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  • Jess

Help! My photographer turned down my portrait session!

You've settled on a budget. You've decided on the vibe you're going for with your portrait session. You've managed to coordinate your party and pick a date and time. You've spent time researching photographers in the area and had your initial consultation. Everything looks to be on track for your much-anticipated photography session, and then.....your photographer decides not to proceed.


So, what happened?


If you feel comfortable asking, ask your photographer. It's okay to express disappointment or frustration that things fell through and ask for details. Some photographers are comfortable explaining, while others may be more vague. Either way, if you choose to ask for more info, accept what they tell you and move on without pushback. At the end of the day, a photographer is running a business and can choose which clients to take on and which to turn down.


Perhaps you're not as straightforward, or your photographer was vague, and now you're agonizing over what happened. (I get it - I'm a non-confrontational, introverted individual, too.) Booking a photography session requires building a good rapport between the client and the photographer. Consider how vulnerable and awkward being in front of the camera can feel. Consider further individual artistic preferences and client wants and needs. Client questionnaires, and consultations are critical to aiding a photographer in understanding whether they can fulfill a client's needs and if it will be a good relationship for them to build. Photographers want happy clients who will love and appreciate the art that they've created. They have to recognize when their style does not match their potential client's vision and steer them toward someone more in line with the client's expectations and desires.


Another factor to keep in mind is the total time investment for the photographer. What does their booking calendar look like? What kind of work-life balance are they striving to achieve? Is the prospective shoot slated to be an exceptionally involved session, or will it require extra time in postprocessing? An overbooked photographer will not be able to serve their clients to the best of their ability, which isn't fair to anyone involved.


It's also possible the photographer cannot meet your expectations within your budget. Every completed session is a reflection of a photographer's skill. Even if a client is content with a certain caliber of work, the photographer may not feel comfortable sending out subpar work into the world with their name on it. Photographers have bills to pay, too, and need to make sure the work they do is profitable. It's unfortunate and often an extremely uncomfortable decision to make.


Yet another possibility - your personality may not mesh well with the photographer. There are any number of reasons this could be the case. We simply are unable to make everyone like us. And that's okay! How can a photographer hope to capture organic images and highlight your personality if one or both parties are uneasy with the other?


This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but I hope it helps explain some possibilities and puts your mind at ease. There is a photographer out there for everybody. If you strike out on one, keep looking until you find your perfect match. It will be well worth the wait.

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