Sometimes we do everything right, we do the research, ask for referrals and we hire a professional, yet the end result turns out to be not what we imagined or wanted. To help you avoid this problem, here is the list of things to do and keep in mind when working with a creative professional, your hired photographer.
Before the photo session
Agreement. Sign the photographer's agreement. It protects not only photographer, but also you, your time, investment and the result product. So for example, if the photographer becomes ill on the day of your event, they offer you a backup solution at no additional cost.
Processing. Discuss the style of the photoshoot. Many photographers can work in several styles, like reportage, portrait, editorial (posed, artistic images), and many use both color and black and white options, so if you don't specify what exactly you want to see in the end, the artist will do what the artist is inspired to do. Also specify if you do not want the photos retouched or if, vice versa, you need someone retouched in all of them. A photographer might not see the flaw where you see it. For example, one of my colleagues had a client who considered a birth mark on her cheek a serious defect, while photographer found it beautiful and left it untouched. The girl only needed to mention that she wants it deleted in all the photos. People rarely see our flaws the way we see them.
Payment. Make sure that you are clear about what end product you want (images, prints, albums), the payment and what is included. There shouldn't be any hidden extra costs for the end product. Most of the times there will be a booking fee to reserve your photographer's time. This is a necessary measure, as your photographer is declining all the other clients who wanted to hire him/her on your day.
People. If the photo session has multiple people, let the photographer know whom you definitely need in the shots. Some people are not fans of being photographed, so they might try to hide away if you don't tell them what you want. A photographer is not a paparazzi, so he/she won't chase them. His/her priority will be you and anyone else you point out.
During the photo session
Guests. Make sure your guests know that you hired a photographer and they need to let the pro do the job. If they want to snap your event, they need to do it after he/she has finished shooting (the best way to make sure is to ask).
Directions. Follow your photographer's directions, not your family and friends calling you to turn here or there. You'll be much more satisfied with the images if you do.
Time. Value the photographer's time. It's a job, just like any other, so if your event doesn't start on time or if you are not ready by the time you agreed to start on, it will be counted as work hours, as the photographer allocated the time for you that other people might have been interested in.
Fun. Don't be shy and have fun. Remember, you are the star of this day, and you are the most favorite person for your photographer this day. Enjoy yourself, feel yourself, show your best self to the camera. Trust me, it loves you. ;)
After the photo session
Patience. Give the photographer time. Processing multiple images is a time-consuming work, and could easily take a day or several days, depending on the amount. Considering that your photographer probably has more photoshoots lined up in between processing, he/she probably won't process all the images in one or two days, so this could take from one to three weeks, depending on their schedule.
Priority. Remember that a good photographer is first an artist, and only after that a business person. Her/his main goal is to create beautiful images that make you happy. Be polite. Even if you are unhappy with something, try to first communicate your concerns politely, don't act like at a southern grocery market. My bet is the photographer will do everything they can to make you satisfied.
Appreciation. If you are happy with the images, credit the photographer when sharing them on social media. They've put their heart into this, spent nights lovingly editing and composing for you, appreciate it. If you want to say something nice to them, say it in the reviews, that will be the best thank you. This might be your family photographer for years to come, and maybe even a new friend.
Hope this list helps both photographers and clients have a more enjoyable and happy photo experience. If you have any more tips to add, leave them in the comments, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org