Instagram reels, and why a dancing pointing photographer isn’t always your best bet. You can find that information download right here.

So let’s get started and answer some of the most common questions that I get asked as a family and portrait photographer in Hilton Head, Bluffton, and Savannah.

Do your “R and D”… or at least pretend you did!

Do your “R and D”… or at least pretend you did!

Look at their work before you book. Wow! That almost rhymes.

What’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever run into? Hmmmm…. Or maybe it was just humbling instead. Read on and see.

Decide what is really important to you and your family for this family portrait. Is it a family tradition? Is it important to you to document your family on a yearly basis? Is this going to be your family Christmas card and important?

I’m mentioning this because, honestly, not everyone really cares about the quality. Some people just want a quick snap of their family and that is good enough. If that is the case, then no shame. Do what you do.

I say this because I had a client call me not too long ago and ask if I could run down to the beach and snap a “quick pic” of their family. I explained that really wasn’t what I do and asked if he ( sorry guys but it was a man) had actually seen any of my work. He said that it wasn’t really important to him and he was probably going to ask someone riding by on their bikes on the beach just to take a photograph for him. Again, no shame. You just need to be aligned with what you want or need. There’s no point in spending money on something that you don’t value… as hard as it is for my little Hilton Head portrait photographer mindset/ego to understand.  You can check out the whole funny story right here.

What’s all this talk about contracts?


This is going to be my blurb on reading and knowing, either what is in your contract, or what to expect. Do you even need a contract? I would say most definitely if your family photographer asks you for a deposit or payment upfront. And additionally, if you want to make sure that your family photographer shows up at the agreed-upon day and time. No one wants to spend hours getting their family “photo ready” for that close-up only to find that no one shows up to capture that moment. 

Not all photographers are created equal. And here in Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah the large majority of our portrait photography comes from tourists visiting. Time and time again I will have someone say that “In Ohio, they do it this way”. 

So whether you are a local or a tourist it is important to have clarity on what to expect and what you are being delivered. Because what they do here or there might be a whole different portrait shoot somewhere else. So you have to talk about the nitty gritty. We have already covered the “background check”  so you are Gucci there. Let’s talk about biznezz.

Some questions that you should definitely ask!

Some questions you should make sure that you have clarity on may be…

  • Is there a contract?
  • Are there hidden costs? What does this price include?
  • How many images generally are captured in a portrait family session?
  • Are digitals or prints included in the quoted price?
  • Is there a minimum amount of images that I need to order? Sometimes you are quoted a price but along with that price you have to make a minimum print order
  • Is there a time limit as to when I can make my image selections? 
  • Will there be an online gallery and is there an expiration date on it?
  • Can I have digital files with a release to print?
  • Am I going to be allotted a certain amount of time for the shoot with the family photographer?
  • What if I’m running late?
  • What if it’s raining?
  • Who will be shooting the family portrait because I want the photographer whose work I fell in love with to be my family photographer? I’m not interested in a part-time teenage student that you are paying $30 to come out and capture my family. Not kidding. That’s a thing. I’ll just stop that person on the beach instead like mentioned above that is riding by on a bike then.

Ask and ye shall receive. Knowledge is power and all of that.

So what now?

I know that’s a lot of information, so I’m going to give you a break to digest all of that super heady photographer education. Well, in reality, I’m at my word count for the night and going to break this out into another blog so that you are left with this cliff hanger and will have to wait for the next big release date for the upcoming blog. 

Hilton Head family beach photography, Lisa Staff Photography

Find out more here!

What’s upcoming in the next family photography blogs? Glad you asked. We are going to cover

  • What and who is actually the OG
  • Payback isn’t a bitch
  • How to embarrass your kids because it’s finally time to turn the tables.
  • Understanding pricing and comparing apples to apples and not apples to grapes
  • Priorities
  • Let’s get vibing and how to vibe
  • Ooooohhh! So you have a Pinterest board
  • Pretty as a picture

All this and more in the next upcoming blog from Lisa Staff Photography where you will find all of the trivia and information that you need to make your family photoshoot a success. Not just here in the Lowcountry. But it sure doesn’t hurt to know these things in Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Beaufort, Savannah or the Lowcountry in general. Lisa Staff Photography is the mother company of Will You Marry Me Hilton Head. and co-host of Photography House an all-inclusive, turn-key
photography & business accelerator retreat.

And if you have any other questions reach out to me. And watch for some of my other blogs and the last one that talks about how to make the choice between studio and location for your family portraits. I’ll give you more tips on choosing the right family photographer.

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