THINGS TO ASK FOR WHEN HIRING A PET PHOTOGRAPHER:
1. Does the pet photographer photograph pets (and pets with their people) exclusively?
A photographer who photographs anything (weddings, families, newborns, etc.) may not understand that a dog or cat may not be willing to stay in one place. Human beings understand it. Dogs and cats have smells to sniff out and balls to chase.
2. Do you have pets of your own?
Pets are very special beings. Until you have one of your own, you will never really understand them. Your pet’s photographer should bond well with your special furry friend. Natural-looking photos are created when your pet is comfortable.
3. What are the photographers’ printing prices?
Beware of “free portrait sessions” (contests excluded) and incredibly cheap portrait session rates. Let’s be honest; photographers have to earn a living. If the photographer is not charging you upfront, they will charge you higher prices for printing and products. REMEMBER: Ask to see your print prices before booking a session.
4. Is there a minimum print order fee?
For example, your portrait session may have only cost you $ 75.00, but if the photographer requires an order of at least $ 350.00 worth of products. You have now spent $ 425.00 and you may not even like the photos. Look for a photographer who doesn’t require you to order a certain dollar amount of product. REMEMBER: Ask if there is a minimum print order fee.
5. Does the photographer charge a minimum reorder fee?
When reordering additional photos, photographers sometimes charge a fee in addition to the price of the print. REMEMBER: Ask if there is a fee and how much it costs to order prints after your initial order.
6. Do you put a time limit on a photo shoot?
My experience is that dogs will be dogs and cats will be cats. They do what they want to do and they don’t really care if time is ticking. Let’s say you book a 30-minute “mini” session, and just when the photographer says time is up, your pet strikes the most adorable pose he’s ever had. Do you want that shot to miss because you were on a time limit? I don’t want that pressure and I won’t put it on your pet’s session. Also, how much will they charge if they continue after 30 minutes.
7. What is the photographer’s website like?
The website can actually answer Question 1. If you open the site and the cover photo is of a newlywed couple on the beach embracing each other, that’s a clue that the photographer isn’t just focusing on pets. Also, in terms of the photos on the site, these are the best photos the photographer has to offer. Our best work is what we show on the World Wide Web. If you’re not thrilled with the quality of those photos, chances are you’re not thrilled with the final product.
8. How much work does a photographer dedicate to images of your pet?
Be careful if a photographer is willing to hand you a multitude of images on a DVD. Are these images as is, slightly enhanced, or really clean? Slightly enhanced requires a click of a button, while cleaning up an image and giving it that professional look can take an hour or more. If a photographer offers you more than 50 images and claims that the images are really clean. Do the math; that’s more than 50 hours of work.
9. What kind of camera and lenses do they use?
If you are paying for a professional photography session, you deserve a high-end camera with the best lenses available. Cameras that you can buy yourself from a big package store can produce wonderful images, but in the digital world, a camera with a large sensor and a lens that can focus your pet’s image on that large sensor is why you pay a professional.
10. Do you like the photographer, do your pets like them?
Your photoshoot should be a fun and comfortable event. You don’t want to hire a photographer who makes you and your pet uncomfortable.
11. Do you offer an online test gallery?
An online test gallery allows you to view it from the comfort of your home. You do not have to go to your workplace to see your tests. Worse still, the photographer may insist on coming to your home to show you the evidence. The pressure to be done that “favor” puts you in the uncomfortable position of having to criticize the photos in front of the photographer. Whether in your office or at home, you should expect to be pressured to order right away.
12. What are the product price comparisons?
Compare the prices of photographers’ products: how much is an 11 by 14, how much is a book, what size is it, etc. Photographers should be able to provide you with a price list.
13. Where do you process your photos?
Photographers in the digital age have many options. They can use a professional photo lab or a big package store like Sam’s Club or Costco or local Long’s Drugs. Again, nothing against those places, but that is why you hired a professional. Can you see the difference!
WHY I WRITTEN THIS:
When I got married, I hired a fantastic photographer. His session fee was a bit high, but he believed it would produce great photos. She did. The problem: their print prices were so astronomical that we could hardly afford to buy them. Five years after the fact (when I had a little more money) I approached her to buy additional photos. Their prices had risen. So there are my wedding photos in a file drawer in a photographer’s little gallery, which means nothing to the photographer and a lot to me.
I want you to have photos of your pets, so I charge a reasonable session fee and keep my product prices low.