1 . Know your Budget
The most important thing when booking a photographer is to know your budget. If you can't afford a photographer that you want to book with, please don't go asking for a discount. Asking for Discounts means that you don't value their work enough to save the money to book with them. What you can do is ask if they have any payment plans available.
Be sure to know how their business structure works before you book. Some Photographers are All Inclusive, Some do In Person Sales and some do a Session fee plus packages. There are so many different ways that photographers structure their businesses and it's important to know ahead of time so that you don't run into unexpected costs and sometimes heartache.
All Inclusive: What's in their packages is what you get and the price you see is the price you pay. You may have to pay an additional deposit which is usually taken off the session fee, but definitely ask first.
Session Fee + Packages: This means you have to essentially pay a larger deposit that is on top of their package fee. The wording of this one is very specific for a very good reason. Session fee means that even if you don't buy anything else, ex. Digital images, that the photographer still gets paid for their time during the photographing part of your session.
With this model it's up to the client to choose their additional package for digital images or prints.
In Person Sales: This model generally requires the client to pay a session fee for the photographic part of their session and then book a second session to review their edited images and purchase their images and print products. IPS costs are usually hidden until your second session (Viewing/Purchasing session). Most photographers will give you a general idea of how much their typical client spends in addition to their session fee.
2 .We are Constantly Evolving
Photographer's are constantly Evolving. My work from 2017 certainly doesn't look like my work now and that's a good thing, that means I'm improving as an artist. Photographers are constantly striving to be their best selves in their chosen genre. We want our clients/consumers to be happy and we want to be proud of the work that we do.
Depending on the Genre of Photography, the investment over time can be very little or astronomical. As a Newborn Photographer I am constantly investing in my art and my business which means buying new props to keep things fresh and new, buying new gear every so often and paying for professional services every month. Photographers also invest in education either online or in person.
I want to create the best images I possibly can with every session and I am constantly pushing myself to be the best that I can be.
Evolving also means that as a Photographer gains skill and their investment increases, their prices will also evolve over time. Your favourite photographer increasing their prices isn't a bad thing, it means that they have more experience now than they did before. It means that their work is more valuable now than it was before. It means that their business is successful and that people want to book with them, they're busier now than they were before.
3 . Know What You're Looking For
The vast majority of Photographers don't typically shoot every Genre there is of Photography. When booking a Photographer, really look at their portfolio not just the price to determine if they're a good fit for your needs. When Photographers choose to specialize in 1 Particular Genre of Photography that means that they're dedicated to learning everything they can about that genre and they strive to become experts.
For Example, Someone who Photographs Newborns spends their time learning about safety, posing, lighting, soothing techniques, wrapping and editing newborn skin. Over the course of their career they will have spent thousands of dollars on Newborn Specific Props and Gear.
Genres that also fit into this Category are: Maternity, Sitter and Family.
Someone Who Photographs Weddings may also photograph Families and Maternity but not necessarily. It's unlikely that you will find a photographer who Specializes in Weddings and also Newborns. It's important to choose a photographer that specializes in the genre that you're looking for to meet your needs.
Different Genres of Photography are (but not limited to):
Family & Children
Street Photography / Documentary
Pets & Animals
At the end of the day, Photographers are Artists, no matter what genre they photograph. It's up to them if they're comfortable photographing something outside of their genre.
4. Editing Takes Time
Before you book with a Photographer, it's good to know what their usual turn around time is for the Editing of your digital images. Some Photographers take 3 days, others take 4 weeks. It's always good to look at the photographer's FAQ section or ask them when inquiring so that you can set your expectations accordingly.
The busier a photographer is, generally the longer it will take to receive your digital images. Some photographers do fully edited proof galleries where you see the edited version before choosing and others ,like myself, prefer to show clients unedited galleries for choosing their images. There will more than likely be a different turn around time for either of these proof galleries depending on which style your photographer prefers.
Most photographers are also working independently, that means that there is no one else who can help them with editing because we all have very specific styles and processes. Quite a few photographers are also parents or are working a full time job on top of their photography work.
If you have waited the quoted amount of time by your photographer and you still haven't received anything, its definitely okay to ask to check on where things are in the editing process.
We know you're excited to see the images that you've paid for and we're excited to share them with you!. However, please don't message your photographer every day asking when they'll be ready. The amount of time they spend replying to emails takes away from the amount of time they have to edit.
Sometimes Life Circumstances will delay your images being ready, life is after all unpredictable. If a Photographer has had a death in the family or there is a sickness or any other reasonable life circumstance please have patience. However if a photographer has taken an unreasonable amount of time to get your images back to you, and they haven't responded to your messages, it may be time to take further action. An unreasonable time frame would be waiting months for digital images after their initial time quote.