Hiring a photographer can be an exciting and seemingly overwhelming task. Exciting in that you'll finally get those new website photography assets you've been desperately needing, or that new headshot for your company's About Us page, but what next? You know you want to work with a professional, someone who knows the ins and outs of the photography business, but you're not sure where to start. First things first...now that you know you need to hire a photographer, make sure you know the right questions to ask them, to ensure that they understand your needs and that you're both on the same page.
1. Can you tell me about your experience as a photographer?
Getting the right images is important, so is working with a photographer who has experience in your industry. If you're hiring a photographer to capture an action shot, make sure your photographer has done that before. You don't want them to waste your precious time and money figuring it out once on the set. Make sure their skills and expertise align with your needs.
2. Who specifically will be my photographer?
When working with certain agencies or larger photography studios, often times who you're talking to initially may not be your actual photographer. Some studios/agencies will farm out photography services based on photographer availability, so be sure to ask who exactly you'll be working with, so that you have a chance to talk to them and make sure you're comfortable with the individual and their capabilities.
3. Do you retouch the photos afterwards?
After the shoot is over, some photographers won't take the extra time to retouch the photos, to make sure they're perfect. Or, if they do retouch them, something may look off. Talk to your photographer to see what their retouching capabilities are and if they're going to retouch your photos. You want to work with a photographer who is going to give you clean, professional looking photos and retouching is part of that process.
4. How will I be able to use the photos afterwards?
Some photographers will only give you certain rights to your photos, while others will give you exclusive usage rights. Talk to your photographer and see what their policies are. You don't want to run into a surprise later when you go to put your new photo on a national billboard or in a catalog, only to realize that you don't have the proper usage rights.
5. Do you have the right equipment for the job?
We've all had that nightmare of hiring a photographer, and the guy that shows up has a point and shoot or an iPhone. Not that you can't get a decent photo on a phone these days, but top of the line equipment lets you know that this photographer has made an investment into his or her trade and is equipped for your job. Furthermore, tools like the CamRanger will allow you to see what your photographer is capturing directly on a tablet. Now you can be assured that they're getting the shot, and that it looks the way you want it to.
6. Do you have your own equipment?
You want to work with a professional photographer who has been in the business for a number of years, and has acquired all the necessary gear to get the job done. Make sure your potential photographer has their own camera, lighting equipment, etc. so that they'll be prepared to capture you or your product appropriately.
There you have it. A solid starting point to beginning an open and candid discussion with your potential photographer. Anything that they aren't able to easily answer should raise red flags for you. Finding the right photographer for your business or personal needs doesn't have to seem like a daunting task, once you know the right questions to ask.