March 22, 2018
I’ve had to turn down a number of clients this year. For any number of reasons, I haven’t been able to take on some jobs: schedule, pricing, personality sync, etc. That’s never stopped me from trying to be helpful though. Here are 4 questions I recommend to every client who can’t book with me.
Question 1: Ask to see an entire album. Wedding, Portrait, Brand, Family, Senior, Boudoir – it doesn’t matter what type of photography you’re looking for – ask the photographer for at least 1 entire album or gallery, front to back of a single session. Photographers take thousands of pictures a year and just like the saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then,” even a poor photographer can hit gold occasionally. You want to find someone who is consistently good or awesome. Don’t settle for lucky.
Question 2: Ask for the ugly stuff. This is especially important for weddings – ask your photographer for images from their nastiest, darkest, grossest lighting situations. If your reception is in a dimly lit barn with all dark wood, an event space that has black walls and ceilings, or an outdoor patio with string lights at night, then you’re going to cause any photographer to curse under their breath who isn’t a badass with flash. These environments are the most difficult thing for many photographers to photograph well. If you’re looking for nighttime or indoor portraits, it’s the same deal; just maybe not to the same extent.
Question 3: Check for insurance. Self-explanatory. If something breaks or someone gets injured – chances are you’ll be SOL if the photographer isn’t insured. Many wedding venues won’t even allow photographers who aren’t insured. Portrait photographers need to be insured as well – the same rules apply.
Question 4: Ask for the contract. Never – and I mean, NEVER hire a photographer (or any service professional, honestly) who doesn’t do a contract. Contracts protect both you and the photographer. It locks in expectations, sets all the rules, and spells out the deliverables. Most unhappy photographer-client relationships happen because the contract was poorly written or didn’t exist. Without a contract, neither party has protection if something goes wrong, and it allows room for misinterpretation of deliverables. Don’t run into a situation where you’re saying, “Well I thought you said [insert thing]. Why am I getting [insert totally different or way less version of thing]?”
Hopefully, a few of these were helpful and made you go, “huh, never even considered that.” I want my clients to be fully informed, and if they aren’t my client – then fully informed to make sound decisions. Regardless of who you end up hiring to be your photographer – me or someone else, I want everyone to get the images they want and have a great experience as well.
BONUS: One other thing I do if I can’t take a client is recommend other photographers. I’m lucky enough to have a network of wonderful friends who double as incredible photographers. I’m happy to suggest them if my style, prices, or schedule doesn’t match your needs.