What Does a Photographer Actually Do? What I Wish Everyone Knew

What Does a Photographer Do?  What About a Destin Photographer?

Headshot photographerHeadshot with CameraHeadshot at Baytowne Wharf Destin Florida

We all know those people who whip out their smart phone, take a few pictures, and claim they are a photographer, right?  Is it not that easy?  Just take a few photos and deliver them to the client?  The truth is, photography is much more complicated than one might initially think.  Many potential photographers just entering the trade may benefit from this article.  Many jump in and then think, “Wow, this is going to be more work than I thought…”

So what do we actually do?

I’ll tell you. 

From start to finish (and this depends on what type of photography you are doing, also), I can throw my typical job of Destin photography into multiple categories:

  • Inquiry/Booking
  • Session itself
  • Post production/Editing
  • Photo presentation to client
  • Print Ordering/Setting up online galleries
  • Photo Delivery

The Inquiry Process

The obvious first step – inquiry and booking.  There is an extraordinary amount of ways to receive an inquiry, from advertising on social media, blogging, getting clicks on Google, referrals from other photographers, to getting your site recognized on a major online platform.

The actual inquiry process can be as quick as 30 minutes or as time consuming as 2 hours.  Typically, the client will ask for availability, pricing, and shot location.  Some clients aren’t very responsive so this process can take a while – sometimes more than a day, depending on their sense of urgency. Ok, so now we have invested some time into the process already and the client hasn’t even booked yet.

Assuming all of the client’s questions were answered and they want to contract your services, we now arrive at the booking phase.

I know all photographers in Destin would agree: don’t book a session without a contract.  The contract establishes the terms for the services provided.  A good contract takes quite some time to develop (even with online templates) but will protect the photographer and client so there are no gray lines.  This also adds a bit of professionalism as a photography business.  

Some of the contents of a good contract would include:

  • Your contact info and names for the client and your business
  • Date in which the session will take place
  • Summary of services performed and what the client is expected to do
  • A cancellation policy
  • Copyright and Rights for Transfer
  • How clients can use your images
  • Liability for the photographer

After the contract is generated for the client and he or she signs it, we can move to the day of the photo session.

Once booked, we then discuss attire, hair, requested poses/shots, and plan the session together.  This allows for the day of the session to be organized and my clients know what to expect.

The Photo Session

picture of family of hugging on beachdestin-fl-beach-portrait

Ok, so now we have the client booked and have scheduled a day to capture their memories.  The client has received proper direction for what they are expected to wear and maybe a few tips for their hair and accessories.

Looks like we have invested a good deal of time already – we haven’t even taken the pictures yet!

As a photographer in Destin FL, most of my clients are looking for family beach photography so that is the example of the session I will provide.

On the day of the portrait session, I like to make sure I have all my equipment together, batteries charged, and ready to go an hour before the session.  I usually let my client know that I am excited for our session and can’t wait to start!

Once we are at the beach, I coordinate with the family and pose them for the type of shots they want.  We will also do some extra candid shots and even some fun shots.  Sometimes I will even let the clients try some fun poses they found on pinterest. 

The whole process can take between 1-2 hours depending on the size of the group or if they have children (definitely try to get shots of the kids first, they usually have short attention spans!). 

After the session, now it is time to gather all equipment and clean it so we can keep it in great condition.  Plus, who likes sand in their car?!

Post Production/Editing

Ah, post production.  This is the side of photography that the client doesn’t get to see.  This can also be the most time intensive part of photography.  We, as photographers, want to provide you – the client – with the best possible product so that you can enjoy your memories for years to come.  To do that, we have to edit!

So what does this process entail?  Well first, we have to go through all of our photos and select the ones that have the most potential.  Great poses, smiles, backgrounds – all of these can make it into our final selections.  Without a solid foundation in your image, all the editing in the world wouldn’t propel it past an image with excellent poses, smiles, creativity, and/or background.

Now we have the images selected we want to edit.  What are some things to focus on? 

Here are some examples of some of the things that would be corrected:

  • Crop
  • Fix distortion
  • Deal with noise reduction
  • Color adjustments
  • Sharpening
  • Retouching
  • clone out unwanted people or objects in the backgrounds

There are many things that go into photo editing – there too many to list here!

Great! We finally finished editing our client’s photos.  Typically, this can take between 2-20 hours!  Though, it depends on how many photos the client is paying for.  Wedding photos will take considerably longer to prepare than beach photos simply due to the sheer volume being taken.  You have to go through them all to ensure your client gets the very BEST images!  The least involved process definitely goes to mini-sessions.

Photo Presentation

Our gallery is now ready to show the client.  If we are doing IPS (In-person sales), we would be showcasing the photos to the client in person, generally.  This will take more time because they have to look at the photos and decide what type of package they want to purchase, if any.  Otherwise, we are still waiting for the client to view the gallery and let us know their selection.

But wait

The client likes a few pictures but the one that she really likes needs further editing.  Perhaps there was a skin blemish or she wants a head swap because she doesn’t like her smile in that picture.  She really wants to keep it because the kids did such a good job. 

Situations like these are not uncommon and will require additional time devoted to the editing phase.

The final sale can be as quick as 1-2 hours if the client is satisfied with the photos.  If you have to backtrack to the editing phase, that will increase the time spent on the client by the photographer.

Print Ordering

Sweet!  Your client wants to order some prints or maybe even a canvas.  We now have to select those photos for printing.

Depending on how many prints are requested, this can take a few hours or more.  Each image may not be optimal for the size the client is wanting.  So we have to re edit the image to fit the size for the material.

When we order the prints, we have to consider things like:

  • File size and resolution
  • Dimensions
  • What are we printing on?  Canvas, acrylic, or photographic paper?
  • Monitor calibration

After we order the photos, we arrive at the final step of the process.  Delivering them to the client!

Photo Delivery

Since I mainly do Destin Florida beach photography, most of my clients are on vacation and are typically easy to get in touch with.  The delivery process can be easy by simply emailing the link and done. For example, 

However, let’s say that my client ordered a massive frame! That will take much longer to prepare and the client may even want it delivered to their house.  The delivery phase is volatile and inconsistent because of this.

And there you have it!  From inquiry to photo delivery – the overall process for one client is intensive. 

Are you someone that is curious about what photographers do?  Or are you someone looking to become a photographer and just wanting to know more about the process?  Regardless, I hope this blog has helped you to understand the life of a photographer better!

If you want to contact me about booking, click here.  Interested in pricing?  Click here.

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