Some of the Most Common Questions I Get Asked as a Photographer

February 20th, 2024

There are plenty of questions to ask a photographer before you book them, so I thought I’d put together a few that I hear most often from clients. When we chat about your session, feel free to ask me anything that will help you feel comfortable and prepared. There are no bad questions, and I’d rather you ask than feel unsure about anything before we shoot together. 


How long have you been shooting for? 
This isn’t the most straightforward answer, but in total I’ve been shooting for more than 10 years. Photography has played different roles in my career during that time, whether it was shooting concert photos for Vue Weekly during my days in journalism or working with bands and brands during my free time. I started seriously pursuing portrait and commercial photography when I moved to Calgary in 2017, and it’s only built since then! 


Do you do this full-time?
I do. I made the transition to running my photography business full-time in May 2022. I was juggling photography with a job in marketing, and I couldn’t manage both anymore. My marketing, PR, and journalism experience has been a huge asset in running my own business and providing a great experience for my clients.


Why did you get into photography?
It’s common to hear photographers say they’ve always had a camera in their hands, and it’s likely true. I loved to shoot photos for fun as a kid, or I made my friends model for me in high school when I thought I was super artistic and learned how to use Photoshop Elements. I was using a point and shoot at the time, and the results were pretty terrible. But we all start somewhere!

I’ve always had a desire to help people in my chosen career path, and I’ve realized that can come in so many forms. I wanted to do something that allowed space for creativity, didn’t feel monotonous, and challenged me to grow and learn. Photography provides all of that, and I get to help people in my own way. That could mean helping a business launch a new product or rebrand, helping someone to see themselves as beautiful for the first time—I love seeing someone’s confidence build the second I show them a good shot on the back of my camera—or capturing once-in-a-lifetime memories on someone’s wedding day. No two sessions are the same, and I truly love what I do.


What’s your favourite thing to shoot?
I can’t choose one thing. I love weddings for the infectious excitement and emotions throughout the day, and all the candid moments you can capture that the couple doesn’t necessarily get to see in real time. But I also really enjoy working with portrait clients, especially those who have never had a professional session done.




Which camera do you use? 
I’ve always been a Canon fan. I now have two camera bodies, which are the Canon R5 mirrorless (my primary camera) and the Canon 5D Mk IV.


Do you use lighting during your sessions? 
This depends on the shoot. I love natural light and think you can create beautiful images with it, but I have lots of experience shooting with studio lighting. Lighting sets the mood for your shoot, so that’s something to discuss when we’re deciding on your location and the style you’d like to achieve. 


Will you show me how to pose?
Absolutely. Nine times out of 10 I hear something along the lines of, “I’m so awkward in front of the camera.” My goal is to prove to you that this isn’t true. Everyone is photogenic in their own way—sometimes it just takes a little coaching to bring that out. I’ll offer posing prompts throughout the session and make sure you aren’t left wondering what to do with your hands or how to stand.


Where did you learn how to do photography?
I have a post-secondary diploma in photography, which came from the Photographic Technology diploma program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, but my education didn’t stop there. I’m always on the lookout for new techniques and business advice, and there is a wealth of knowledge on YouTube or through sites like CreativeLive, the Portrait Masters, and Patreon. I don’t think you’re ever done learning, no matter what level you’re at.


Do you do your own retouching? 
Always. Retouching plays a huge role in the final outcome of your images, and I put a great deal of work into each shot to make sure it looks its best and your gallery looks cohesive. 


Do you send RAW files?
No, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a photographer who does. It’s not uncommon to shoot hundreds (even thousands) of images during a session, and I always cull these images afterwards to find the best ones. Trust me, you don’t want hundreds of huge files clogging up your computer. RAW files are massive, and they won’t open without the proper software. 


Do you know any hair and makeup artists?
I sure do. Hair and makeup can elevate your session, and I have several artists who I consistently recommend to my clients. In Calgary I recommend Avery Side of Smudge and Smoulder for makeup and Jory Davie of JD Styling for hair. We often work on shoots together and they’re both wonderful to have on-set.


In Edmonton I recommend Amber Prepchuk, who is a fantastic makeup artist.


Will you help me decide on an outfit for my session?
Absolutely! I have a wardrobe tip sheet that I send to every client once they book me, and I’m always happy to review outfit photos leading up to the session to help you choose pieces that are going to make you look and feel your best. 


Will you Photoshop out XYZ?

This is a tough one. Photoshop is a powerful tool, but it can be overused. I always do a bit of skin smoothing (but it still has to look natural), colour enhancements, exposure adjustments, and I'll remove distracting flyaway hairs and objects, but please don't expect photographers to change the way you look. You still need to look like you in your photos!


Do you do collaborative / creative shoots? 
Yes, but the concept needs to add to my portfolio. I always prioritize client work, but I’m open to collaborations if they make sense and I have capacity.


Portrait of me by Rosie Lee Photography

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