Below are steps for booking a photoshoot, with some tips and tricks to help your booking process go as smooth as possible. My steps are pretty general but every photographer has their own process, so double check with your photographer for more information.
1. Know exactly what your needs are
This may seem obvious, but a lot of photographers package their shoots differently or have different terms for different types of shoots, so know exactly what you want before you start researching photographers. For example - if you're planning a family shoot, some photographers may have different pricing for the number of family members and even ages. If you're wanting senior photos done, do you just want cap & gown photos or are you wanting to do multiple outfits and locations?
2. Choose a photographer
When choosing a photographer, your first step is probably searching something like "senior photographer Wichita." If you're planning something more last minute, a good place to try is Thumbtack. You can input what kind of shoot, location, and desired date, and you'll receive a list of available photographers. Two of the most important things when weighing your local photographers include price and style. Some photographers don't put their prices on their website, so you may need to do some further inquiring to make sure they fit your budget. While perusing these photographers websites or social medias, keep in mind what their photos look like. Even if every photo is beautiful, do you like the colors, the lightness, the intensity? Your photos are going to match what's in their portfolio, so if you want light and airy photos, don't choose a photographer with a dark and moody portfolio.
3. Book a date
Photographers may not have an option to book directly, you may have to fill out a contact form first, but you'll still want to include your desired date or date range. When choosing a date, look at your calendar very closely to make sure nothing interferes with that date. When booking for a family, it can be difficult to find a date that works for everyone, so pay close attention. Some photographers have very strict rules when it comes to rescheduling, so try to be diligent. Also keep in mind daylight times. Make sure you aren't requesting a time when the sun has already set - if you're scheduling a shoot a couple months in advance, you may want to search "sunset october 24 kansas" and then keep in mind how long your shoot will take to allow enough time before sunset. Of course your photographer can help you out with this, so be flexible, they'll probably know more than you about how long the shoot will take and allowing enough time for ideal lighting.
4. Wait for confirmation
Your booking is not confirmed until your photographer says it is. Do not assume your date works until you hear back form your photographer. If you haven't heard from them in a week, maybe reach out through a different form of contact (social media, web contact form, email, etc.). Sometimes things get lost in inboxes, so be patient and reach out again if need be.
5. Follow your photographer's process
Like I said, every photographer has their own process for booking. For me personally, I follow up any booking request with a questionnaire about specific needs, to make sure that the chosen date and time works for those needs. After the questionnaire is filled out, I'll send a proposal that includes a contract and an invoice. And then, the date is not confirmed until a deposit is paid.