The early bird catches the worm

I am sure your parents taught you when you were younger, that it is rude and disrespectful to be late for something. It is no different in the case when you have booked a photo session.

I might offend a few people with this blog entry. Just because you are paying for a service doesn’t mean that you should abuse the service provider.

We are all human beings. Photographers are also people. We have families, just like our clients. Most of us try to accommodate our clients, by giving up our weekends. Yes, yes I know, I chose to be a photographer. No one held a gun against my head and said: “You will give up your weekends to do photo shoots”. I chose to give up my weekends to do photo shoots, because I know that 80% of my clients work during the week and weekends are the only time that they have open.

As a mother of an extremely busy little boy, I understand being late is a given. If I know that I have to be somewhere at 10 am, I wake up 2 hours earlier, get everyone ready and leave the house to make sure that we are not late. I would rather wait on someone then them waiting on me.

I live about 20 minutes’ drive from a very popular park, where I do most of my shoots. If I have a 10 am session, I already leave the house at about 9:15. I never want to be late for a session. So I would rather sit in my car and wait for my client.

The other day, I had a photo session at 10 am, 11:00 am and 12 pm. My 10 am client was 25 minutes late. We had booked an hour for her session. I notified her that I will have to cut her session short and only shoot for the remaining time of about 30 minutes.

Now you ask me: “but I paid for an hour?” I want to explain this in the nicest way possible. I have already been waiting 25 minutes and at 11 am I have another client. I don’t think it would be fair to cut her session short, or make her wait because my first client of the day was late.

So I was sitting at the park, from 10 am, to 10:30 am. 30 minutes that I could have used to quickly do the laundry, or play with my son, but I waited patiently in my car. We started the shoot, and I had to tell her at 10:55, that I need to start doing the final shots because my next client will there in about 5 minutes.

I never answer or even look at my phone during a photo session out of respect for my clients and their time.

At 11 am, we say our goodbyes for about 5 minutes. Answering the questions of when will the photos be ready. At about 11:05 am I run through the park like a mad person trying to be on time to meet my next client.

I get to the gate. No client. No one that looks like they are there for a photoshoot.

I take my phone out of my pocket, and see the dreaded message from my client that they will be late and will be arriving in about 20 minutes. I send the “we will have to cut your session short” message for the second time in one day. I try to find a tree for some shade, or even just a bench to rest my legs for the next 20 minutes. Nothing in sight. Every single shady part of the park and every single bench is occupied by guests of the park. I stand in the hot sun for 20 minutes. My water bottle is empty. Now what.

At 11:30, I check my phone to see if my client has arrived. No message yet. I wait another 5 minutes. I decide to give her a call. “Hi Janine, we are really so late, can we maybe reschedule?” “Yeah, sure. Why not”.

So I wait another 30 minutes for my last client of the day. They are on time. Thank goodness.

This blog entry is not about me yapping on about how tardy some clients (and in some cases the services providers as well) can be, but about the lack of respect people have for service providers. I hope you get what I am trying to say in this blog…

It’s plain and simple. DON’T BE LATE!!! Plan your day in such a manner that you know you will be on time. Most of the time, if I am at the park 10 minutes before our session time, I will send a message to my client, and sometimes my client is already at the park.

Then we start the session earlier, and in these cases I always shoot 10 minutes longer then the booked time.

I try to go out of my way to help my clients, I try my utmost best to make it a memorable day for the family. Not everyone can afford a photo session every month.

So next time you book a shoot, be on time. This will save both you and your photographer time and patience.