This topic is quite taboo: the things your photographer would like you to know. I can already hear you say « Oh no, not another blog post complaining about clients! » Don’t be fooled, it’s absolutely not the case! It actually seeks to demystify certain misunderstood aspects of our job, as well as answering to some of the questions you’re too shy to ask your photographer!
1. Hiring a good professional photographer can be expensive, but it’s an investment
« Why do you charge so much to photograph a wedding/maternity session/newborn session/etc.? My friend just bought a nice camera and can do it for 50 bucks! » Yes, indeed, I can’t compete with your friend’s price, but I don’t want to either!
Some people seem to forget what’s happening behind the camera in order to offer you this memorable photo session. You are not hiring a human tripod who only clicks on a button and tadam! the work is done. You are investing in a person who spent years developing their creativity in order to leave you with these unforgivable memories. A person who invested a lot of their time and money into their business and the local economy, whether it is by the many years spent on a school bench, the necessary high-end photography equipment, all the postproduction software to retouch the images, the car to travel to each shooting location, the studio rental cost, the insurance to guarantee you have a pleasant and safe experience, the various promotional material so you can discover their work, the websites to see their work, the different pedagogical documents to better prepare you before the session and so on and so forth!
You can add a lot more to this long list, including the time spent talking with you, meeting you, answering to your numerous emails, scouting locations for your session in advance, thinking about personalized concepts that fit you, travelling to your location, coming back home after, culling the images, retouching them, uploading them to an online gallery and finally delivering these wonderful souvenirs.
All these business fees are definitely not taken in consideration by Mr. or Mrs. Doe who strictly offer their services to gain some extra money, which is totally normal since it’s not their main source of income. If laws existed to monitor anyone who wished to make money out of their photography services, just like it’s the case with other professions, no photographer could charge as low as $50 and keep a profitable business running. Hobbyists and professional photographers can cohabit in the same market, however, it’s impossible to compare them when it comes to their rates and the overall service received!
2. Pick me for the right reasons
Yes, price definitely weights in the balance, but it shouldn’t be the only criterion to hire me. Each photographer has a unique style that can’t be changed to accommodate every request. For instance, a person specialized exclusively in food photography might not be the best fit for a wedding or family session, and vice versa. Take a few minutes to look at my work and see if you like it because the photos you will receive will be in a similar aesthetic. Furthermore, it’s primordial to be on the same wave length. Contact me so we can chat about your needs and see if we click. Not only will we work together during the session, but also before and after it. This can last a month for family sessions, but it will spread through the whole year for weddings. It’s better to get along well since day one!
3. You are photogenic (even if you keep saying the opposite)
Stop saying you’re not photogenic, that’s a lie. Forget about the fashion industry standards, they shouldn’t dictate whether you’re « worth » posing in front of the camera or not. Relax, be yourself, have fun and your evil curse will magically disappear. You don’t believe me? Try it, you will see the difference! I will make sure to put you at ease and bring out your best assets to give you a confidence boost.
4. No, Photoshop can’t do everything…
Photoshop definitely solves many issues, but performing these modifications isn’t done in two shakes of a lamb’s tail! Removing pimples here and there is easy. However, it’s a whole different task when we’re asked to remove bigger elements. If you don’t like your shoes or the print on your shirt, don’t wear them for the photos. If your house is a mess, think about tidying up before the session so we don’t see it in the background. It will be much quicker and easier than spending hours trying to achieve miracles in the computer after.
5. Print your photos, it’s so important!
« My computer just died, I lost all the photos you took of us! Do you still have them?! » I receive this desperate message in my mailbox almost every month! Most of the time my answer is « Yes, you’re lucky, I still have a backup copy of them, but it might not be the case in a few months if this happens again! » You’re investing a lot of your precious money in your photo session, why not invest a little bit more to print them and keep a tangible version of your memories? Contrary to the popular belief, printing your photos in a professional lab is affordable and is done at a very competitive price to what’s offered in consumer-based labs. Photo paper might not be immortal, but it’s much more reliable than your computer or smartphone…
6. You are more than just a client
I confess, I still have butterflies in my stomach before doing a session, even if we worked together before! You give me the opportunity to do what I love the most and I want to give my very best each time. I frequently check weather reports in the days leading to your wedding and think about emergency plans if things were to go south because I want your big day to be as perfect as possible. You might even see me shed a tear or two during the ceremony or at the speeches! I have a warm feeling inside when I learn about your pregnancy and you ask me to document it. There is nothing that I love more than getting to see your little ones growing up and shaping their personality. Following the evolution of your family, in the highs and the lows, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially since I have the power to leave you with lasting keepsakes you will cherish forever.
7. Your feedback is important to me
After spending so much time planning your session, getting to know you and retouching your photos, I’m eager to hear your impressions! Did you enjoy working with me? Are you satisfied with the photos? On the contrary, is there something that could be improved or changed? It’s a bit questioning to deliver a gallery and never hear a word after… Your precious feedback is what allows me to improve my business in order to offer you a better experience, don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.
If you enjoyed working with me, you can even take a few minutes to leave a testimonial for inquiring clients. This will give them an excellent overview of my work methods and it will be easier for them to evaluate my competences. Nothing warms my heart more than reading how much you’re satisfied with the photos or how I managed to make a difference for you! After all, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if wonderful clients didn’t take the time to write me heartfelt testimonials over the years, which helped convince other great people to choose me to immortalise precious moments of their life!
If you would like to discover other great photography advice, you can continue your reading here:
- Five photography advice every bride should read
- Why should you choose the first look at your wedding?
- Five photography mistakes and how to avoid them
- Seven often forgotten wedding details you should know about
Lisa-Marie Savard est une photographe lifestyle basée à Montréal et ses environs. Voyage offert ailleurs au Québec ou Canada. | Lisa-Marie Savard is a lifestyle photographer based in Montreal and its surroundings. Travel available elsewhere in Quebec or Canada.