Oh sweet Georgia!!!! My oh my, your personality has grown in such sweet ways!
What should you expect from your photographer?
When choosing a photographer there are some things you want to think about and NOT skimp on. Here is a list of what you need to know and should be looking out for:
- Are they registered with theIRS and the state? You can do a business search HERE. Why is this so important? You want to make sure you are doing business with a legitimate business and paying appropriate taxes, both income and sales tax.
- Does your photographer have their occupational license? You have every right to ask. Why is this so important? In order for business to be established in a city or parish they have to be approved in order to do so.
- Is you photographer insured? Again you have the right to ask! Why is this so important? Just like any other business...things can happen! God forbid if someone were to get hurt or equipment gets damaged...those types of things are covered by an insurance policy.
- Do they require contracts? Why is this so important? Contracts cover you and the photographer. They protect the photographer from such things as copyright infringement and it also sets their rules for cancellations (loss of income) and out lines expectations for both parties. It also protects the client in having a legal document to hold the photographer accountable for the agreed upon services. And you should THOROUGHLY read the contract and know what is kosher for you and your photographer. If you don't understand something ASK! Questions will cause less confusion on the front end vs learning a hard lesson on the back end!
- A great pricing guide or welcome guide outlining what you should expect along the way. Why is this so important? You are hiring someones services and lets assume you've seen their work and that's why you are hiring said photographer. You want to know...what should I expect in terms of session time, turnaround time of images and delivery expectations as well as detailed pricing so you're not blind sighted on the back end.
- A consultation! Why is this so important? Lets say you want a family session and in the past you've booked a certain location and want to avoid that location this go around. And you have a child that is "spirited" and a husband that's less than thrilled to take pictures. These are all things that a photographer should know. So it's good to either speak to your photographer via phone or maybe they send you an online questionnaire. I personally like questionnaires prior to a phone call since I may ask some questions my clients didn't think about. This is also the time to share what you want from the session...lifestyle, posed, color choices etc. And it's also a good time to get to know your photographer!
- What Products do they carry? Why is this so important? Well you certainly don't want to book a photographer that only offers prints when you want some prints and digitals too. And maybe you were wanting an album or canvas but they only offer digitals.
- What is their turnaround time? For portrait sessions a clients gallery should be ready in 2-3 weeks. Let me stress PORTRAIT session...weddings take much longer at least 6 weeks! Why is this so important? Well first the time frame should be addressed in the contract. Secondly, you certainly don't want to be waiting on newborn picture while your baby is ready to schedule their next milestone pictures. Or say you are wanting to send out christmas cards and it's now mid December and you're still waiting!!!
- STYLE!!! Photography is an INVESTMENT and should be treated like one. You should choose your photographer based on style over budget. You can't expect one photographer to emulate another photographers style. That's the equivalent to plagiarism in the writing world. If the type of style you are interested in is out of your budget consider saving or asking if that photographer has a payment plan. Portraits are heirloom memories of your family so by all means book your dream photographer!
These are all things that I would want in a photographer! Clients do have rights to protect themselves as well as the photographer. Contracts are agreements between 2 parties. They're not something to be scared of but more so rejoiced that you both are protected in the event something crazy were to happen. Licensed and insured are huge too!!! You are the one that is trusting someone to handle your memories and more importantly your newborn babies!!! And make sure you have a clear understanding on who, what, when and where the session will take place and that you express your needs and are on the same page as your photographer in regards to expectations. ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS...if you don't ask you're hurting both yourself and your photographer!