What to expect from your photoshoot is something we’re all interested in when we’re in the market for a photographer. No one likes to enter a new situation blindly. This blog post covers what you can expect before, during, and after your photoshoot.
Before Your Photoshoot
Research to Find a Photography Style that Speaks to You
There are many photographers to choose from, and in a city the size of Birmingham, Alabama, the degrees of separation are few. Just like there are many photographers to choose from, there are also varied photography styles, both in editing and the way that a photographer interacts with their subjects. Find the photographer that speaks to you! Notice the differences you see. Are the photographs light and airy, dark and moody, or more traditional and true to color? Are there more candid, natural photos in their portfolio, or do they tend to photograph posed portraits more? Do they photograph indoors or outdoors? There are a number of things that make each photographer’s style unique. I prefer rich colors with a slightly moody feel, emotional color is another way to describe it.
Read the Reviews of Your Favorite Photographers
Most photographers will have a Google My Business page where you can read reviews by previous clients. Other places you can look for reviews are on their Facebook business page and sometimes on their website. I think being able to read the reviews is one of the reasons we all use Amazon so much. Reading first-hand accounts of experiences is really helpful when choosing a photographer. I have over 70 5-star Google reviews, almost 60 Facebook reviews, and 20 reviews on my website.
Reach out to Your Favorite Photographers
Once you’ve chosen the type of photography you like and narrowed down your search to a few different photographers, reach out to them. There should be a contact button on every photographer’s website. And most of the time, they’ll also have social media pages like Instagram or Facebook and you should be able to contact them there as well. When communicating with your favorite photographers, notice how quickly they respond. If their personalities come through when communicating, do you feel comfortable with them? I’m an introvert posing as a people person. If you aren’t comfortable being photographed, I empathize with you 100%. I hired different photographers four times in a year to try to get over my fear of being photographed! And you know what? It helped!
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions and Share Your Ideas
Ask questions if you have them. Share ideas about different locations or your desired setting. Experienced photographers will have suggestions and just need a little guidance to find the best place for your photoshoot. Sometimes it’s as simple as deciding whether you want a natural or city setting. Share your opinions and help create the best possible photoshoot for you! I have two galleries I can share with you to help you settle on a location. One is full of images created in natural settings and the other includes images from city settings. Sometimes we get lucky and find a setting with both elements!
Book Your Shoot
When you were in the researching stage, you probably communicated with your favorite photographers. Once you’ve decided on the one that matches your personal style and budget, you should book your photographer. Some photographers will schedule sessions weeks in advance and some even months in advance. If you have a particular date or month in mind, you should plan ahead. Studio photographers may have a little more flexibility than outdoor photographers. Those of us that photograph primarily outdoors usually photograph all year-round, but spring and fall in Alabama are definitely the busiest. Book your session roughly three months in advance if you’re desire is to be photographed outdoors during spring or fall.
Plan What You’ll Wear After Choosing a Location
Consider these points when planning what to wear to your photoshoot. It’s nice to mix patterns and solid colors together, but usually only one person wearing patterns unless you’re being photographed with more than three people. Too many patterns together is busy and distracting. With a group of two to three people, one person would wear patterned clothing and the others would use color(s) from the pattern for their solid colored clothing. A good rule of thumb is one person in patterns for every three people being photographed.
You should coordinate your clothing without matching; wearing the same color as others in your photoshoot can create a negative visual effect, making it hard to distinguish one body from another if you’re side-by-side. Be comfortable, but consider dressing up a little more than if you were spending time at home.
Here are some other things to consider. How about fun accessories to liven up your look? Also, layers and multiple textures can add visual interest. Sometimes it’s easier to decide on clothing choices once you know the environment you’ll be photographing in. You may not know an exact location when booking your session, but even knowing whether it will be in a natural or city setting will help you choose your clothing. Plan ahead by gathering what you’ll wear days before the session. That way if you’re missing an item, you’ll have plenty of time to find it or purchase it.
Lastly, I encourage you to leave attention grabbing items at home, like large-face watches; it’s hard for the eyes not to be drawn to them when looking at your images. We want your face(s) to be the focal point!
