When it comes to getting pictures for the important moments in your life, it is important to select a photographer who knows how to set boundaries that keep you both clear well in advance. You don’t want to find out somewhere down the line that your assumptions are only your own and the photographer is on a different page. Mismanaged expectations and unclear guidelines can leave both parties upset and put a damper on the experience.
Setting Clear Guidelines
It is easy to imagine how a photographer might expect you to only have one change of clothing or visit one location, while you might think the options are unlimited within the time constraint of the shoot. Or, you might think one week is reasonable for editing and returning pictures, when, in reality, the turnaround time for many photographers is closer to 6-8 weeks.
Your photographer should be organized enough to know upfront what will be included in your package and how the process will play out.
- How long will the shoot last?
- When and where does it start/end?
- How many locations will you visit?
- Does the photographer choose the spots?
- How many outfit changes do you get?
- How many images will be edited?
- Will you or the photographer be bringing any props?
- When can you expect finished images to be returned to you?
Asking the Right Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer any questions you have about the session or details of your shoot. Make sure you are familiar with the photographer’s work and you want something in a similar style. Asking a photographer to copy another photographer’s work or style is often offensive and obnoxious. Instead, choose a photographer who offers the type of posing, shooting and editing that you want for your own images. Then, make sure the photographer is prepared to help you understand what you will get from the entire experience.
A Note to Photographers
Too many times, a photographer fails to completely explain to the client what he or she should expect in the session and resulting images. When you are being hired to do such an important job, emotions might get in the way. Working a wedding, for example, can be one of the most exhilarating and emotionally driven jobs you will face. By clearly considering guidelines and setting realistic expectations for the client, you will avoid the panic and frustration that might arise from assumptions. Remember, when you tell a client a timeframe the images will be returned, it is important to set the latest date you will have the images back and then try to beat that as much as possible. It is always better to underpromise and over-deliver to exceed any expectations your client has.