Things to Ask a Photographer Before Your Session.
1. What's the photographer's background?
If your neighbor, who has no training as a mechanic, got a new set of wrenches for Christmas, would you trust him to work on the engine of your new $40,000 car? Lots of people are now getting what they call "nice cameras". I believe in having top-notch equipment, which is why I have several Canon 1Ds camera bodies and L series lenses, which are in a different league than what you'll find at most local camera shops. Even more important than the equipment is the person behind the camera. I have the artistic training and extensive experience to create amazing images which you will cherish for a lifetime. We are creating important milestone images during your senior portrait session. Don't let your friend's dad with his new camera create horrible photos of you that you'll be embarrassed to show your friends, even if he is cheap. You're worth more than that!
2. Do you have a studio?
It is amazing, but lots of photographers have gone into business expecting the client to provide the locations for the photos. I have an indoor camera room, a second indoor shooting room with hardwood floors, leather furniture and a baby grand piano, in addition to lots of outdoor locations on my property. We can do everything, from traditional to cutting edge, all right here. In addition to all that, there are local areas we can go to to get additional photos.
3. Who will shoot my session?
There's a complaint on a photo review web site about a well-known Dayton area studio where the customers really liked the photos they were shown during their consultation (shot by the owner of the studio) and signed up to have their wedding done by this studio. When they had their session, an assistant shot it, and they were very disappointed with the photos. In the case of chain studios, how do you know that the photos on the national chain's web site have anything to do with what will happen in Dayton? They were probably taken by their "master photographer" at their corporate headquarters. Who will you get in Dayton to take your pictures? Have you seen the photos they took?
When you work with me, I will always be taking the photos. I've created portraits of countless people. I've had my photos published in newspapers and magazines in 13 countries and worldwide in books and on web sites. I have the experience you need.
4. Will the photographer take the time to get to know me?
Getting a 15 minute appointment with a big-box or mall photo studio because of some special coupon is not a good value. You're rushed in and out, given 2 minutes to choose between 2 shots for your "coupon photo", then pressured (guilt trip!) into buying a larger package at the regular price. How can a national chain give personal service when they rush you in and rush you out? Don't be another cog in their faceless corporate machine! It takes time before and during the session to get to know the model. There's no other way to make the connection necessary to capture their personality in the photos. I like my clients to be comfortable and trust me. When this comfort level is reached, that's when the magic happens.
5. Can I pay a session fee and decide what I want after I see the photos, or do I have to sign up for a package before I even have my session?
Kind of weird, eh? Would you buy a $500 chair without sitting in it? Would you buy a car without driving it? I charge a reasonable session fee to cover the studio time, processing, and the viewing session. You can decide which prints you want to order after you have seen the images!
6. What is the charge for retouching the blemishes and enhancing the photos?
One large studio charges $75 per photo for retouching. I include normal retouching in the print pricing.
7. When you're on the phone with a studio, ask them these questions:
--what do you charge to remove stray hairs?
--what do you charge to whiten teeth?
--what do you charge to remove facial redness?
There's a studio in town that has an itemized list of things they can do to photos beyond blemish removal. They charge over $25 for each service per image! I include these basic retouching services in the session fee.
8. Who will be doing the retouching?
Have you noticed the images on local photographers' sites that have people with scary glowing white eyes, sort of like an alien in a bad TV show? I personally retouch each image individually to make sure you look your best. I've been a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals for many years and was a Beta Tester for Adobe Photoshop CS5. I have the experience you need. Your photos won't look like something from Instagram! :)
9. How many photos will I get to choose from?
Many studios will limit your total images to 25-30, limiting your choices. On the other hand, lots of newbies will "spray and pray" and shoot hundreds of images and hoping that you find some you like amid all the blinks and flying hair, overwhelming parents and senior alike. With an Indoor/Outdoor Session, I usually choose between 75-100 photos for you to view. I've found that this is the perfect number to provide a few versions of each outfit and background we shoot to choose from.
9. Do I have to pay for low-res digital files for email and web displays?
One local studio charges up to $200 for the low-res files! I post web versions of the images to Facebook as I get them finished. You can re-post them to another site or email them as you wish. I don't charge extra for this. If you don't use Facebook, I could email them to you.
10. When I pick a print package, how many poses may I choose for my images?
One top studio in the area allows one pose per package with a $38 additional pose charge! Most studios limit you to between 1 and 5 poses, depending on the package you purchase. My pose choices are much more generous!!!
11. What is the cost to have my name and year placed on the wallets?
Some studios charge $20 per image for this service. This is complementary.
12. Are your prices posted up front?
It seems strange, but there are local studios that don't post their prices on the web and some which will not let you take the price list out of the building!
13. Am I able to order some photos now, and get more later after my family sees them?
Absolutely. Your images will be archived indefinitely.
14. My parents are divorced. Is it possible for my mom to order what she wants, then have my dad come on a different day and order what he wants?
Of course, and there's no extra charge for the second viewing and ordering session.
You'll get personalized, relaxed, one-of-a-kind service from me. I encourage you to compare photos, compare prices, then I'm confident you will call to schedule your appointment with me.
Muskopf Photography, LLC