Questions to ask your portrait photographer is an important step in finding a photographer. This post was written to help those who are searching for a portrait photographer for their next session. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. It is just a starting point to see if your potential photographer will be a good fit for you.
15 Questions to ask your Portrait photographer
- How much does it cost?
Out of all the questions to ask your portrait photographer, This is probably the number one question that I get asked by every client I speak with. If you have a budget to stick to, make sure your photographer can accommodate and Look at the value you are getting for the price spent. What extra fees are charged? What limitations do I have in my session? These are some of the other questions to ask as they will relate to the value you get from your hired photographer. Learn More about the cost of senior portraits.
- How long have you been in business?
How long your photographer has been in business is very important. Experience goes a long way. You will want a photographer who knows the ins and outs of the technical side of photography. Aside from technical form, an experienced photographer will know how to run a business and offer a great amount of customer service. New photographers in the market tend to be green in these key areas. Be sure you choose an experienced professional.
- How Long is a typical portrait session?
Rushing through a portrait session is not fun. To get the best photos it is important to spend time finding the best light, best poses, and best spot for the specific outfit you are wearing. A typical portrait session should take 1-2 hours and sometimes more depending on your location and outfit changes.
- Am I allowed an outfit change?
Some photographers may charge more for each outfit change. Some may limit the amount of changes. If you would like to have some variety in your session make sure your photographer allows outfit changes without charging you more fro your session.
- Am I limited to a single location?
Some photographers will limit the amount of locations to photograph a session. If you are looking for a variety of settings for your photos you must ask this question. There may be limits to a single location, a studio or some will charge a travel fee if you want to go to different location.
- Are there any fees for the location I choose for my session?
Some locations require a permit to photograph commercially. Usually these permits are tied to a fee and passed on to the customer. If you plan on having a session at a specific location it is very important that you ask you photographer what their policy is on permit fees.
- How long after the session will I see my photos?
Make sure you ask you photographer how long it will take to receive photos and printed artwork. Some photographers can take days to deliver, some may take weeks or even months! Keep in mind, A photographer that takes months to deliver a set of photos may charge rush fees to get your photos to you quickly.
- Can we order prints, albums, digital photos from you?
Make sure your photographer offers several options for prints and other products. If you are looking for a specific way to display your photographs you want a photographer who will offer products fit your needs and style!
- Do you offer re-touching and do you charge for this service?
Many times photographers will offer this type of editing at an additional cost. Do check if you photographer will offer minor editing to your photos. Skin retouching, blemish removal, flyaway hair removal, and environmental modifications are common areas where some photographers will charge on a per photo basis. This can get costly and ties in to the first question about cost and value.
- Is my preferred month or season available?
You may be dreaming of a portrait session in the cooler weather of winter or you may be wishing for a sunny summer day! During peak seasons many photographers will book up quickly. Make sure your preferred season is available!
- What is your booking process?
This is important! Do you have a contract? Is a deposit or a retainer fee required? Some photographers require full payment up front, some require a deposit. Inquire about the booking process, payment policy and payments accepted.
- What is your cancellation policy?
Things happen. Weather, illness, and life events! Know what your options are. Can you cancel? reschedule? What happens to your retainer fee?
- Do you carry backup equipment?
You just paid for a session and spent on a hair stylist, a makeup artist, and a photography permit. Now, your photographers camera breaks in the middle of the session. If your photographer doesn’t have a spare camera or lens you will end your session and everything invested into it. Ask if your photographer carries back up equipment and make sure that back up equipment isn’t a cell phone! Believe it or not, I heard of this happening! It is perfectly reasonable to expect your photographer to carry multiple cameras and lenses on your portrait session.
- Do you carry insurance?
A pro photographer should carry liability insurance. This protects you and the photographer. Let’s hope no one get’s hurt, but if something should happen – your photographer should be covered!
- What is your photo backup system like?
If your photographer has a catastrophic house fire, theft of a hard disk/computer or a critical failure of a hard drive, what happens to your photos?? Make sure your photographer has a smart backup solution in place. Files should be backed up in multiples locations and on different media. In Addition, this is a good time to find out what the file retention period is! Does your photographer keep your photos for a few months or years??
There you have it! 15 questions to ask your portrait photographer.
As you prepare for your Senior portrait session, check out our tops tips for an awesome senior portrait session!