A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the process of booking a photographer but in terms of a wedding photographer.
This week, let’s talk about the process of booking a portrait photographer.
Now, I’m sure most of you are thinking, what’s the difference? You find a photographer, you pay the photographer, and then you move on.
Although the process of finding a photographer is similar, there are slightly different steps a photographer goes through with you to make sure your portrait session runs smoothly, fun and full of information to exceed your expectations.
Here is the process of booking me as your portrait photographer:
Every booking starts with the contact form found on my Contact page on my website. This form allows me the photographer to gain some knowledge about how and what are the best ways to serve you right out of the gate.
Email, Email, Email
Ninety-nine percent of the times, a short series of emails is exchanged to get your session started. (Don’t worry, it is your photographer’s job to make sure it’s not strenuous.)
As your photographer, I send out an email saying thank you (mostly out of excitement that you’re interested in working with me to begin with! And will probably bust out my two-step happy dance, if I’m being honest.) It’s at this point that I typically send out a few recommended locations based on your responses in the contact form along with some resources about wardrobe options and basically what to expect from me in the whole planning of the portrait session process ( I never leave my people hanging. #trust).
Contract & Payment
Just like a wedding requires a wedding photography contract, a portrait session requires a portrait session contract.
In signing any portrait session agreements with me, in order to book a session, an invoice is sent directly to you via email ($75 non-refundable retainer fee is due to book) and a link to sign a contract to officially book a date and time.
Remember that each photographer’s protocols with this section can vary by lightyears, so make sure you know this information ahead of time.
The contract will also state the date and time you have selected on a calendar with predetermined availability. Essentially, what this means is I would send you a link where you can choose an open slot of time for your session.
Within the email exchanges, you’ll be sent a Pinterest board (homegirl LOVES Pinterest) with tons of different wardrobe options to give you ideas, inspire you and your loved ones (if you’re taking photos with your partner or family).
Let’s take a moment of silence for the days of twinning with your best friend while taking photos at the mall studio where you would get 100 - 2.5”x3” photos to give out to everyone at school. Or the days your mom made you and your siblings dress up the same for your annual Sears portraits. Trust me when I say, as a once department store portrait studio photographer, we did not find the same joy in the matchy-matchy outfits.
So as your portrait photographer, I will never encourage you to twin with your entire family for your photos. Haha.
Remember this rule of thumb, COLOR SCHEME over MATCHING outfits. Always.
Now, this portion can go either one of two ways:
You have a special place in mind because it means something to you.
I help you choose a place based on aesthetic, theme, time-frame, experience, etc.
Most of the time, these portrait session locations are local to where we are locally since they are usually a portrait session’s duration is not as long as, say, a wedding day.
However, if you have a special place in mind because, for example, you always wanted a coffee shop session with your partner since you met outside of a coffee shop, or the beach means so much to you because it reminds you of all the fun times you had as a child.
And sometimes, choosing a location doesn’t have to mean anything. It could just mean that you love the scenery or the aesthetic the location brings and you would like to have your photos taken there. As your photographer, it is up to me to walk you through the logistics of selecting a location for your session, just in case locations are not feasible based on the time of the day or permits.
(Side note, don’t let permits scare you. Just know that some locations require a photography permit because the location is either a private property, or it’s in a park that has restrictions. In this case, we could talk about it and go from there.)
Once everything else is set, usually the day before a text message and email is sent to you as a last minute confirmation/excitement message for your session.
I hope this post clarified any presumptions of what it looks like to book a portrait photographer. And if you’re thinking about booking and still have questions about the process, drop your questions in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.