The following is a list of questions to ask yourself (or the photographer) when making this sometimes daunting choice.
1. First and foremost, you should review that photographer's portfolio extensively for your type of session, whether it is maternity photos, newborn, family, sweet sixteen, or wedding portraits. Photographers post their portfolios on their web sites, on their facebook sites, and in print albums. If there is not a large selection for you to review, request the photographer send you more examples for your particular session type. Review the portfolio to see if you like the photographer's style.
2. What equipment and personnel does the photographer utilize? Does the photographer provide any props, use lighting, assistants, or have a studio? Depending on your portrait needs, the answers to these questions could be decision makers for you.
3. Read reviews. See what others are saying about the photographer's customer service. Reviews can be found on facebook pages, through Google searches, or on sites such as thumbtack.com
4. How does the photographer deliver images to you and in what time-frame? Does the photographer only offer prints, or do they offer digital images? Do they provide the images on a CD, USB storage, or online delivery? (Typically online delivery is the quickest way to receive your images). What is their time frame for delivering the final images to you?
5. Look for a photographer who is perhaps new to the profession but is not yet established in the market, with budget friendly pricing, whether it is because they are new or because the market is overly saturated with photographers. A competitive marketplace keeps prices down.