As a photographer, it’s my duty to teach the client about the worth and investment of getting professional photos taken. There’s much that goes into the making of a truly great photograph, and it rides heavily on the skill of the photographer AND the effort the client puts in. What you put in is what you get out. So let me take a moment to explain what all goes into the end product photographs you receive, and what you as the client can do to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
The photo process, when regarding a quality photographer, is not simple nor fast. It requires years of practicing and honing skills, understanding how light works in all kinds of situations, purchasing expensive equipment, learning modeling posing and tricks for all body types and how to communicate directions to the model/client, on-the-spot problem solving and creative thinking, a knowledge of color grading in a post-processing program and retouching and further tweaking in Photoshop (as well as the time it takes to do all this per image). Then, if the photographer sells prints/albums/etc, there’s a whole ‘nother additional amount of time for creating online galleries, communicating with the client about what they’d like to order, designing the layout of a photo album, placing the order, etc. All this–the skill, the equipment, the time (travel, session, communication, post processing/retouching, ordering), and the demand of the photographer–dictates of the photographer’s pricing. As you can see, there’s a lot involved behind the scenes that the client does not see.
So what can you do to ensure your photos are the best they can be? Lots! If you have an equine shoot, do take the extra step to pretty your horse(s). Bath and clip them, braid or band their mane and forelock, pull their tail, polish their hooves. Clean any tack they’ll be wearing for the shoot, even if it’s just a halter and lead. This all makes a huge difference. In the time leading up to the shoot, work with your horse daily on standing still in-hand, taking one step forward, backing up, and moving off the shoulder. The worst thing is when a horse doesn’t respect its handler and doesn’t stand still long enough to let you to pose with him and allow the photographer to take some shots. Talk about money down the drain! To help your horse out, make sure you feed him before the shoot (even if it’s just a flake or two of hay if it’s not around mealtime). Also, purposefully lunge the extra energy out of him, and minimize distractions (put horses in the field away if you are able). As for yourself, try your outfits on prior to the shoot to make sure there won’t be any issues with bra straps showing, or a dress being too short on horseback, etc. Make yourself look your best too! Ladies: wear makeup for the shoot. Something I require at my shoots is to make sure you bring a helper. This could be a parent, your trainer, or equine knowledgeable friend. The Helper will be the one to fix your hair if a section is out of place, or wipe your horse’s nose if he snotted. They are my extra pair of hands so I can keep my focus on picture-taking, and you can focus on looking awesome (and staying clean!)
And that’s that! Putting in all the effort you can is truly worth it in the end and will aid in catching some timeless shots you can cherish forever!