I’m so sorry to hear that that happened to you! How rude! Absolutely charge a deposit, clients need accountability and a reminder that this is a professional exchange! I came up with something a little different for my deposit for 2 reasons. The first being that I wanted to make sure my clients saw their portraits at the very highest quality. If they go with their disk somewhere with low quality they see that it wasn’t my work because they have the comparison. Second is that with out charging much at the beginning I needed to not have any extra expenditures (packaging, shipping, etc.) covered Here is exactly what I say to clients;
” To secure your spot I ask for a $50 deposit. This deposit will than become a print credit to be used with your online gallery. (You will get a special code to use at check out). To secure your date and time just go to the blog (blog here). After the deposit is recieved you will get your welcome info, contracts and helpful hints for your up and coming session with Leah Remillet Photography. You session will than appear under ‘calender’ on the website. “
It’s been working so great that I won’t change it!
What is the breakdown of your process of BEFORE the photo shoot?
It always starts with the inquiry, because my email comes to my phone I can email back immediately (clients love this about me). I get whatever information I may need (session type, style they want, etc.) and I recommend some possible dates. I’m trying much harder to delegate the time slots and not just except whatever they suggest. In the beginning I wanted the job so bad that I often excepted shoots at really inconvenient times that often interfered with my family. Now I’m much more specific. I would say something like, “I have an opening on (a week or 2 away) or I can get you in next month” of course newborns are different.
After the date and place is decided (I often tell them that the time may be changed depending on the light) and deposit is received I send them the welcome email. It has my contracts, info on what to wear, my cell, directions to the location and other details.
The night before the shoot I sometimes will check up on my favorite photographer’s blog to get a little inspiration for that session type and make sure everything is ready. Charged battery, memory cards, extra battery for camera and flash and I pack my old rolling scrapbook case with whatever props, back drops I may need.
What kind of diffuser do you have and do you like it?
Diffuser… Ah. this has been my BIG personal topic. No I don’t have one, I’m in the process of buying one right now. I’m going with the Gary Fong. I’m getting the lightsphere (cloud) and the Studio wale tail. I’m worried that with the wedding (Nov 28th) I will need the Studio to get enough light but that on a normal portrait basis I’m going to want the smaller one. I’ve read a ton of reviews and everyone seems to love what they have (a little bitter they didn’t come up with it themselves) but I haven’t found anything about if you really need both. I’ll retouch on this once I have mine and let you know what I really think.
Do you have a tripod and if so what kind?
I have 3 tripods and they are all junk. I took the smallest to the fair (I didn’t want to lug anything to big) and it didn’t even hold up my camera. I would like to get a nice tripod someday but it’s really not a necessity for the type of photography I do. I need to be handhold so I can move and keep up. Most photographers that I know of (I’m talking the big kids) don’t use tripods either. So that makes me feel okay about it.