Picking your photographer

I assume you found my page because you are living – or visiting – the Boston area and are looking for a photographer? Lucky for you, the Boston area has so many extraordinarily talented photographers around that you have options – and lots of them. Perhaps the options are overwhelming. How do you decide who to reach out to?

I, personally, feel that there are four primary things that you should look for in a photographer and there are several different ways to find out if they are right for you: style, budget, fine print, and personality.


When I say “style”, I am talking mainly about posing and editing. Each photographer has their own “style” of photography. When you are researching photographers, be sure to check out their recent work through websites and social media. Make sure their photographs are consistently in a style that you would want your photographs in. Consistency is important here: you want to make sure that your photograph can consistently deliver the style you expect in your photos.


Photographers generally fall into two primary posing categories: lifestyle (natural interaction, active prompts, capturing moments, few props, not all photos will have everyone looking) and posed (looking/smiling at the camera, use of props, detailed sets). Many photographer (myself included) try to capture a mixture of these two styles but – often – are stronger at one than the other. Make sure to think about what’s important to you and be sure that the photographer’s portfolio displays that s/he can capture these types of photographs.  


There are SO MANY different editing styles (bold, light and airy, dark and moody, desaturated, earth tones, vibrant, warm, cool, contrasty) and photographers are fiercely protective of “their style” so make sure you like the edits that you see in their recent work.

What you can expect from me: I consider myself a lifestyle photographer with a bold, true to life color editing style. If you were to come to me and ask for very posed photographs with a “light and airy” or “dark and moody” or “desaturated” edit, I wouldn’t necessarily know how to do that well. I do try hard to capture a few posed photos, with everyone smiling and looking at the camera in each session, but I really love the more active, natural prompts. I use few props and do not offer themed mini sessions with elaborate sets. Given lack of studio space, I consider myself an outdoor, natural light photographer but do have a mobile lighting setup that I can bring to client’s homes or spaces for indoor shoots.


I hate to talk money, but budget is always important to consider. There are fantastic photographers out there at various budget ranges. Before you do anything, define your budget – know how much you can spend on these services and keep that number in mind. As you begin researching photographers, make sure you understand their pricing structure and what you get for your money. There are a couple different pricing structures so it is important to understand what you get for your initial investment and what additional fees may arise.

Some photographers have an all-inclusive digital structure: you pay a fee and you get XX digital photos for that fee. There are a few different variations on this: maybe you can pay a certain amount per image after your delivered number to get additional images. Maybe there’s a few prints thrown in. Maybe you get to choose which photos you get, maybe the photographer does. Make sure you understand what exactly the process is and that you are comfortable with it.


Some photographers have a sitting fee, with digitals and/or prints sold entirely separately: you pay your fee, then you view your images, and then you pay a certain amount per image for either digitals and/or prints.

Obviously, you want to go with the cheapest photographer, everyone wants to save money, right?!? Well, yes. And no. Remember photographers can keep their fees low by keeping their expenses low. Again, there are very talented, wonderful low-cost photographers but higher cost photographers may be able to offer more in terms of: client closets, studio space, styling advice, photo retouching, support, etc. So, if these things are important to you, you may be looking at a higher budget.

What you can expect from me: I consider myself a mid-range photographer in terms of budget. Starting in 2023, my prices start at $375. With this, a certain number of photos are included and more can be purchased for an additional fee. Check out the investment page on my main website (www.catherinewexlerphotography.com) for package options and prices.

The Fine Print

At first, I felt odd about sending contracts out. But contracts are really meant to protect both the client and the photographer and is a document that very clearly outlines expectations, costs, etc. Read the contract and make sure you are OK with it!

Many photography contracts are fairly standard, and you can expect the following policies in place for non-commercial photography:

  • The photographer will retain the copyright to the photograph and grant you limited license for non-commercial use of the photograph
  • Retainers are nonrefundable: this protects the photograph in case of last-minute cancellation. Remember, this is many photographers’ primary source of income. If you book and then cancel last minute, you have wasted a slot that s/he could have filled and have taken some income from him/her. The retainer protects against that so that s/he’s not out her complete session fee in expected income in case of last minute change of heart. However, many will have reschedule policies in case of inclement weather or illness. Be sure you're comfortable with these.
  • Most photographers will put it in their contract that their photographs cannot be altered in any way.
  • Turnaround time – most photographers have a 4-8 week turnaround time for delivery of final images. If you have a deadline (e.g. it’s mid-December and you’re hoping to get holiday cards out), make sure your photographer will be able to deliver your final gallery before you need it!

Other clauses that some photographers put in/others do not:

  • Model release, allowing the photographer to use your photographs for his/her portfolio. This one is so important! If you are not comfortable with your photographer sharing your photos on social media, make sure there is a way to opt out of this!
  • Exclusivity: Especially for event photography, many photographers will have an exclusivity clause – they (and associates they hire directly, if deemed necessary) are the only photographer(s) allowed at the event. This ensures that they can capture the important moments of the event, without having to fight over the prime positioning with another, unassociated photographer.

What you can expect from me: My contract includes all the clauses mentioned above, except for the model release. While I love sharing sneak peaks on my sites and I always appreciate clients allowing me to share their images, I WILL NEVER share your images without your permission. Ultimately, these images are created for you, and I will always respect your wishes in terms of Internet privacy.


I put this one last, though it is just as important as the others. It’s so important that you click and feel comfortable with your photographer so that you look comfortable and happy in your photographs. Through this process of figuring out budget/services, style, and contract, you will probably get a sense of the photographer’s personality through emails, social media captions, About Me section of websites, etc. Make sure there are no red flags about personality that make you think you (or someone in your family) may not be able to work with them.