You are wanting professional photos so you either contact me as soon as you know you would like to book with me or you first start the process of looking for a photographer and after making the decision you find yourself initiating contact with me. This is where your session begins. Yes, from a photographer's perspective, the moment we connect with each other begins the process that will end up being images in your hands.
To most clients, their sessions appear as this:
Book session - Complete Session - Receive Images
But for myself, your session appears as this:
Read and respond to initial contact - communicate back and forth a varying number of times asking and answering questions, this can go on for days or weeks - setting a date and time - creating and issuing an agreement and invoice then sending them - receiving and processing the documents and payment - sending client guide/preparation steps/questionnaire for further session planning - possibly purchasing or making props etc for the session - planning the set ups if in studio - putting together the set ups for the session if in studio or driving to location for session - completing session between 30 minutes and 3.5 hours in length depending on the session type - cleaning up studio/washing items used - download images from SD card to hard drive - back up images in a minimum of 2 additional places - edit the images over the course of about a week-2 weeks in roughly 4-10 hours depending on the session type - back up the final images in 2 additional places - create an online gallery and upload the final images over about 1-2 hours - deliver the gallery via email - communicate back and forth about final image selection over 7 days and if only digital files are wanted, prepare the chosen images for download - send survey email - if prints are wanted, more communication over final orders - preparing and sending orders to professional print lab - communicate with lab over final production - after order arrives, review order to ensure it matches and is not damaged - communicate with client and arrange for pick up or delivery - meet with client and review order - end of session if all is complete.
Looks a bit different than how you thought your session would doesn't it?
You see, for photographers, we consider your session a process, an experience and we are with you from start to finish and not your vision of start to finish, but our reality of start to finish.
Many hours and days go into your session, a lot of planning and preparing beforehand, executing during and completing afterwards and it's not a 1 step 2 step 3 step done process. If it were, you would not be receiving the service you deserve and are paying for, at least if you are hiring a professional like myself.
Professional photography is an art and is about so much more than just the final images you see and while you are not present during the full process, I am still working hard on your session before and long after I am with you.
When you are searching for a photographer and price is a key factor, it's important to know what exactly you are paying for. If I am preparing for a newborn session, I may spend a few hours touching up my education and complete a workshop. I may grab my baby doll and practice some wraps or lighting placement. If the session is outdoors and in a location I've never worked in or am not too familiar with, I'll go there and scout it out to be prepared on the day of the session. For cake smashes in the studio, there is a whole other level of cleaning that's involved there, I have even had to clean icing off the ceiling before 😂.
All these things are not done with you but they are done for you so that I can deliver the experience you are hiring me for.
You are not hiring me for book - session - receive, you are hiring me for everything below that and my pricing reflects that.
While every session is different and may not require all those steps listed, the majority are for most sessions and in the grand scheme of things, your session is a weeks long process for myself and usually no less than 15-20 hours after all is said and done.
I absolutely love photography and I love delivering an exceptional experience to my clients which means each and every one receives no less than 3 quarters of that list and it's long! I even kind of feel like I've left something out but can't put my finger on it at the moment. You get the idea though.
I specialize in newborns, children and families but the majority of my sessions are newborns so I'm usually on the longer end for session and editing time and I can't just whip through a session and deliver it all the same day. Photographers that do this are called shoot and burn, very little effort goes into your session or the final images when they crank them out like that. Heck, I often take an extra day or two in most cases to sit back and stare at the final images just to make sure they are exactly how I want them!
So, I hope this has enlightened you and you have a better understanding of how your session is compiled before it's ready for you. Professional photographers want to deliver exceptional service, not just photos which is why we do all that we do for you. I am a professional photographer and I hold myself to such a high standard there's no ladder tall enough to reach but I do my very best with each and every session.
And holy hannah, I knew I did a lot, but putting that list in writing kind of made my own eyes widen! Crazy what a visual can do! 😂