Looking to purchase a photography gift certificate? You’re probably here because you are a very thoughtful family member or friend. And I applaud you because I agree, I think professional portraits are a fantastic gift. Especially if custom photos are something your family member or friend would never do for themselves.
Choosing a family photographer is a pretty personal thing. I know of many photographers who do not even offer gift certificates because of this reason. They likely had an experience or two where they and the recipient were not a good fit. The last thing anyone wants is the gift to become a source of frustration.
Below are a few things to think about when you are considering purchasing a photography gift certificate for someone.
First, professional photography styles vary widely. Would your giftee be looking for more casual or more formal photos? More posed or more candid? Somewhere in between?
Taking newborn portraits as an example, there are in-studio newborn photographers, like myself. There are also photographers who photograph newborns exclusively in the hospital within 48 hours after birth, or in a family’s home and do not have a studio. The resulting photo galleries tend to be very different and people do sometimes have specific thoughts and preferences.
Photographer’s Working Hours
Find out the photographer’s working hours. Really think about the person you are looking to gift photos to. Do they have a flexible weekday schedule? Or would they exclusively be looking for weekend availability? This is a particularly big one for me as I do not photograph on the weekends with the few exceptions being pre-scheduled, once a year mini sessions. Weekday afternoons and evenings are sometimes available, and typically are available for outdoor golden hour sessions. However that is not always the case and availability changes. I would rather err on the side of caution with this one if you’re not sure about your loved one’s scheduling availability.
Cost of Custom Portraiture
It is very important to find out exactly how much cost is involved in a session. Photographers have different investment setups, some include products or digitals, some do not. Some charge a session fee, some offer all inclusive packages. Is the plan to cover some of the cost of the experience, or help chip in? You’ll need to decide if what you’re gifting them covers enough services and products. Otherwise your recipient will be left with the remaining balance.
Location of Photo Shoot
Think about the physical location of the studio, or travel area a photographer will go. Is this convenient for your loved one? Some photographers have favorite locations. Don’t assume your chosen photographer will travel to a different one.
You may actually want to talk to your friend or family before buying a photography gift certificate. I know a surprise is always fun, but in the case of custom portraiture, it can really be a very personal choice for many people.
Last, it may go without saying, but also always thoroughly vet a photographer’s galleries and read their blog, their FAQs, read some reviews, etc. You can see all of my galleries by clicking the “galleries” navigation bar up top, or from the home page.
Do not hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!