So you've decided you need some professional photos taken, eh? THAT'S AWESOME!
Not only are you getting some fantastic images, but you are sparking the creativity of an artist! We salute you! No really, you are supporting a small business owner and won't be disappointed!
If you are like most, you're not entirely sure what you should do to prepare for your glorious modeling debut or how you should be more involved than showing up and fake smiling for a few hours (you know who you are!) While your photographer knows what they're doing, everyone is different; everyone has different ideas, visions, and expectations from their Photographer and the images they provide, therefore here are some ways you can help your Photographer grasp YOUR specific photography goals, as well as making sure your experience with your Photographer is all you hope it to be.
1) Customize Your Shot List
Now this is geared more towards larger shoots, such as Weddings and Events, or Product Photography. Shot lists are important because, typically, there is a lot more involved with the shoots that require them. Weddings for example: every Wedding is different and everyone wants different moments captured by their Photographer. While Wedding Photographers are well seasoned in these kinds of moments, it's important to ensure nothing is missed or forgotten about. Whether it be special moments like a First Look, or a special dance, help your Photographer by setting your expectations. A shot list can also be useful in the case of Weddings, in the sense of organizing people. Weddings are chaotic and there are a lot of people to keep track of, so by customizing your shot list, your Photographer knows who is taking pictures with who, so no one is left out. Any sort of boost you can give your Photographer before hand is well worth it in the end.
For a shoot involving merchandise, equipment or marketing, a shot list can help your Photographer make sure they get all the pictures you need. For example, a Recording Studio we shot a few months back needed shots of their equipment, instruments and recording space for their new website. By providing a shot list, we were able to snap photos of everything they needed to showcase for their business and then some.
2) Provide Examples
Let's face it, we've all spent hours perusing Pinterest for ideas. This is a good thing! While your chosen Photographer may have a specific style, it never hurts to send them examples of a style you want. Not only does this help with a shot list (remember how handy that list is?!) but it also provides them with poses they may not have thought of or figured would match your selected style. Have fun with it! Find examples of images that match your personality. Let your photographer know that some humor, even nerdy-ness, is okay and desired! Make your shoot unique and catered to you and your vision; your photographer will thank you!
3) Put it in Writing- Sign a Contract
I know this one isn't very fun or appealing and may sound obvious, when all you want to do is have your picture taken but believe me when I say, it is essential. Depending on your requested shoot (portrait session vs. event,) you definitely want to be on the same page as far as details, pricing and payment structure. A professional Photographer should always have you sign some sort of contract or services agreement. If they don't, that's a major red flag and you should request one. It doesn't have to be anything crazy or elaborate, but this should be a summary of the services you are asking for, who is responsible for what, how much it will cost, and how/when you are to pay for it. It can also include information about cancellations, rescheduling and other important "What If" items to make sure you are all on the same page. Not only will this lay out everything you need to know about hiring your Photographer, but it will also save you from an unruly pro who seems to be lacking in their responsibilities. The hope is that it never comes to legal action but any kind of contract or details in writing is better than nothing, should the worst happen.
This is also beneficial for the Photographer. Too often, and yes it has happened to me many times, Pros will have a client who are... shall we say, difficult. I have had clients who don't read their contract and then end up upset because a payment is due and they weren't prepared; clients who are weeks past due with payments but want to add a bunch of stuff to their packages; clients who change their date/time or location without telling me yet expect me to accommodate them last minute and waive the rescheduling fee. I've seen it all and so to protect my business, my time, and the value I try to provide to my client, I put everything in a contract so there are no surprises, misunderstandings or room for error. It may take some of the fun away but it will save everyone a lot of worry and headaches and ensures a certain level of trust between you and your professional.
Every Photographer's goal is to provide excellent services to their clients and for your experience to be the best you could ever hope for! Placing your trust in us to take amazing photos, whatever the occasion, means the world to us. I for one strive to help you feel confident in not only my Photography skills, but me as a human being.
I look forward to working with my clients rather than for my clients, as I see it as a partnership; we work together to make a lasting positive experience and hopefully friendship, for years to come.
Thank you for reading! I hope this helps you when it comes to picking a Photographer and what to expect when you work with them. But, of course, I am always happy to answer any questions that pop up with 411 posts like this.
Until next time!