Setting Expectations with your Senior Photographer: How to
I think that all my topics are super important to talk about, but I truly think that client/photographer communication is key to you enjoying your session. Whatever the session maybe it can be kind of stressful sometimes. Especially if it’s a big new event. The reason that setting expectations are so important because it can alleviate some of that stress that comes along with planning something new or exciting. Even though I could go on and on about this topic, it is probably best that we stick to senior shoots. Senior sessions can be the most fun thing ever, but it’s also a lot for one person to handle when they’re stressed about school, sports, work, etc. That’s why when you can set expectations with your photographer you can make sure that they understand their needs. Trust me when I say that NO photographer wants you to be stressed when it comes to taking senior photos. They want you to have a seamless experience from start to finish. Sometimes the photographer's vision of seamless is not the same as your vision of seamless. I have a ton of tips for you on how to set expectations with your photographer if you feel like they’re not being met.
Tip #1: Pick a photographer that matches your communication style.
This might be simple, but it’s SO important to have a senior photographer that is similar to you or runs things the way that you like them being run. If your personalities don’t mesh well then it’s not going to be fun for either of you. I personally am more laid back when it comes to shooting, but I’m also very formal in the way that I run my business. Sometimes that works for people and other times it doesn’t. The expectations will already be set if you pick someone who runs life the same way you do.
Tip #2: Asking for a schedule.
If you feel like you’re confused, frustrated or unsure about how this whole senior photoshoot is going to go, then ask! Ask for a run down of the shoot, ask for a rundown pre and post shoot. Sometimes as photographers (and humans) we believe that we are communicating effectively when the other person doesn’t feel like they’re being fully informed. Just ask. Like I said before we don’t want you to feel unsure or unhappy with the way the session is going so we want to cancel any of your stress.
Tip #3: Be upfront about what you need.
This can mean so many things. I’ve had clients that need photos for (just as an example) their college applications. They told me that 2 days before they needed it. Normally I would say yes, let’s do it, but it’s because they told me 2 days before that I didn’t think I could meet their need. Even if we took photos 2 days before you had a due date, telling me 2 weeks in advance is helpful! Unfortunately, we can’t read your mind and want to meet all of your needs but we can’t if we don’t have enough time to achieve it.
Tip #4: It’s okay to talk through a parent.
I get that when you’re 16 you want to do it all and you feel like you need to pick the photographer and not let your mom pick her style of photography. But, it’s okay to have your mom set things up if they’re willing. Since your age prohibits some things parents will need to be involved. Get them involved and excited early and you’re more likely to have a great relationship all around. It also makes life easier when it comes to payments, printing, and other things like that.
Tip #5: It’s not okay to feel confused for more than a day.
Sometimes things get confusing. They shouldn’t be confusing all the way up until your senior photos. Your questions need to be answered right away. You cannot be confused for weeks. You need to make sure everything is clear before you step foot on location. If you’re comfortable with leaving a little mystery to the process then that’s great just relax and enjoy the ride. You shouldn’t enjoy the ride when it comes to session costs, printing costs, etc. Get down to the brass taxes and avoid the future headaches.
The definition with expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. Make your expectations into reality. Don’t be afraid to be bold with what you need. I’ve been there and been the young girl in the store that employees are following around because they think I’m stealing. I’ve been the girl who gets looks because I’m too young and people don’t think I know what I’m talking about. Find a professional photographer that takes you seriously no matter your age. I just want to make sure that you all have the best experience. That experience starts with communication and setting expectations.