Photography Checklist

24th July 2016
Hi everyone!

I've had a lovely busy week photographing beautiful families and making the most of the beautiful weather we're having. There's been a mixture of studio and outdoor photoshoots this week- pop over to my Facebook page to have a look at some of the previews!

I was chatting to my husband about all things photography yesterday and I thought it might be helpful to pop some pointers, a checklist almost, for those looking for a photographer.

  • Technology has come a long way since the olden days of analogue cameras (which I love and still shoot on for personal use!), and digital cameras have made photography accessible to everyone. This also means that lots of people are offering services as a photographer. Cameras have lots of settings and most people will pop their camera on auto and shoot away, this will get you lots of great pics. However, no professional photographer should ever be using this setting. Us photographers will always use manual. The reason for this is it gives us a huge amount of control over the photos- we can use which bits look blurry, which are in focus, how much light we're letting into the photo and lots of other things too. Anyone calling themselves a professional photographer should know the absolute basics of photography and using a camera in manual settings is a clear measure of this. Don't be afraid to ask your photographer what mode they shoot in; I would be very wary of anyone not using manual but selling their services as a professional.

  • Copyright. This is a very confusing area for clients. As you know I sell my photoshoots to include a disk of the images. I also include a printing licence as part of this meaning that people can use and print the pictures for personal use. Copyright doesn't just give people the right to copy the images, it also involves publishing rights, the right to sell the image and the right to alter the image. If a photographer gives this copyright up they no longer own the image, they can no longer use the image in their portfolio/ advertising without permission and they can't republish them. Every photographer is different and what we capture with our cameras are different. How I photograph a family may be completely different to how a fellow photographer does. What you see with my photos is my style, and my brand. If a client owns a copyright they can alter images- so for example they can heavily edit, add filters, do 'selective colouring' and other fancy bits which might look fantastic to them, but might be completely different to the photographers style and no longer is representative of their work. Clients need, and want, a print release to print and use the photos for personal use. The vast majority of clients don't actually want, or need, a full copyright release of photos. Be very wary of any photographer offering full copyright with your images- it usually highlights that they don't understand copyright laws.

  • Editing. Every photographer will edit your photos. Having a photoshoot isn't as simple as taking pictures and then uploading for you. The type of file which I shoot on is called a RAW file which gives me a huge amount of quality and information in each shot. Because there is so much information each photo needs to go through photo editing software to prepare it. Depending on the type of photoshoot I can spend 2-4 hours editing. My style of editing is to keep things very simple and natural. I like for all clients to look at their pictures and to see their children's personalities shinning through, and I find natural does that best. Check through the portfolio's of any photographer you are looking at to see what their editing style is like and if you'd be happy with similar photos.

  • Ask to look through their portfolio, and ask for feedback from clients. Facebook is fantastic for this as you can pop on and look at reviews and feedback from others. The review section of a Facebook page can't be altered in terms of if a bad review is left the page can't remove it. The only thing they can do is to remove the review section all together. So go and do some research, go have a look on Facebook and read the comments from others.

  • Pricing. This is a very important area for clients, and usually the first thing on people's minds is how much this will cost. I try and keep my prices as reasonable as possible as I know how expensive families are and the list of what's needing is never ending! I would say to be mindful of pricing however, yes it's important but it shouldn't be the only criteria on choosing a photographer. The photographer is charging for the photoshoot, and also the time spent editing afterwards, studio space, equipments etc. There are many photographers offering very cheap photoshoots but sometimes this can be indicative of the quality of their work. In this case you may end up paying for the photoshoot and not being happy with the photos, or thinking you wish you had paid slightly extra and received much better quality photos. Having a photoshoot is an investment, and you should be really happy with the results so it's important to take into account portfolio, editing style and what you receive as part of your package. So some photographers will offer a 'sitting fee' which only includes the photoshoot and not the images, or a limited amount of the digital images, with a view to purchasing images/ prints on top of this. Whilst sometimes this can seem a cheaper option, often it isn't because of the add ons on top of the sitting fee. So find out exactly what is included in your shoot and look at the whole package the photographer is offering. Some photographers, myself included, will offer payment plans so don't be afraid to ask!

Emma xx