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53 Ways to Ensure an Enjoyable Photography Session - Part One

Portraits, whether individual or family, can become a stress point for some people. Some might equate the experience to having a root canal done at the dentist. They simply hate getting their photos taken. On the other hand, others welcome the experience because most likely they have had a good experience that has made them comfortable about having portraits taken. 

As a photographer, I fall into the category of root canal. I just don't like having my photo taken. However, I also understand the significance into having them done (that is another blog post for a later time). I am going to share with you 53 different ideas to help guide you to having an enjoyable photography session even if you don't like having your photo taken. This will be a three part blog covering many different aspects from start to finish. Here are the first 17 of 53.

Let's go!

Finding a Photographer

  1. Decided what kind of photographer you are wanting to hire. Do you want someone who only gives you a jump drive with digital photos or one who provides printed family heirloom products or a mix of both? Do you want one who just started out or one who is established? Are you wanting a photographer with a studio or one who comes to you? Do you want straightforward photos or ones that are artistic and unique?
  2. Interview the photographer before hiring them. You want to make sure you will work well with the person who is going to be capturing your special moments. Take the time to get to know who they are and what they have to offer.
  3. If you have favorite images you have seen on your photographer’s website or portfolio, make sure to let him/her know. Let your photographer know what drew you to them. Likewise if you were referred make sure to share that with the photographer.

Pre-Consultation & Things to Discuss

  1. Request a pre-consultation if one isn’t offered to you. A pre consultation is an awesome way to get to know your photographer and work out all of the details of the session before it happens! These can be done in person or over the phone if proximity is an issue.
  2. If at all possible have the kids meet the photographer at the pre-consultation. Kids are funny creatures. Sometimes they warm right up to others, but other times (especially when a person is holding a big camera and a lens) they can get weirded out by something that would not be a big deal to us adults. Give them a chance to meet the person who will be responsible for helping you capture those memories.
  3. Think about what kind of looks you want the photographer to capture and then share that with the photographer. Are you wanting a vintage look? Or something crazy with paint guns? What about a regular background or when the flowers are in bloom outside? Make sure you discuss what look you want to assure you needs can be met.
  4. Consider what your intention of the images you will get will be. If you know you want to hang up your art work make sure to let your photographer know. There are technical things we can plan for and do to assure your photos will look amazing on your walls!
  5. If you want wall art, take a snapshot of the wall space prior to your session, then send it to your photographer. Not only can we plan the image to go on a wall, but we can also help you to size out what would look best on your wall. 
  6. If you have must have shots discuss it prior to your session. If you are wanting certain groupings of family members, the dog to make a quick appearance or a certain smirk on your child’s face make sure to let the photographer know before hand so they can be prepare and on the look out for those perfect moment shots.
  7. Consider the time of day you select for your session. Are you hoping for sun flares, sunset skies or a cloudy winter day? Some photographers prefer to work with only natural light and others utilize other light sources. Know up front what will work best for you and your photographer.
  8. Plan the session around nap and meal times. If you have kids present for the session make sure everyone is fed, has used the bathroom and has gotten their daily quiet time when they should have. Try not to plan the session during those times where other things of importance usually happen in their schedule. Proper planning = Happy Kids = Great Photos!
  9. If you have any insecurities express those to your photographer before the session. If you aren’t comfortable with yourself after having 3 kids or are worried about blemishes or one eye being larger than the other - these are all natural things we as photographers deal with in our job. We know how to properly pose you to accentuate what you do like and want to see in yourself. Letting us know up front only helps us to help you see the beauty in yourself!
  10. If you want special editing done, discuss this prior to the session. As much as we would like to be able to, unfortunately not everything can be fixed in Photoshop. Yes, with a few small clicks we might be able to remove that dog hair off your shirt, but some items could take longer to fix than what the length of your session may run or may not even be possible to accomplish at all. There may be things we can do during the session to minimize editing though or creative concepts that can be agreed upon that are within the skill set of what your photographer can accomplish. The more communication the better!
  11. Plan props (if any) before the session. Not all photographers are prop people. Likewise some are ready to go all out! If you have special props you would like used make sure to discuss those with your photographer so both your needs and the photographer’s style can be worked with together.
  12. Don’t go too crazy on Pinterest looking for ideas. Remember you hired your photographer because you love their style and what they have to offer. Pinterest can be great to get your idea ball rolling, but it should be used only for inspiration and not to copy exactly from.
  13. Understand the deliverable dates. Before you sign the contract make sure it is in writing exactly what you will be getting. You should know how long editing will take, how long products will take to process, when payments are due and when you should expect your final art work delivered to you.
  14. Read the contract. This one is imperative. A contract protects both you and the photographer and outlines exactly what is expected from both parties. Reading the contract at the beginning allows for transparency and trust. It also confirms what was discussed during the pre-consultation appointment.

Look for the next portion of the list next week!

-April, Remember When Portraits LLC