What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
A lot goes into the pricing for a photo shoot, including the output that the customer has requested, the technical difficulty of the shoot, and the time that would be invested. When you're shopping for a quality photographer, keep in mind that only the first third (or less!) of the photographers time happens behind the camera! The rest is spent in reviewing the images, selecting the most compelling and powerful, and then post-processing the images that make the final cut!
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I look forward to getting to know my customers, so the first meeting is important! It's always low pressure, and "get to know you" oriented. Then we talk about what they are looking for in the photography, and discuss the best way to capture that.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I was trained and mentored by a high-end wedding photography when I was in college, and I have studied photography and post-processing formally and informally ever since. Mostly I depend on my ability to help my models and subjects feel comfortable, and use composition, context and lighting to create dynamic images.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I started in the darkroom, working with real negatives and photo paper and chemicals. Watching a print emerge from the "chemistry" (photographic fluids) was magical to me. From there, an innate ability with composition, lighting and vision allowed me to make photography a central part of my life.
What types of customers have you worked with?
In portrait photography, I work with all kinds of people - from shy high school students, to corporate bigwigs, to professional actors, to aspiring models. It all starts with a vision, and a relationship, and a desire to collaborate with the customer.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I recently shot a series of fine-art bridal portraits for a wedding-day bride. This was a repeat customer, so she knows my work, and appreciates how I interact with her during the shoot. That builds trust, so we start off right away making dynamic images. There's some planning and some dreaming involved, but it all comes down to allowing her to have fun, and my ability to create a mood and then capture the moment.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Feel free to look around, and try to get an idea of who wants to connect with you as a person, and who is only interested in you as a paycheck. Look for a photographer who not only delivers great results behind the camera, but who will invest in the sorting and post-processing, and who will engage with you on what kind of photos you want to have, and on collaborating to make something amazing happen.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Be realistic about your expectations - and spend some time on Pinterest or Flickr finding some sample images that reflect what you want to achieve. This visual communication is very helpful to make sure you are on the same page! On Thumbtack, don't ask your photographer to be a Hair & Make Up specialist too - it's best if you have a separate budget for that. And be willing to have a conversation - look for people skills as well as a strong portfolio.