It’s Time for Your Photoshoot
Leave a Little Earlier than You Think You Should to Meet Your Photographer
It’s never fun to rush anywhere and it’s really uncomfortable to be in a hurry and stressfully navigate to a place you’ve never been, so be especially aware of the time if you’re meeting your photographer at a location that’s new to you. Even if you are familiar with the location, you just never know what’s going to happen in traffic and being a little early for your photoshoot will give you a moment to breathe and relax and feel grateful for the fun experience that’s about to happen!
Breathe and Have Fun
So, you’ve done a lot of researching and planning, and now it’s time to enjoy your photoshoot! This may be a special treat-something you’ve never experienced before, or it may be an annual event for you. Either way, it’s perfectly natural to have a few butterflies. Try to enjoy yourself! It’s really a lot of fun.
Keep an Open Mind and Trust Your Photographer
You searched until you found a photographer that was right for you. Now you just have to trust them. You know what they’re capable of; you’ve seen their work and read their reviews. Going with the flow is the name of the game now. Trust your photographer to produce the same gorgeous photos for you!
Movement Looks More Natural Than Stillness
It’s true! Even subtle movements look less stiff than posing perfectly still. Your photographer may ask you to walk toward them, sway from side-to-side, or maybe hop forward, bouncing your hair about.
After Your Photoshoot
Know When to Expect Your Gallery
Most photographers will include information in an email about when to expect to see your gallery. And even though I discuss this detail in a message, I also talk to my clients about my editing time frame at the end of our session. It’s a nice way to wrap up our time together. I never want to leave clients wondering about any of the details of their photoshoot.
Follow Your Photographer’s Social Media Platforms
It’s possible you already follow your photographer on social media since you obviously liked their work enough to hire them, but if you don’t, you should because this is where you’ll see sneak peeks from your session. I usually post at least one image from a session within 48 hours of the photoshoot.
Relax Knowing Your Images are Secure
It’s a pretty common practice for photographers to save your images in several locations to ensure their safety. I save all files in multiple locations: two separate external hard drives, in online backup storage, and on the SD card from the camera. I erase the SD card but keep your images on the hard drives and in online storage when your gallery is shared.
Wait Patiently; Your Link is On its Way
This may be one of the hardest parts of the whole process! There’s such a build up to being photographed, and then there’s the excitement of your photoshoot day, and then…you wait. I think the average time it takes to edit a portrait session a.k.a. photoshoot is about two weeks. Some photographers may edit and share a gallery quicker, but those photographers who are booked consistently, well, they may take a bit longer. My turn around is 10-14 days depending on the length of the photoshoot, which affects the number of images to be edited. You’ll receive a link (often through email) after the editing is finished and your gallery in online; most galleries are password-protected so your password should be included in your email.
Is it Time to Download or Make other Purchasing Decisions?
Most photographers sell digital files, and some sell printed images and albums. You may have had the option of purchasing your gallery of files when you booked your session. If so, when you’re presented with your gallery link, you will be able to download your edited files. I offer clients the chance to save $50 off the gallery price by purchasing when booking. I believe other photographers may offer an incentive too. Yes, it is a small leap of faith to purchase the gallery, sight unseen, so that’s a decision you’ll have to make. This is probably a safe bet though if you’ve fallen in love with your photographer’s work.
Like many other photographers, my client galleries have a store attached so that purchases may be made, so if you didn’t buy your gallery when booking, you may still purchase it. I also sell printed images on canvas and photographic paper, and albums; and if you’d like to purchase a set of 10 jpeg files or even an individual file, that’s also an option.
If your photographer hasn’t told you how long your gallery will be available, ask. I leave galleries online for three months. Not all purchases have to be included in one transaction; for example, you may purchase files when you view your gallery and decide to visit the store again in a month to order an album.
As someone who’s thinking about hiring a photographer or someone who has recently booked a photographer, you’ll want to know what to expect from your photoshoot. This information is not the same for all photographers, but much of it is the norm. Contact me if you’d like to schedule your photoshoot with Bang Images!