Top five questions to ask a photographer
Posted on 20th April 2023 at 08:38
Tips on finding the right photographer for your business
Photography has become very accessible so it's important to know what to ask when commissioning a professional photographer. Price points and accreditations to photography bodies don't mean they are high quality or right for you. If you are considering business portrait photography or refreshing your website and marketing photos then read on.
1. Do you have a working process?
The sub text to this question is how do you get consistenly high quality images...most professional photographers will have years of experience that enables them to distil their process into some form of order and they will be able to communicate that to you.
It is to do with moving the shoot along with confidence and ease, so that you don't have to worry about it. You get to understand how they work and what to expect on the shoot.
There is no right or wrong answer!
I always explain how I work and ensure we have a plan...but then am clear that we are able to adapt and make it up along the way. For me and my creative photographic process, being too prescriptive stifles my work and it's important for my clients to know and understand that.
2. How do you make people comfortable in front of the camera?
As we all know, the vast majority of people are uncomfortable in front of the camera and would rather stick pins in their eyes than have their photo taken! Making clients feel comfortable in front of the camera is an art and takes practice.
Every photographer will have their own way of doing this, but they will have a way and should be able to make you feel at ease and confident in them, even before you comission them.
Directing people is a huge part of this because clients are not usually professional models...it's the professional photographer that knows how to position someone to look their best, yet natural.
Again, it is about a process, and the answer to this question shouldn't be vague.
3. Do I have a contract to sign?
Whenever you are employing professional services you would expect there to be terms and conditions in place. This is the same with photography.
There should be clauses on payment terms, cancellation policies, usage rights, GDPR and more.
A good set of terms and conditions for a photography shoot will give confidence to both parties. It is as much for the client as it is for the photographer. No one wants things to come crashing down around their heads!
I usually outline the main elements in my preliminary conversations, and ensure the document is seen and signed in advance of money changing hands.
4. What questions would you like to ask me?
I have to be honest...if you've got this far without the photographer asking you any questions, run a mile!
You can tell a huge amount about the photographer from what they are asking you. The most basic of questions are:
Why do you need photography and how will you use the photos
Who is your target audience and what do they need to know
Have you looked at my website/portfolio
This is just a starter for ten...for business photography, without understanding these basic questions, how will the photographer know what you are trying to acheive and that they can fulfil your needs.
The photographer will also be able to ascertain whether you simply need headshots or a wider website photo shoot or are looking for branding photography. They will be able to advise on timscale as well, which will impact on the price/package they offer.
5. How do you charge?
Only once a photographer has understood the client's needs and what they are wanting to acheive through commissioning a photographer, can they give you a quote.
But they should be able to easily and quickly explain how they work in terms of costing. They may have an hourly, half day or day rate, which may or may not include editing of images. They may have packages that will suit your needs.
The most important thing here is that they are clear on how they price the job you are asking about.
I overheard a photographer being asked this recently after having the commercial shoot explained, and to begin with they evaded the question. It was asked three times before they answered and then they said: 'Erm, well it would be roughly...' and then gave a figure.
In my view this just isn't good enough. As a client you need to have confidence that the photographer isn't making it up as they go along, that they are not trying to 'get one over on you'. You're not having a conversation with a bloke in the pub, but a professional who should give you a straight answer.
Commissioning a portrait photographer with confidence
Your photographer should be able to communicate their process, their style of working, what to expect on a shoot, their pricing and much more in your initial conversation. A really good photograher understands that it's not about 'taking pictures' but about creating visual collateral for your business that will work hard for you and be a key marketing tool.
Start with these questions and see how you get on!
If you would like to find out more about how I work with my commercial photography clients, look at my case studies section on the website. And please do give me a call on 07793 205155 to have a chat or contact me
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