So you're ready to hire a photographer!
When hiring a photographer, whether for your family photos, maternity photos, or newborn photos, it's essential to ask the right questions to ensure the photographer is the right fit for your needs and preferences. There are many wonderful photographers to choose from but you want to make sure you get the best results for your needs every time! Here are some questions to consider asking your photographer before hiring her for your next photo session.
Packages and Pricing Questions
- What are your photography packages, and what do they include?
- Are there any additional costs I should be aware of, such as travel fees?
- Do you offer any discounts for multiple sessions or referrals?
- Do you offer payment plans?
- When are payments due?
- Can I print the photos myself or do you offer prints?
- How much does it cost to order prints or products from you?
Availability and Scheduling Questions
- What are the steps required to book a session?
- Do you require a deposit or retainer?
- Do you have a contract? - This one is important! If your photographer doesn't use contracts, this can be a red flag. Contracts protect both you and the photographer and outline exactly what you can expect of your photographer including cost, turnaround time, and any important dates or deadlines.
- Do you need your session on a specific date or do you need a specific time? Ask your photographer if she is available for that date/time. Some photographers only work on the weekends and some only work on the weekdays. Some photographers only offer golden hour sessions and some offer sessions at any time.
- How far in advance do I need to book a session with you?
- What is your policy for rescheduling or canceling a photo session due to unforeseen circumstances? Are there any fees involved?
- What is your backup plan in the case of inclement weather, unforeseen circumstances, or equipment failure on the day of the session?
Portfolio and Style Questions
- Can you show me examples of your work? Specifically examples from family, child, maternity, or newborn photography? (Or the type of session you want to schedule.) - If your photographer is only showing inspiration photos she found online on her social media posts and doesn't have any of her own to show, this can be a red flag. It is also illegal to use someone else's photos to advertise. It's always a good idea to ask to see the photographer's work so you know what to expect from your session!
- How would you describe your style?
- Do you offer outfit styling advice or provide a client closet?
- Do you recommend any specific colors to wear or to avoid?
Editing and Delivery Questions
- How long does it typically take to receive the edited photos?
- Do you provide a sneak peek?
- What is your editing process?
- Do you offer head swaps, sunburn removal, skin smoothing, etc.? Are those edits complementary or cost extra?
- Can I request specific edits or additional retouching on a photo?
- How much does additional retouching cost?
- How will I receive the final images? (digital files, prints, albums, etc.)
Experience and Expertise Questions
- How long have you been a photographer?
- How long have you been photographing professionally?
- How many sessions of this type have you done?
- Do you have experience working with children and newborns?
- Are you familiar with any special considerations or safety precautions necessary for types of sessions including newborns, pregnancy, ect.?
- Do you carry insurance? - This one is especially important! No professional should be working without insurance.
- Do you hold all the necessary permits and licenses required by your state?
- What education or courses have you taken relating to photography?
- Do you have any special tips or tricks to deal with difficult children?
- Do you work with children or adults who have special needs?
References and Reviews Questions
- Can you provide references from previous clients?
- Do you have online reviews or testimonials I can read? - It's also important to note where reviews and testimonials are available. Is the only place you can read reviews on the photographer's website where they control the content? Or do they also have public reviews, like on Google, Yelp, or Facebook? If your photographer doesn't allow reviews on public platforms, it could be a red flag. It's one thing if they just don't have any public reviews yet, it's another if the review feature is unavailable or turned off and it may be worth asking why.
- Do you have any negative reviews? if so, how did you respond or resolve the issue?
- What happens if I'm unhappy with my photos or experience?
Not every question will be important to you or apply to your situation or session but hopefully these example questions help you to choose the right photographer for your needs! The answers to these questions can help differentiate between a seasoned professional and a new photographer or hobbyist just starting out. All photographers start out somewhere and just because someone is new doesn't mean they won't do a wonderful job but knowing where your photographer is in their journey can help you determine if they would be a good fit for your session! Whether your photographer is new or has been in business for many years, she should have no problem answering your questions so that you can feel comfortable and confident in your decision to hire her for your photo session.
Have something to add?
Do you have a question you like to ask that didn't appear on this list? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you and I'm happy to answer any of these questions or explain more about why a question might be important to ask your photographer before your session.
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