You have the idea, the vision, now what… you need the visuals to show the creative and purpose behind you and your business.
So you start searching for the photographer that everyone is raving about with the most followers and tags on social media!
STOP RIGHT THERE…..
I’m here to help you out with 10 tips on things to consider prior to booking a photographer….. here goes!
Who is your ideal client?
Who are you looking to target? Who is an ideal person or group of people that NEED your product or service? This group of people are typically who and why you do what you do. When you understand who your ideal/target client is, then study the different portfolios of photographers you are considering. Photography is an investment so you’’ll want to be sure that the images represent you well.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE IMAGES YOU’LL BE USING?
Your images will serve as a representation of you and your business for a number of things from head shots, website , social media, and marketing materials. Depending on your needs, your photographer should be familiar with what and how you plan to use the images, for the most part. For example, for Instagram, the square format needs to be kept in mind. For a banner of a website, a landscape format. For a brochure, it's important to have a lot of dead space for text.
One photographer does not fit all. Be mindful not all photographers shoot for every thing, most photographers will have a speciality or niche they service. It’s very important that the visuals you view speak to you. When you view their portfolio, how do you feel? Do you see yourself as one of their clients? Would you like to be captured in a similar manner as they capture their clients?
If the answer is yes, then that's amazing! Go with that photographer, trust me it’s worth the investment.
Studio or on location
When you’ve narrowed down the style , purpose of images and ideal client, now is the time to determine what typeof backdrop do you want for your story. Where do you want your images to be taken?
If you’re wanting simple, clean and blank backdrops with various styles of lighting, you’d definitely want to steer in the direction of a photographer who specializes in studio photography. Pros: Indoor, weather isn’t a factor Cons: Same backdrop
As I’ve mentioned before not one photographer fits all so the same goes when a photographer shoot mainly outdoors, on location or natural light. Logistically a natural light, on location shoot yields more of variety of backdrops. For example a lifestyle branding location could take place in an office setting, sitting near the pool, in the kitchen, on the balcony, in your bedroom, on the street, all using natural light. Pros: Variety of backdrop locations, natural light Cons: Weather could be an issue and if you want some indoor shots, securing locations may incur a fee.
It all comes down to preference and also with a photographer who is strong, consistent and confident in the type of lighting they shoot.
Be sure that your photographer is open to accommodate any and all circumstances. Do you have what you need for the shoot?
You want to work with someone who is flexible and experienced with processes and organization when it comes to how to prepare for a shoot. A detailed shot list is key. Pinterest is helpful as well as creating a mood board for your photographer to get a clarity on what you do and don’t like.
Communicate often as you need to with any questions you may have so when shoot day rolls around everything will roll as on accord as possible.
Do you have a makeup artist and hair stylist in mind?
Check their schedules beforehand to ensure everyone’s schedules align. Don’t forget the mani’s and pedi’s!
Try on looks a week and day before shoot. Iron the night before to avoid any mishaps the morning of the shoot. Avoid ordering any clothing you plan to wear that will be delivered 2-3 days before the shoot.
Purchase any props you’d like to serve as an accessory and get any necessary permits or permissions for locations 2-4 weeks in advance.
What is your budget?
This is different for every person! But if you find someone whose portfolio you love, whose personality you are certain you can mesh with, who you think will make you feel comfortable in front of the camera and who you can trust with your vision and someone you already can’t wait to be in front of their camera so you can receive pictures you’ll love and that would add a plethora of value and quality to your business and brand , that’s worth investing in!
I do not always believe paying more gets you more value in every case; however, often finding true value does come with an investment that you look back and are thankful you’ve made.
Budgets, no wants to talk about it but the conversation must be had.
This is essentially important in choosing and narrowing down the right photographer for your project. Many photographers list packages they offer with starting rates. You instantly get an idea of what you will receive and for how much.
When it come to budget don’t confuse the price with the value. Photography should be something that is a saved up or set aside cost as is your attire, makeup session or venue investment. Don’t thrust a ton of money on a look and skimp on the talent and expertise that captures the look.
You should have a budget in all things. But don’t be CHEAP and DO NOT try to low ball your photographer. Respect their craft and service as you’d want your customer to respect yours. Bottom line….. don’t ask for discounts, unless they are offered.
A good rule of thumb? Consider how much you are spending on marketing, education and your overall experience you bring to the table when pricing your craft. Now ask yourself, will this particular photographer capture and bring about the value I have invested into my own self?
If the answer is YES, I can’t wait to work with you! How much would you like to spend on marketing your business? And how much of that money would you be wiling to spend on the images for those marketing materials? Bare in mind that without the good images, your marketing efforts, no matter how big or amazing they might be, will suffer.
How many images do you need?
Different photographers have different methods of the way they prefer to shoot and what they offer. It can be based on time it takes to shoot and post processing and other times it can be based on the depth of retouching and cost and time effectiveness of outsourcing.
Again, it depends on what you will need the images for. Will these images be the sole purpose of head shots? Then you will need minimal time and images. If you are rebranding and need a whole website revamp you will more than likely need a good amount of shoot time,some retouched images and all of the un edited images for future use. Keep in mind for the more grander requests such as including all images, retouches and photoshopping comes with additional fees, so be sure to ask your photographer about such things.
Turnaround, total process time
Work with someone who can present their workflow to you without question. This may be an overall synopsis of the workflow, because every client requires different things but you will get the overall picture. This workflow should start with the inquiry and end at the actual use of the photos.
Communicate your expectations of the shoot in the beginning as well as turnaround time needs. Plan accordingly and in well advance when searching for your photographer. Photographers calendars can be booked 6-12 months in advance for larger projects because of the intense and intentional planning, prepping, shooting and post processing that goes into each project.
If you know your product or website launches within a certain amount of time, plan to book your photographer well in advance to ensure you get to work with your preferred photographer.
If you’re on crunch time, expect rush fees to accommodate and meet your deadlines.
What do they need from you?
Do they require a signed contract + deposit to secure your date?
Do they require you to book and an indoor location?
Are you responsible for entrance and parking fees?
If they are photographing a product, are you responsible for the models, do you need to be on set for the shoot?
There are so many things to cover and consider before even booking your photographer, take your time in making sure all of your bases are covered before you commit.
Do you like them?
This last one is less about the work, and more about who they are as a person or at the least, how well do you see you getting along with them through a working relationship. You may not have the opportunity to hang out with your photographer before you actually decide to commit to working with them so be sure to check out their website, about me page. Visit their social media and get a feel of who they are behind the camera. How do they interact with their clients? Do you share the same morals and values? Do they behave in ways that make you cringe? Do they seem like your BFF already before meeting them? This is sooooo important and can make or break a relationship and destroy a shoot.
It’s not always about the actual talent than it is about the actual person, they are the magic!
If you’re not vibing with them on a personal level, chances are your personalities may clash and you will more than likely not be satisfied with your images. VIBES DON’T LIE! Trust your gut and go with it, it almost, always never steers you wrong! don't like them as a person, or you feel like your personalities clash, there's a strong likelihood that you won't be very happy with your images at the end. A bad vibe can be felt through an image!
This is where the importance and necessity of a consultation comes in, even if it’s a phone call.