10 Tips For Booking A Photographer

1. You Get What You Pay For 

We have all seen the specials on social media. Mini shoots for $45 including all images.

Glam sessions for $99 including 1 edited image and all the Raw files.
They look too good to be true when you’ve just been quoted a $500 session fee don’t they?

That’s because they are. You will most likely not be receiving images on par with the more expensive photographer from these types of deals.

Generally, these deals are from photographers just starting out or trying to build a client base. There is nothing wrong with these sessions, as long as you know what you are getting.

Take the time to look at the images on the photographers website and/or social media before booking to avoid buyers remorse.

2. Know What You’re Getting From The Start

Don’t be afraid to ask questions before you lay down your money.

Do you know how many images you will be receiving from the shoot?

How long from the shoot date until you receive these images?

Will they be edited or not?

How will the images be delivered to you? What format will they be in?

How long will the shoot take?

Always get your answers in the form of an email or letter so that you have a copy to refer back to.

3. Communication

If the communication between yourself and your photographer is not prompt and professional take note.

Can you trust a photographer that doesn’t reply to your questions and queries? With social media you can see when someone has read your messages. If there is no reply within 24 hours of seeing your correspondence, I would recommend being wary.

If this person is flaky now, how reliable will they be once you have paid them?

Make sure you communicate what you are and aren’t comfortable with for your shoot. If the style is a little risqué, such as boudoir, be sure to clearly state whether you are comfortable with implied nude, topless, fully nude or none of the above. Do not be afraid to stand by your choice. If you feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do, stand firm and if it continues leave.

You need to have a level of trust with your photographer and it starts with your very first communication.

4. Paperwork

You need to remember that while this may just be a bit of fun, you are dealing with a business and paying for a service.

You should be provided with a contract to sign before the shoot commences. This will lay out all the terms and conditions. What can you do with your images? Who owns the copyright? What can the photographer do with the images?

If you are shooting in a TFP (Time-For-Print) capacity, it is still important to have these things covered. Generally, in these instances you will be provided with a model release.

If you have not received any paperwork, ask for it.

5. Research

When booking a photographer always look at their body of work.
It is very important to love the style of images your photographer produces.

If you book solely based on price you may be sorely disappointed. This goes for whether you book the cheapest or most expensive photographer.
Do the images you see on their website/social media resonate with you? Are they the type of images you imagine for yourself or are you hoping for something different?

Don’t expect a photographer that produces dark gritty images to hand you something pink and fluffy at completion. It won’t happen. You are booking this person not because they have expensive equipment but because you like the art they produce.

6. References and Recommendations

Do your due diligence when booking someone you have not previously worked with. Ask for references from models that have worked with this photographer before.

Were they professional? Were they friendly? Did they deliver what was paid for? Would you work with them again? Is there anything I should know before working with this person?

You will see on social media that there is a review area on business pages. By all means read these, but don’t rely on them all to be true or from real clients. Contact local models, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, designers etc. Search social media for local and national groups for the creative industries already mentioned and ask to join or contact an admin.
Your health and safety is paramount, do not risk it by hoping for the best when all it takes is a little effort.

7. Support Person

You are usually free to bring a support person along to a shoot, though this must be organised with your photographer in advance, you should both be aware of everyone who will be attending the shoot.

If you are told not to bring someone this should raise a red flag.
While some photoshoots, such as boudoir, are of an intimate nature and you may be more comfortable doing this without an audience, there is no reason your support person couldn’t wait outside the shooting space for you if you wish.

Please bear in mind a few things when choosing your support person.
It is incredibly rude for them to be taking snap shots of what’s going on without prior permission from all involved.

They are not there to distract you or the team.

They are not there to offer their professional opinion on how to get the shot.

They are not there to intimidate the photographer or make it an uncomfortable environment for the team to work in.

Your support person is there to support you. You are responsible for their behavior. If they disrupt the shoot, instigate violence, damage or steal anything you will be held accountable.

8. Location

Always know where you will be shooting in advance.

If the location is outdoors, make sure there is a backup location in case of inclement weather.

Leave the address with someone before attending and an approximate schedule.

9. Raw Versus Edited

When booking a photographer and asking for all the Raw images do you know what you would be getting?

You would be getting images that can only be opened with the right software.

They are unretouched. They are uncorrected. They haven’t even been culled of closed eyes or sneezing images.

Most professional photographers will not give you the Raw images.
Asking a photographer for the Raw images to edit yourself is like asking a baker for a bag of ingredients to assemble yourself.

You are paying your photographer to give you a finished image that reflects their work. It should be of the same quality and finish you see on their website and social media.

Retouching can take anywhere from minutes to hours to days.
Don’t be offended when they refuse to give you Raw images. Photography is art and photographers are artists as well as business owners. They rely on their completed work to bring in more business and if they gave away images that are sub-par they would be out of work very quickly.

10. Do Your Homework & Be Prepared

Know what you are shooting and what poses work best for you and the style of shoot.

Practice in front of a mirror. Look in magazines and on Pinterest.

Know what outfits you need to bring with you and have them ready to go the night before.

Are you having hair and makeup done? Do you have any allergies to products that you need to let your hair and makeup artist know about?

Do have clean and tidy nails, chipped polish does not look good unless it’s what the shoot specifically calls for.

Do not fake tan before a shoot. If you are going to tan do so at least a week before hand, exfoliate and keep it natural. Fake tan can look very orange and streaky when photographed.

Wear comfortable nonrestrictive clothes to your shoot. Marks on your skin from too tight clothes and straps show up very plainly. Also wear something easy to remove without messing up your hair.

Eat something light before your shoot. Anything heavy can cause bloating. Also drink plenty of water. Photoshoots are hard work and can leave you tired, hungry and dehydrated if you aren’t careful. Sometimes they will be catered but always make sure you have something to eat and drink with you just in case.

Make sure your phone is fully charged.

Remember to have fun!

– Vicky Quenalt
VQ Photograhpy

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