How often do you hire a professional photographer?
If you’re an advertising agency, you might do it every month. But if you aren’t, you might do it once a year or every few years, or this might be your first experience.
So, when you need to hire a professional photographer for your business, how do you choose the right one?
There are hundreds of photographers out there. Just Google “photographers near me” and you’ll get pages of results. Who knew there were so many near you?!
You need to find just one photographer to take great shots for your business. You could be looking for images for your:
Office • Team • Headshots • Products
This guide will answer all your questions about hiring the right professional photographer for your business needs.
What to look for in a good photographer
Sometimes clients come to me after they have had a bad experience with another photographer. Sometimes this is their first go and they have lots of concerns. Initially, they are worried about making a mistake and wasting money or unsure of the cost of professional photography. However, when we talk about how I manage my photo shoots, what to expect and what they receive when we’re done, they are relieved and have a better understanding of the process!
You need to know what should and shouldn’t happen when you spend money on professional photography for your business. So, here are a few photographer disasters to avoid, and essential things to know so you hire the right professional photographer the first time!
How do I find a dependable, professional photographer?
After we paid the photography deposit, we couldn’t get a hold of the photographer to confirm the date. We called, emailed.
It was a huge hassle.” ~Naomi N
When you hire someone who says they are a professional, you don’t expect to be ignored. To avoid experiences like the one quoted above, check on-line reviews or ask for references before booking. If you see remarks like the one quoted above, don’t go any further. No matter how many awards they might have won, they don’t value their clients’ time.
Promptly returning messages seems like a given, but I’ve heard over and over that it isn’t. Not all photographers are full-time photographers, so they have other priorities and aren’t accessible during business hours.
Clients who have worked with other photographers often tell me how different I am. “Wow, thanks for the super fast response.” is something I hear daily. I answer my phone when I’m not in a session and return emails and voice messages promptly! You never have to chase me down.
What should I expect to be done before our photo shoot?
Before your shoot, you should expect your photographer to:
- Have a meeting or phone conversation with you to understand your photography needs
- Discuss budget and pricing, so you know what to expect on the final invoice
- Review styling needs for wardrobe, hair, and makeup for your project
- Talk about branding elements to ensure the photography matches your branding
- Review corporate standards or spec sheets
- Create a master list of what/who needs to be photographed
- Inspect all equipment and back up gear to be sure it’s ready
Your photographer should help you create a shot list to plan the order and location of the photography. This is important so vital images are not missed. Nothing is worse than realizing a shot was missed after the photographer is long gone.
If the photographer is shooting in your office or on location, you should discuss doing a location visit prior to the shoot. This helps to determine what areas might need to be used, to be sure they are available the day of the shoot.
I do a lot of prep work before our photo shoot so that we can make the most of our time together. We will talk about all the details of your shoot, and I will offer helpful solutions to some of the challenges that may arise when photographing your office, team of people or products.
What should I expect on shoot day?
“The photographer was an hour late for our photo shoot.” – Karen G.
These clients told me that they had set aside time away from their business for a photo shoot in their office. As business owners, you know time is money! The office team was ready on time but ended up waiting on a photographer who showed up an hour late.
I show up on time for my client’s photo shoot, and I’m usually early. Being punctual seems like a no-brainer to me, but you’d be horrified to know how often I hear that a client experienced this in the past. I respect your time and never want you to be waiting for me. I’ll be ready when you are.
What is a typical photo shoot like?
“It was awkward and uncomfortable. Our photographer wasn’t very friendly. He just sort of moved us around and told us to smile.”–Josh R
In my 20 years’ experience, I’ve learned the best images happen when everyone is comfortable. There are several ways to accomplish this. If it feels awkward, ask the photographer if they can put on some music. That usually makes a big difference in the energy in the room.
Most people naturally feel awkward or uncomfortable being photographed. I try to put myself in their shoes to understand how they’re feeling and guide them to a great outcome.
Music is an option I bring to my photography set. I use a portable speaker and let my client choose the type of music we play: some like rock, some like classical. With a music streaming service like Pandora or Spotify, it’s easy to play any genre.
I love having music playing in the background to set the mood and keep things upbeat. It helps to take some of the stress out of the shoot for the subjects being photographed.
I use music and my sense of humor to set people at ease. After all, we’re taking photos not doing brain surgery! You can count on the atmosphere during your photo session with me being relaxed, fun, and entertaining.
How do I know if the images are going to look good?
“The photographer took a bunch of pictures, but when we saw the proofs a week later, they weren’t great. We didn’t get the shots we asked for and needed.” ~Chris M.
After a few images are taken, ask your photographer to show you what they look like. This ensures everyone is on the same page. You can view them on their camera screen or a laptop computer. If the lighting, location, look, and feel isn’t what you expected, let them know immediately. It’s important to communicate what you want the images to look like, so the photographer can adjust right away.
I work with you to get the desired look you want. There’s no waiting until the session is over. You’ll see your images as we shoot, so we can make any changes necessary to ensure you like the look of your pictures. If it’s not what you were expecting, we change it on the spot. I want you to love your images.
I also allow clients to pick their images at the time of the shoot. Allowing my clients to take part in the decision making process guarantees a successful outcome. It takes the stress of trying to make selections after the fact off of you and your marketing team. It also allows me to turn the images around very quickly. Many times, I can do the retouching with you before the end of the session, to ensure you like the results.
What is the typical turnaround time for my images?
“We expected to get our images right away, but we didn’t receive the final images until three weeks after the session. We had to put a project on hold because of the delay.” – Keith W.
Every photographer has a different turnaround time. Before you book with a photographer, ask about their standard turnaround times.
For example, I can usually turn single head shot images around the same day. For larger groups of 5 or more, you can count on receiving the final finished images within two business days.
If it’s a large job, involving numerous images, you will have your images them within five business days max, usually sooner. And if you need them faster, we do offer a rush option.
It’s important to discuss your deadline with your photographer. If the photographer can’t meet your timeline, don’t book with them. It will only leave you frustrated in the end.
You Call the Shots!
There is a difference between kp studios and other photography “professionals.” That’s why I am celebrating over 20 years in business! I truly enjoy capturing the energy, beauty, and uniqueness of my clients. I devote time and energy to each job to ensure they all meet my high standards and yours.
Remember, you deserve to have a great experience as well as exceptional images. Don’t settle for anything less.