Frequently asked questions

Your terms say 50% up front with booking, why can’t I pay after the shoot on 30 days?

Most commercial photographers will ask for a non-refundable deposit or a percentage up front. This is for a couple of reasons, which look after both parties.

The deposit confirms and secures the session date for both parties. It means that any props required for the shoot can be purchased prior to the date, and the photographer can clear the day for that company alone.

It also means that if there is a cancellation or the client doesn’t turn up for any reason, the photographer has covered their costs. Even if a job cancels a week before, a photographer would be hard pushed to find another job to fill that date so quickly, which means they’ve lost revenue that has been included in their accounts, cash forecast and projected income. We unfortunately don’t get paid anything unless we work. So as with others we have to protect ourselves.

The final amount is due on delivery of the final images so the business is covered as the photographer will want to do a great job to receive their final payment for that commission. 30-day invoices work well for big businesses; however, a photographer is normally a small business with either one or maybe two people working there. Cash flow is of upmost important to continue so I work with amazing clients and businesses that understand how I work and appreciate the creative images I produce for them.

Rather than delivery my products to you. Can you not come to me to take my product photography for e-commerce?

To produce images good enough for e-commerce sites and Amazon for example, a product needs to be photographed within a studio environment. Sadly, it’s very hard and takes a long time to recreate a fully working studio in a new location each time. It would take a long time which would cost a lot more.

My clients know and trust me with their products, from expensive jewellery to hampers packed with produce. We always have a conversation prior to delivery, regarding style and angles of a product range, so I know when I receive the delivery exactly what I need to do.

All products delivered to me are delivered back if required on recorded delivery, or if it’s local I will hand deliver them back to the client once photographed.

Some products I shoot are perishable like food and confectionary and are not any good for sales once they’ve been handled in the studio under hot lights, so they will be disposed of safely. Most products will have to be taken out of its packaging or box and shot bare, so I always make sure clients are not sending me their only sample.

Shoots are agreed on a date and the products need to arrive at least a day before the shoot to unpack and take stock of what I’m going to do and in case anything is missing in the delivery.

Can you recreate photos that I like. How do I share those images with you?

I can certainly create pictures to have the same feel and style to ones that you like. Recreating images from another photographer is not illegal but morally it doesn’t sit right with me.

Another reason is that your business is unique and to stand out from others in the field you want to look different from the rest, so why would you want to copy exactly what others have already done? I’m always happy to take the essence of an image you like but put a twist on the image to make it unique and bespoke to your business.

That said, giving me images that you like is encouraged totally. Set up a Pinterest board and share with me images that you like and styles you feel your business should be showing off. From that I can see a pattern and we can discuss that and plan your bespoke shoot.

Can you come to my business for staff headshots and how much room do you need for your backdrop?

I always suggest coming to your premises for headshots. By doing this it’s less likely to disrupt the everyday running of your office or place of work. My mobile setup is designed to ensure you receive the best quality, natural headshots for you and your staff. Pre-shoot, I will discuss the style of headshot required. Produce a schedule with you, with times for each staff member to allow the photo shoot to flow.

I can easily set up in a meeting room, but I do need a fair amount of space to be able to set up lights and backdrops and have enough room to move. If you’re having a conference in a nearby venue sometimes it’s better to coincide the staff headshots with that and a meeting room in a hotel is normally a good size.

That said if you’re happy to have staff photographed without a backdrop then I don’t need as much space so I can use a blank wall, a bookshelf or something aesthetically pleasing instead.

I take the time to talk to all staff before they have their photo taken to ensure they’re relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera, resulting in natural pleasing images.

You have a minimum charge of £250 plus VAT, why if I just want one photo why should I agree to this?

Most photographers will have a minimum charge and it’s normally their hourly rate. So, this is my hourly rate.

When we come out to do a shoot for a client who wants “just one photo” it’s not that simple even though it might seem that way. We don’t just take one photo and give you that. We will take at least 30 to 50 images in order to get that one photo that a client will be happy to use. This is because, for example, with headshots, small facial expressions, eyes being closed, people looking nervous, and lighting adjustments.

Also, after this the editing process is still the same as someone who wants 30 photos. We still have to go through the images and select the ones that are worth post production. Our equipment is expensive, so we need to cover costs of use for that and the software used to produce the final image. We might have to travel 30 minutes in order to take that one photo and this might take an hour to do the round trip. So, for just one headshot it will cost you a minimum charge of £250 plus VAT.

But, why not use that to ask for more than one photo, let’s get a series of photos that you can use for all occasions in business. Social Media, Blogs, Website, and personal appearances. I feel it’s fair to charge a minimum fee in order for me to have the resources to do a brilliant job for that you as my client.

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© 2020 by Sarah Bennett Commercial Photography, East Sussex

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© Sarah Bennett Commercial Photography