If you type into Google search "Chicago portrait photographers" you'll be met with hundreds of results and likely become suuuuper overwhelmed trying to choose one. How do you even begin to narrow down the search and find the right photographer for your needs? Here are 5 questions that you can ask potential photographers before you book to help you find differences between them.
What's Included In The Price?
Some photographers choose to include all digital files in the price of the shoot. Some (like myself), break it down into a session fee that covers the time and talent of the photographer, an in-person consult prior to the session to go over your details and ideas, and then an ordering session after the portrait session where you can purchase products like digital files and albums separately. You'll want to be clear on what's included in the price that your photographer has given you, which can usually be cleared up simply by asking them.
Are You Available & How Do I Reserve My Date?
Of course you're going to want to see if your photographer is available on your date if you're a wedding, but portrait sessions should ask about this too. Portrait photographers can book months out, even up until the next year, so if you're inquiring about a specific day (like a birthday or anniversary), you'll want to make sure they're free at the time you need.
Photographers typically require a certain to be paid prior to the session to reserve the date and time. This will change on what type of event you're having photographed, but it can range anywhere from 30% for weddings to 50% for portrait sessions required down before they'll reserve your date.
What Happens If It Rains?
It's always good to have a backup plan, and likely your photographer will. In my business I keep an eye on the weather for the week leading up, and about 3-4 days out if it looks like it's going to rain for their session, I send them an email with options of what we can do along with my recommended route. Living in Chicago makes you get crafty when dealing with dreary weather. ;)
How Far Are You Willing To Travel?
If your desired location is within the general area of your photographer than this likely won't be a problem, but if you're looking into the nearest major city, a destination session, or somewhere else that's 30+ miles away then your photographer might need to charge you for those extra miles.
What Retouching/Editing Is Included?
I include simple retouching for my clients - that's editing the colors to my style as a photographer, making the white balance consistent throughout the photographs, cropping, and light skin retouching. Most photographers will edit the colors to match their style and check the white balance, but skin retouching and major edits (think smoothing wrinkles in the clothes, or Photoshopping out tattoos) are usually additional costs.
There are definitely more specific questions out there that you might need to ask your photographer based on your needs, but this is a good place to start the conversation and make sure you're on the same page. :)