This post is so fun for me to be sharing because the senior booking season has officially begun! In honor of a new graduating class, I wanted to create a super simple and easy question checklist for all of you soon-to-be seniors to ask before officially hiring your senior photographer. All seniors deserve to have their senior photo session to be a memorable and fun experience. The photography world is a very saturated industry, with lots of people claiming to be “photographers,” who could end up giving you a poor experience. We don’t want that. I hope these questions come in handy for you as you start the senior photographer search. Be sure to check out the end of this blog post for a freebie question checklist with all of the questions I am about to go through.
Here are my top 15 questions to ask your senior photographer before booking and why each question is important for booking your senior photographer early and why it’s so important:
1. What is your turnaround time?
Make sure your photographer has a reasonably quick turn-around time, or at least gives you an idea of when you can expect to see your session photos. You don’t want to get close to your graduation party and still not have your photos.
2. How do you deliver photos?
An online gallery is the most popular form of delivery. Make sure it is something that is easily accessible for yourself and when sharing with friends and family.
3. How long do we have access to the photos?
Verify you will have enough access time to go through them, make downloads and select prints.
4. How many outfit changes do you get with your session package?
Some photographers limit the number of outfits, which could be a deciding factor in who you hire.
5. How many locations do we get with your session package?
If variety in your photos is important to you, this is a must-ask question.
6. How long is a senior session?
Check to make sure you have enough time to get all of the outfits you’d like photographed, and to not feel super rushed. 1-2 hours is typically an average senior session.
7. Can we order prints and albums directly from you?
Find out how the photographer handles tangible products such as prints, albums, and digitals. Will you be able to print through a third party, or do you have to go through your photographer?
8. What is your backup system like?
Ensure you’re hiring a photographer who has a secure back-up system in place in case something happens to your digital files.
9. What is your cancellation policy?
Life happens. Make sure you know what you are signing up for in case you have to back out for any unforeseen reason.
10. Is my preferred season for your session available?
If you have always dreamed of your senior photos to be taken in the fall, but your photographer is already booked – you want to know that before you sign anything.
11. Do you offer retouching or corrective services?
Know if your photographer offers these services and to what extent they are included in the package. If they are not included, they may be on a quote-basis.
12. How much of the deposit do you require and when is it due?
Make sure you and the photographer are on the same page and determine how much you will have to pay upfront as well as how soon it the amount due to officially book your session.
13. Is the deposit refundable or transferable?
Again, life happens. Find out what you’re getting into and what will happen if something comes up and you can no longer make your scheduled session.
14. Do you have liability insurance?
Double-check that both you and your photographer will be covered in case of an injury while at your session.
15. Do you carry backup equipment?
Experienced photographers should always carry some sort of backup equipment on your session day. You would hate to get all ready, just for their gear to unexpectedly not work and not have a backup.
Because I care about this time in your life and want every senior to have an excellent experience with whomever their photographer is, here are some additional tips:
- Ask to see full galleries of recent senior sessions the photographer has done
- Ask your friends and family who they used for their senior photos
- Check out their “tagged” section on Instagram to see more of their work from real clients than what is on their curated feed
And that’s it! I hope you have found these questions useful as you head into this new journey of senior year. So, tell me, soon-to-be senior, what do you think is the most important question when looking for a photographer? Don’t forget – be sure to save the Question checklist freebie below so you never forget to ask your next photographer before officially booking. You just hold down your thumb on the image, save it to your phone and use the “markup” tool in your photos to check the boxes as you go!