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  • Writer's pictureGraham Bewley

So, How do Photoshoots Work?

And How to pick the best photographer for you?

These are questions that come up a lot and something you might be thinking about right now, as most people do not have photoshoots all the time and it's not something people normally consider until they start having kids.

To put it simply, there are 3 main ways photographers or studios might operate, though there may be variations or a mixture of the 3 depending on the service you are after, but generally, there really are only 3.

And in this Blog, I will be going over the three ways most photographers and studios operate and explaining the pros and cons of each, so you can then pick the way that suits your needs, and then find the right photographer or studio for you.

My name is Graham Bewley, a full-time photographer, and photography business owner, but also more importantly a father to two amazing boys.

Using my knowledge as a photographer and running a studio, plus being a parent, I hope to educate and guide you so that your well informed when it comes to taking your own photography and also when hiring a professional.

So let’s get down to it…

As I mentioned there are 3 main ways a photographer or studio may run their photoshoots.

The 1st way you might see photographers operate is by having ‘One Single Flat Fee’.

Generally, this will include most digitals from the shoot, maybe some prints, and occasionally the option to purchase wall art on top. With this way of working most will either ask for the full amount before the shoot or half up front and the other half when you get the finished photos.

This way of working is generally, but not all the time, associated with new or part-time photographers, as it is less hassle and not time-consuming for them to organise.

The benefit for you as a customer with the ‘Single Flat Fee’ option is you know what you're paying beforehand. It is very quick and easy to arrange and generally speaking, you’ll get most of the photos from the shoot digitally, so a lot of quantity for your money.

As with all the ways a photographer might operate it is up to you to determine the quality and style that suits your needs.

The downside for you as a customer is the fact you have no idea what you are paying 'for' beforehand. You’ll most likely get a disc, USB, or online gallery when the images are done, and that will be the first time you’ll see the photos, right at the end, once you have paid.

So, there is a lot higher risk involved for you. Also, you more than likely, be left to sort out your own prints or wall art, without any expert advice or access to professional printers.

The 2nd and probably the most popular way a photographer or studio might operate is with ‘Set Packages’.

This normally works by paying a session fee for your shoot or a deposit, then after your shoot you will be presented with an online gallery to pick your photos at your leisure, or an in-person viewing back at the studio. You can then pick the package that best suits you from the photos you like.

Some photographers or studios might get you to pick the package you would like before the shoot at the booking stage before a single photo is taken.

If there are items you would like outside of the packages, like canvases or extra prints, generally, you would pay for these separately.

The Advantage of picking a photographer that works with ‘Set Packages’ is, you will generally know what sort of price you will be paying, you’ll be able to budget, and you’ll know what you’re getting for your money. It is also a lot easier to compare two very similar photographers.

The main Disadvantages are, you will be tied into what the photographer or studio has set in their packages and they might not be willing to change it around. Also, if there are not a lot of photos you really want, you might end up paying for photos you do not need just to fill up the package.

You also generally won’t be able to buy one single print or canvas on its own, you must pick a package to start with.

The 3rd way and probably the least common way a photographer or studio might operate is ‘Al a Carte’ a menu-based system.

This system works generally by paying a session or studio fee upfront when booking. This covers the shoot, use of equipment, hair and make-up, etc. This fee generally doesn’t include any products, just the shoot.

After the photo shoot you’ll be asked back to view the photos in an in-person viewing. This is where you can select the photos you would like and then, from the list or menu of products the photographer or studio has, be able to select how you would like them. You then only pay for the photos you like and how you would like to keep them.

These studios might still do packages, but they are generally called ‘collections’, where they have put together the most popular items they do. The difference is you're not paying for the collection upfront and you don’t have to go for them at all.

This system is generally used by specialist studios or photographers, that might have a unique style.

The advantage to choosing a photographer or studio that works ‘Al a Carte’ is the amount of choice and freedom you have, to get the photos you want and how you want them. Meaning there is a lot less risk for you as a customer because you’re only paying for the photos you like and how you want them. So if you just want one canvas or one Print, you more than likely can.

The main disadvantage for you as the customer is the cost. This way of working could be seen as the most expensive option, with the freedom of choice to pick what you want having a higher price tag, as the studio or photographer are taking more risk. It is also harder to compare photographers when you have a few you like. Also, it might be harder to budget for.

So, to go over and review ‘How Photo Shoots Work’, well there are 3 main ways a photographer or studio might choose to work.

1st you have the ‘One single flat fee’, generally a lot of quantity for your money, mainly digitals only. The most common option for new or part-time photographers. Great because you know what your paying upfront, but you do not know what you are going to get in the end.

2nd you have the ‘Package’ way of working, the most common, where you choose a set package the photographer or studio have put together. Great for knowing what to budget and comparing photographers, but you might end up paying for photos you don’t need or products you don’t want.

And lastly ‘Al a carte’ a menu-based way of working, common for specialists or those with their own style. Where you choose what photos you would like and how you would like them. But maybe the most expensive way as the photographer or studio is taking more of the risk.

When searching for a photographer or studio to get photos taken, my advice would be to find out which of the 3 ways they work, so you know what to expect.

Make sure you look over the photos they have taken previously so you know their style, as each photographer shoots differently, as it is an art form.

Plus think of how much risk you are willing to take as a customer. The ‘One Single Flat Fee’ option for photo shoots might have the most risk vs ‘Al a Carte’ where you are generally taking less risk, but with a higher cost involved.

I hope you have found this useful. If you have any questions or any other topics you would like me to go over for you, please write them in the comments.


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