What to Expect on a Session With Me
All the technicalities, services, and products you can expect if you book a session with me.
There’s so many photographers to pick from for all the different types of photos you might need, and along with that variety comes a wide variety of photographers. Some people take your photos and then you have to buy prints to get them, others just give the digital files, some get you photos in a week and others can take up to 6 months. It’s so important to know what you can expect, in order to avoid frustration. If you expect photos within a few weeks and they end up getting delivered in a few months instead, you’re not going to be happy (understandably).
I wrote an entire blog on stuff to look at when you’re hiring a photographer to make sure you get the best one for you. You can check it out with this link. Today though, I’m discussing what you can expect specifically from a session with me. If you pick me as a photographer, you’ll get this information as well but I think it’s important to know all this before you pay for your session.
Before the Session
Communication: Our whole interaction begins with some kind of correspondence, whether that’s a phone call, email, or contact form. I firmly believe that the best way to run a business and create a pleasant experience for clients is clear and quick communication. I will always contact you within 24 hours of getting the message. I will happily clarify any questions you may have and will send as many emails as needed so you feel prepared for your session. I can assure you that I won’t be leaving your questions unanswered. Though the situation is rare, if I am out of service for more than 24 hours, I will update social media and my email to let you know when I’ll be able to get in touch.
Deposit and Contract: After our correspondence, we’ll select a date together. In order to secure this date, there is a contract for us both to sign and a 20% deposit. This may sound scary but it’s a safety net for both of us! It guarantees that I will not schedule another session on your date and outlines exactly what you will receive from me. So before money is even exchanged, we’ve both signed a document promising a certain outcome from the session. On my end, it protects me from things like if you roll your ankle while hiking, I get deathly ill, or other potential problems. The deposit you put down on the session is nonrefundable. This is simply because there’s only so many slots I can book that have the light I need to create great photos for my clients. If I reserve a date months in advance and there’s a sudden cancellation, I’m not able to book another session and I lose an entire photo slot.
Location Selection: Part of my job is finding the perfect spot for your photos! I’ll give you options and ask what kind of environment you want. With that information, I’ll scout the location in person before I take you there. You’re also welcome to pick your own spot if there’s a special location! I’ll still scout it out and make sure it will create the best photos for your session.
Elopement Timeline: As a photographer, I have a unique perspective on how to plan the best elopement day! I assume you’re new to it since the goal is to have only one wedding your whole life. I’ll take the idea of your perfect day and turn it into reality! Odds are, we’ll make some modifications before it’s finalized. It’s your day so it has to be the right schedule for you first and foremost. I’ll let you know pros and cons for ideas you have, but you make the final decision on how to use your time.
Vendor Recommendations: This is another place where working in the elopement business is helpful! I can help you fill in any gaps for vendors with those I’ve worked with in the past or those recommended by fellow photographers. You’re also welcome to just select the other vendors on your own!
Essential Photo List: I have a draft of this already that you can use, which you can add to or cut down. On an elopement day, it’s easy to get caught up in all the activities and forget to get a specific photo. We’ll work together before your day to make sure we get to every photo you want. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to remember that one photo you wanted in the middle of the best day of your life. I’ll have the list and make sure they all get covered from there!
During the Session
Payment: The first thing we have to deal with on session day is payment (bleh, lame). You don’t have to pay me the rest of the fee until I show up at your session. However, I will not take pictures until full payment. This is for my safety and also to make sure you get the photos I take! You’re welcome to pay in advance if you don’t want to worry about it or wait until the session if that makes you feel better.
Posing: I hear it all the time, “I’m not good in front of the camera,” and all the variations of that. Don’t worry, this is also my job. You don’t need to come in with a 50 pins off Pinterest and we run through that list for your session. I already have a set of poses in mind from previous sessions and my own Pinterest boards. I do recommend you check other photos before our session as well! Also know that I may not be able to replicate all pins from Pinterest. I’ll cover the bulk of the poses but if you find a unique one you want, I’m happy to add it in! If you know what you want before we start, we’ll guarantee we get all the photos you want.
Safety: As an outdoorswoman, I have experience staying safe in nature. If your adventure is outside my comfort or skill, I’ll be upfront and let you know. My first priority is to make sure you’re 200% safe. I carry a first aid kit with me, I am first aid certified, and I carry a wide array of safety equipment for the environment we’re in.
I don’t put my couples in dangerous situations or on sharp cliffs under any circumstances. Even if you are okay with it and want to be a daredevil, I don’t have the depth of training to assure you that you’ll be safe in that situation. So even if you want to do it, it’s still a hard no. I’d rather lose a job versus put someone’s life in danger. There’s lots of SAFE places we can get epic overlooks and lots of angles I can use to make it look like you’re on a cliff. Your safety comes first and photos come later.
Leave No Trace: During our session, we will be practicing leave no trace (LNT). If we’re going to use public land, we’re going to take care of it and make sure everyone else that follows can enjoy it as well. This goes from picking up garbage to staying on established trails to making sure other people can still enjoy the area. You can read up more on LNT here! I’ll help guide you through as well if you’re new to LNT.
Adventure You’ll Enjoy: I might be an adventure elopement photographer but I too do not feel like hiking 10 miles. I also have short legs and totally understand the keeping up with a tall person struggle. To top it off, you’re going to be in wedding gear. I say all of this to emphasize that we’ll do an adventure at a level you’re comfortable with at a speed you’re comfortable with.
After the Session
Preview: The first thing you’ll get after our session is a preview of your photos within 24 hours. I totally understand that you’re excited to see your photos and I want to let you see them ASAP! You can expect around 5-10 images in your preview. I’ll send you full resolution digital files to download. No watermarks, logos, or low quality images.
Timeline: It will take around 4-6 weeks to get your photos back. The turnaround depends on how many sessions I have at the time, but I will always get them to your as soon as possible. For elopements, I will send you a larger preview online and you will receive the rest of your photos on a thumb drive in the mail.
For adventure sessions, you will get your photos back in around 2 weeks. All your images will be delivered on an online gallery.
Unedited Photos: Part of my art is how I chose to edit your images. If someone else edits my images or if I don’t add my special flare, they’re not my work anymore. For this reason, there is no option for you to receive the unedited images. Make sure you check out my photos closely before you hire me to make sure my art matches up with what you like! I can assure you that I’ll include all the important photos of your day and not skip on those small moments.
Posting Online: When you post your photos online, I just ask that you keep them as is (no Instagram filters!) and tag my photography account, @venturingvows. It helps us out so much! You’d be amazed how much work I’ll get from you simply tagging me.
Leave a Review: If you have the time, leaving a review is another huge way to help small business owners! The one thing I ask is that if you have a problem with the photos you received, talk to me about it first! Odds are, I don’t even know there was a problem and I can help you out to solve it. My main goal is to make sure you’re happy with the final product you receive. Your elopement is important and I’m here to make sure it’s everything you hoped for.
Getting Your Photos Later: Let’s say you lost all your elopement photos when a hard drive crashes (ahhhhhh!). I have your photos stored if I’ve taken them within the last 5 years (unless I’ve had some kind of technical or theft issue - unlikely, but possible!). Feel free to reach out and I can help you get those photos back. I just ask that you cover any charges associated with me resending your images.
Still have more questions for what a session with me would look like? Feel free to ask in the comments or send me a message! I know photography can seem like a foreign language and I’m happy to serve as your translator.
Want to learn some more?
Here's a link to more information on my role as a photographer on your day and my rates.
Here's another link to all my informational blog posts on eloping.