Ask Katharine | How to Choose the Right Photographer

Lara and I had met over the winter when I photographed her for her senior portraits indoors at Navy Pier (cause it was during that one week where it actually got cold). I didn't see her during the semester with us both being busy graduating and all, but we managed to get together this week to have a coffee date and catch up before she goes off to college in Hawaii - I'm so happy for her and mildly jealous. As an aspiring model, Lara asked me some questions that she'd been curious about but unsure of how to get a better handle on - things like how do you choose a location for pictures, how to pick outfits for shoots, and most importantly, how to choose the right photographer to work with. 

Chicago elopement photographer behind the scenes with a couple on the North Side of the city

There's this whole atmosphere on Instagram of cool photographers that models would love to work with, but generally they come off as unapproachable and intimidating to strike up a conversation with. And being in front of a camera that you aren't in control of can be a super vulnerable and scary position to be in anyway, so having someone that you feel uncomfortable with is not going to help at all. When someone asks me what is the most important thing to look for in a photographer - whether that be a senior, a couple, a blogger or a model - I tell them the same thing time and time again; find a photographer that makes you feel like you're at home.

Find a photographer that makes you feel like you're an old friend that they haven't seen in awhile and you're just catching up. Find a photographer who's posts you love reading because their tone of voice aligns with yours, and you're excited to see what they have to say. Find a photographer who's awkward like you, who laughs at the same puns as you, who likes the same tv shows that you do. Because if you feel comfortable with that person on a face to face level? Getting in front of their camera will not only be a breeze, but you'll feel at ease during your meetings together, you'll enjoy being in front of their camera, and above all else you'll end up with beautiful photographs and an experience you won't forget.

Katharine Hannah

Katharine’s work has graced the walls of institutions such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Harold Washington Library of Chicago, and local galleries such as Dreambox Gallery, Siragus Gallery and Blick Art Materials. She has also been featured on websites such as the Huffington Post, Phlearn, Fstoppers, Tigress Magazine for Girls, Bitchtopia, and Golden Boy Press.

In addition to photography, Katharine has been a mentor and educator in the arts since 2013. She has worked with students in various organizations and projects over the last two years, including Hive Chicago’s PROjectUS initiative and Digital Youth Network’s Digital Diva’s and Chicago City of Learning programs.