Whether you need pictures taken for your company website, big event or just professional headshots, your best bet is to hire a photographer. Sure, cell phones’ picture-taking capabilities have improved significantly over the last decade, but if these pictures are going to represent your business, shouldn’t they be the best?
If you go the professional photographer route, don’t just Google, “photographer” and hire the first name that pops up in your search. There are a number of things to keep in mind before you bring a photographer in like price, style and fit just to name a few.
So before you hire a photographer to capture your photos, take a look at these five tips.
#1: Review their portfolio
What better way to get to know how talented a photographer is than to look at his or her past work, right? When you look at a photographer’s portfolio, you’ll get an up close look at the quality of their work and you can see if his or her style matches what you have in mind for the pictures you want.
“(When) looking at the breadth of work, (ask yourself), do you like the style of the photographer’s work?” said professional photographer Rose Prince. “What you see is what you’ll likely get. While it’s true every setting is different and will inspire the photographer in different ways, every artist has a default style. This is true in how they decide to capture the moments and how they post-edit the photos.”
#2: Ask for references
While you’re looking at a photographer’s portfolio, ask for references, too. An impressive portfolio is great, but it only tells part of the story. When you contact a photographer’s references, you’ll get a better idea of how it was to work with him or her, did he or she take constructive criticism well, etc.
“All of my clients have been word of mouth so I think the testimonial of the other client or friend has really done the selling,” Prince said.
#3: Discuss the photographer’s specialties
All photographers’ skill sets aren’t created equal. Depending on what you need pictures taken for, make sure whoever you hire is well versed in that arena. A wedding photographer might be a great choice to take pictures for your corporate event, but may not excel or be as comfortable handling one-on-one professional headshots. Chances are most photographers are versatile enough to handle either, but don’t just assume it to be the case.
#4: Figure out a timeline up front
When will you need your photos? If the answer is ASAP, make sure your photographer knows that ahead of time. There’s a good chance you’re not the photographer’s only client; the last thing you want is go through the shoot, need the pictures for a brochure you want to print right away only to find out it’s going to be four weeks until you’ll get to see some proofs. So when you’re interviewing prospects, make sure one of the discussion topics is, “I need these pictures by X date, and can you deliver by then?”
#5: Get everything in writing
Congrats! You’ve hired a photographer. Before a single frame is captured, make sure every detail is documented in writing; the agreed upon price, when payment is due, when you can expect proofs, photo rights, refunds, etc. A contract will protect both you and your photographer and minimizes any surprises later in the process.
If it’s in the budget, put your cell phone away and let a professional take your company pictures. Just make sure you do your homework first.