Most clients are a joy to work with. They make the experience positive for themselves and the photographer by being thoughtful, courteous, and following a few simple rules. Unfortunately, there are always exceptions. As a reminder, here are some things to be sure to do – and don’t do – to help make a photoshoot a pleasant experience for all:
1. Do arrive on time (or five minutes early). If your session is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. and you arrive a half an hour late, you are not only cutting into time reserved for you (i.e., potentially reducing the number of images you will have to choose from), but negatively impacting a photographer’s schedule for the rest of the day (e.g., delaying retouching images, making callbacks, releasing images). You might also hurt other clients schedules.
2. Do pay your bills on time. If invoices are due that day and you agree to pay them that day, please do so. Not paying a booking fee on time leaves a photographer wondering whether to release a requested time slot to someone else. If you requested a specific Saturday and someone else also requests that same Saturday, if you haven’t completed payment as agreed, if the photographer is thoughtful, s/he might contact you to find out the status of the booking fee. However, generally this back and forth mothering is not pleasant. Potential clients don’t enjoy status calls, and photographers don’t enjoy re-validating dates. Most photographers soon enact a no-payment-no-booking-policy with no calls or notice for this reason … potentially leaving you without a session. Likewise, not paying for an already completed photoshoot delays retouching and delivery of images. While untimely payments are rare, when they do occur, they cause a photographer to tighten rules for everyone.
3. (Child Photoshoots) Do bring signed releases with you. I recently modified my booking process for minors. I now require a signed minor modeling release and a standard booking fee ahead of time, before booking a session with minors. Why? I don’t want a pleasant photoshoot experience tainted by follow-up calls for forms.
4. Do let the photographer preview your planned wardrobe selection. I request that clients text me images of the wardrobe and accessories they plan to bring. More than once, before I made this step part of my pre-consultation workflow, a few clients arrived with either not enough choices or items that didn’t photograph well. Sometimes an item was not flattering. Other times a scoop neck was too deep. Men’s jackets were too tight; blouses too distracting. Still other times an item didn’t hang well, fit well, or created a ton of wrinkles in the image. Clothing issues happen with men and women. Also, clients can be shy about bringing a lot of clothes to a photoshoot. Do take comfort knowing that headshot and portrait photographers expect clients to bring wardrobe choices.
5. Retouching preferences. On rare occasion, after discussing preferences with a client during the culling process, when a client reviews retouched images they notice something additional they want or didn’t want retouched. Four things come to mind – beauty marks, eye size differences, root hair color, and personal anomalies (e.g., large nose, bad teeth, scars). If you have a tiny beauty mark you want to keep, do point it out ahead of time. If you color your hair, do retouch roots beforehand (or mention you’d like them retouched ahead of time). If you want eye size adjusted (most people have slight differences), mention this. If you have a feature that bothers you, point it out. As a professional photographer, I have a retouching workflow and techniques I follow for consistency. There are things I routinely look for and things I don’t alter. I see imperfections as beautiful and part of what make you unique. As a general rule, retouching requests agreed to ahead of time are accommodated at no extra charge. Afterwards, when images have been retouched, exported, uploaded, etc., additional charges might be required. For tips on more details to look for, checkout the blogpost “Finding the Best Portrait or Headshot Photographer Near You.”