When I started out, I was advised by a Business Advisor that the two terms are entirely different. A Deposit is an amount taken off of the final sum so you pay a £50 deposit for a £200 shoot leaving a balance of £150.
If it's a Booking Fee, thats a separate charge from the shoot so you would price this as £50 Booking Fee and £150 for the shoot. Same outcome regarding total money paid but different wording.
Think about buying on EBay. If you pay £10 plus £2 postage and ask for your money back you only get £10 back. If the item was £12 and free postage, you get the full £12 back....
I believe if the shoot doesn't take place, however you word it the 'Deposit' must be refunded. A 'Booking Fee' covered the booking and therefore does not.
your are not alone there ive had a few myself bump and baby and family shoots arranged and they never turned up i felt so disheartened and paraniod that some one had told them not to come
so i now do a "booking" charge and i can tell you its make my life alot easier as soon as i say the word via emails they are like ill get back to you which is a clear sign they had no intention in going through with any shoot
atleast i can sort out the time wasters from the real clients even if it means i dont do that many shoots now oh well