There are so many amazing photographers out there but when it comes to your senior photos, how do you know you’re choosing the right one for you? I’ve come up with 10 important questions to help you narrow down who is the perfect senior photographer for you!
1. Does the session rate include digital images, or do I have to purchase those separately?
There is no “right way” of charging, every photographer does things a little differently. Some photographers include a specified amount of images included in the session rate for no additional cost and some photographers charge for digital images separately at the end. They’re both common ways to structure session packages, just something to keep in mind before booking.
2. Do I have printing rights?
Some photographers will give you rights to print your images on your own (ex: Walmart or Costco). Other photographers do not and in the contract require you to print through them. Having your photographer handle prints can be so stress relieving but knowing if you can print on your own if you want to later on is important.
3. Are you able to help with hair and makeup recommendations?
Senior photographers often have relationships with local hair and makeup artists so your senior photographer will be able to provide you with lots of suggestions to fit your vision. Some photographers even include complimentary hair and makeup in certain session packages to add to their senior photo experience.
4. How do I receive the final images?
Photographers will give seniors access to either digital galleries or a physical copy (prints). Some photographers may even give you the option. Be sure you know in what form your photos will be delivered.
5. Do you travel for senior sessions? If so, what are your travel fees?
Sometimes seniors want a unique look for their senior photos, even out of town. If you are already set on a location out of town it will be beneficial to find out travel fees before booking a photographer to help weigh your options (local photographer in the area or one near you). Every photographer has a different way of handling travel fees. Typically it is an additional fee separate from your session payment depending on how far away the location is. Travel fees usually and often include, gas (or flights if necessary), time spent in car, food, and lodging (if needed).
6. What is your reschedule/cancellation policy?
What if you get sick before your shoot? What if it rains or the weather is bad on the day of your session? Make sure you ask your senior photographer their cancellation and rescheduling policies because life happens and some things are unavoidable.
7. What are my rights to the photos?
It’s important to know that photographers own the right to the photos that they take. However, some photographers give personal printing rights to clients. Make sure if you or your family is wanting to print them on their own, it doesn’t interfere with their policies.
8. Do you retouch images?
Retouching on an image just depends on the preference of the client. Most seniors want their photos at least spot checked and have acne removed (because that’s not permanent or a representation of who you are), so make sure you check in with your photographer to see what is included in their retouching services if they include them in session and see if there is an extra fee. Some photographers charge as a whole gallery or per individual photo so from a financial aspect, it’s good to know the information before hand.
9. What is the turnaround for the final gallery?
Waiting for photos can feel like a century because of how exciting it is and you can’t wait to post them! It’s nice to know a time frame for the average time it usually takes to receive your final gallery back so that you know what to expect. Senior photographers that also photograph weddings typically have a longer turn around due to the larger galleries that they have to deliver.
10. What does the booking process look like and how do payments work?
The most important question, what is the investment. It’s important to know the booking process before setting anything in stone. Once you have asked all of the other important questions, seen their previous work and testimonials, then it’s time to start the booking process to secure your date on their calendar. If you need payment accommodations, such as a payment plan, make sure you double check with your photographer before signing anything or securing your spot with a down payment. Some photographers don’t charge interest on spreading out payments but some do.
There are so many questions you could ask but these are the most important questions to ask before making it official. Knowing all this information as a base line will help you narrow down your senior photographer based on the session and deliverables that are in your best interest, what to expect in the experience they provide, makes the process itself less intimidating, and gives you peace of mind that you chose the best senior photographer for you.
I hope you have the best senior year!