What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
Yes, typically, I have packages - that start at a specific number for different types of photography - the families, seniors, weddings, special events. I do add travel costs into the pricing for distance, and I do take into account finances for specific clients. I allow for payments - prior to their session as needed. I take deposits on the 'bigger' sessions, i.e. weddings, etc.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Although in person is always best, it doesn't always happen like that. I love to talk to them, ask some questions, then listen carefully to what they want, they expect, and what they need. It is all taken into consideration - I am usually very personable with them, and always professional! I find that if they have already viewed some of my work, it helps to know what they like - not everyone is a fit for a specific photographer. If we weren't a fit, I would recommend another person/photographer for them to view their work. I take a lot of notes in our discussions - and include those in my working relationship with the customer. It helps to know something about your client. While, a new person is a potential customer, they become my client - much more to a personal relationship.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Having my camera with me all the time, is always a learning experience - you never know when that special photo opportunity will happen. I always follow other photography & photographer websites, and select tutorials and other learning materials for my continuing education. I seek inspirations for my growth as a photographer.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I LOVE photography, and seeing my own visuals coming to life in a photo. I have been taking photos "for fun" since I was a child - with my first simple camera, a Kodak and Polaroid. My family would always ask me to take photos at our personal events, and I did it. Once I 'retired', I continued my education, and learned so much more about photo editing, and what it could do to enhance photos (though I try to get great photos right out of the camera first). I wanted to do more and started out by shooting a wedding basically for free, I participated in a photography club, and Photoshop membership and got some great feedback - I decided that I wanted to share it with more people. Here I am following my passions - photography and owning my own business!
What types of customers have you worked with?
Weddings, and then the family sittings. In the fall, I will start back up at the local dirt racetrack - there go the Saturday evenings! I love the races - the camaraderie is wonderful! I also enjoy making a woman feel good about herself with the boudoir/glamour sittings. The ladies are very interesting in how they feel about themselves at the beginning and then relax in the middle, and the photos are beautiful! The weddings make memories forever for the brides/grooms - and love being a part of it!
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
A photographer that will listen to you, and still make good suggestions to you.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Being a professional photographer really is important to your special event(s). We don't just take the photos and then edit and print. There is so much more, the pre-planning & preparation, actual photography where ever we are - true involvement, post planning & preparation - the retrieval of the photos, previewing possibly hundreds of photos (yours), processing (editing, cropping, etc.), setup preview for you, selection, possibly more processing & another preview, sending to professional printer, getting photos back from printer, your preview and receipt of photos, and your happiness and satisfaction of course! For a 1 or more hours photo shoot, the professional has probably spent more than 15 hours from pre to your satisfaction. A professional photographer that loves their professional will be passionate about making their clients happy - and though the cost may seem high to you, it will be worth every penny!