So now that you have decided to hire a professional photographer for your campaign, how can you be sure to get the right shooter for the job? You can Google photographers in your area. But honestly, that rarely gives you any insight to what kind of photographer you are going to get.
The first step in getting the right photographer starts with referrals (whenever possible). Being able to ask someone you trust if they know of someone or if they can recommend someone often leads to getting a good photographer. Photographers get most of their work through referrals and word of mouth. If you don’t know anyone to ask, check your contacts on LinkedIn, at your local chamber of commerce or even your competitors.
Once you have contacted a few possible people to use, ask for references, copies of their portfolio, ask what type of equipment they use, and take time to meet them. Invite them to your office and get to know them. Are you comfortable with their personality and attitude? Everyone has had experiences with people that are fun to work with and those that aren’t. Quite often this can make or break the success of a project.
One of the things that I prefer to do is to meet with my clients. I want to sit with them, take time to understand their needs. Show them my portfolio book, and see if we are a fit. There have been times when I don’t match a client. When that happens, I try to recommend someone I know that I think may better work with them. I have to admit though that this has only ever happened once in my professional career. The person that I matched the client with did an excellent job and the client was so grateful that they call me back on a shoot that was a better match for us.
My goal is to get you the best images for your campaign. If I think there is a best way to do that I will suggest it to you. I want to interact and work with my clients. I want us to be a team and not just a contractor and a client.
Getting the shoot right on site is very important. You don’t want to hear a photographer say “Oh I will fix that in post production.” Sure post production is important, but getting it right at the shoot is the major influence in getting the shots you need. I can enhance the work in Photoshop, I may even need to blend multiple images into one image that creates the look that we need, but none of that is “fixing.”
Another point to consider when hiring me, does my portfolio portray the type of work you want and need? Perhaps I may not have shot tea pots before but you like the commercial work I do and like the look and feel of my style. The opposite can be true too. A photographer shoots nothing but kitchenware but you just don’t like the feel of the work. It generally doesn’t have the feel that you want. You want the photographer to match your message and your style.
The last thing I want to mention is affordability. The reason I saved this for last is because it matters but not as much as the photographer’s ability to get the job done right. A photographer can be the most affordable shooter you have met but if they don’t have the experience, or they can’t get the shots you need, affordability is a moot point. Once you have established that I can do the work for you, then it’s time to make sure the fees are in line with your budget too.
Fees can be flexible to a point too. Rather than get hourly rates, ask for the cost for the job itself. Talk to me about your budget. Don’t be afraid to say that your budget is only $X.xx. A professional will either meet your budget or explain, in detail, why what you want will cost $Z.zz. Many times by working with me on the details I can adjust the details to help you reach your budget. Sometimes I can’t. The fact is that if I know what you need and I know the means you have to get it, I can work with you to maximize the project and help you get the best investment possible for your campaign.
Until next time…