1. Make sure you get the digital negatives in your photo package:"It’s important to make sure you get one who will give you the “digital negatives” as part of the package. Too many photographers think that they deserve to be paid for the photo session and then paid again per print at an absurd rate, as if they own the copyright. Which they do, technically, unless you work with someone under a “Work for Hire” arrangement.
We hired someone last Xmas to do family photos and spent a huge amount of money to have them shoot, only to have them charge even more for us to access the photos and have them printed. Never again." - PSP Dad
2. Read the contract carefully, especially to avoid other expensive pitfalls. Check for things like their deposit policy, cancellation policy, and how soon they will deliver photos to you.
3. Make sure your photography is a legitimate business with liability insurance and business licenses.
4. For infant and baby shoots, make sure your photographer is experienced and has had safety training: "Make sure your photographer has knowledge of safety practices in newborn and baby photography. Ask your photographer what training they have in this subject, and make sure they’ve had some in-person mentoring. If you have certain poses in mind that you’re not sure about, ask the photographer how they will achieve it. Many images are created by compositing two images together — this prevents the need for baby to support all his weight on small bones and hang in the air in swings, hammocks, or other props. Your photographer should also be always looking to make sure your baby isn’t too hot or cold, has good circulation (limbs and lips are pink), and doesn’t have fuzz caught on fingers and toes." - City Mom
5. BOTTOM LINE: Don't expect professional-looking photos at amateur prices. And just because someone has fancy equipment doesn't mean they know about lighting, composition, ISO speeds and aperture. Also know that taking photos is only one step in a professional photographers' job; cropping, editing for color correction, and, in some cases) photoshopping take a lot of time and effort. When it comes to photographers, you pay for what you get. If it seems like a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
Further resources from PSP:
Other photography articles from PSP: