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  • Writer's pictureErica Hills

What to ask your photographer

I’ve been asked a lot of questions surrounding photography from lots of different people. So, I put out a request on my Facebook page asking friends and family what questions they had about photography and here are my top 5 suggestions of what to ask your photographer:

1. What rights do I have with the photos?

2. What is included in the pricing?

3. Will I be asked to sign a contract?

4. Do I need to have a groom or will you provide one?

5. My horse has blanket rub marks, can you edit them out?

What rights do I have with the photos?

Copyright doesn’t seem to be commonly understood or discussed in the general public outside of things like, don’t record a movie you watch in the theater and post it online; that’s illegal.

Well, it’s similar with photography. Your photographer owns the copyright to the photos from your session. That can be a tough pill for some people to swallow since it’s YOU or YOUR HORSE in the photo, how do YOU not own it?

Some photographers (and it’s very rare) will sell copyright to the images, but more commonly you will receive personal or commercial use terms for each image and a price will be set (in a contract that you sign) for x number of images for x length of time.

Consider what type of photos you need and how you want to be able to use them in the future.

What is included in the pricing?

This information may be found on photographer’s website, if not, it’s important to ask this question so you know what you’re getting for your money.

Pricing ranges widely per project and photographer. But, you will want to know if:

- You’re buying digital photos and will receive a print release which gives you permission to print your photos wherever you choose.

- You will receive help and guidance with how to dress, how to prepare your horse (how many outfits can I wear?)

- There will be one or multiple photographers at the session

- Your photographer specializes in printing and places orders for you with professional only access labs (this is what I do). Click here for more details.

Will I be asked to sign a contract?

This one is huge for me! Have I taken photos without a signed contract in previous years? Yes. Will I ever do it again? No.

A contract is important to protect both you as the client and the photographer. When you sign a contract, you have a binding agreement to support you, should anything go unexpectedly. You also have the right as a potential client to ask your photographer to provide a contract if that helps you feel more confident moving forward with your session.

Your contract should include, but not be limited to these topics, rights to images, release of liability, payment expectations, timeline for delivery of photos.

Do I need to have an assistant/groom or will you provide one?

Sometimes photographers will bring an assistant with them to a session to help handle horses or get their head/ears looking a specific way etc. However, it is always in your best interest as the client to have a friend (or anyone who knows you and your horse) come along to help your session run smoothly.

As far as grooming specifically, I can recommend professional equine groomers, when needed, but it is not included in my photography pricing at this time.

My horse has blanket rub marks, can you edit them out?

This applies to any marks, scars, fresh cuts with sutures etc. that your horse may have on their body. It’s helpful that you ask your photographer if removing/editing these things is an option. Some photographers are masters at both taking great photos and editing great photos. If you’re concerned about editing specifics, feel free to ask your photographer for a before and after editing photo (there may be one on their website). In some cases, this may also impact the pricing.

I offer editing tailored for you. This means I personally edit each image and present only the best photos from our session. If for some reason, there is an editing need outside of my skill set, I will hire a professional photo retoucher at no additional cost to you.

Always remember there is a difference between editing out rider tan lines, horse scars and turning your photo into a watercolor artwork. And this goes back to knowing what’s included in your package pricing and contract terms.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope this helps you feel more confident when choosing a professional photographer. Message me anytime if you have questions!


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