In my previous article you learned about how to not hire the wrong photographer.
You learned that hiring the wrong photographer can cost you time, money and the risk of the end product not satisfying you.
So today I want to share 7 tips to hire the right photographer for your job.
Define Your Project
Come up with a description that’s short but detailed, to describe your project. Include a bullet list of all the important aspects of the project. For example:
- Product is stainless steel
- Product is very reflective
- Product attracts dust
- Product shows fingerprints
- Pet photography understanding or pet friendly photographer
- Must be in a kitchen
- 5 photographs with at least 3 dogs (1 in each photo)
- Must be a hardwood floor
That right there, is a well as a short description would help you pinpoint the perfect photographer for the job.
Because right away you know you need a product photographer. Why? Because if it comes down to requiring a product photographer who can handle the metal product versus a pet photographer who has no product photography experience, who would you prefer?
Better yet, ask yourself what’s more important. The pet or the product?
Print or File
Do you need printed photographs or digital files of the end product?
Not every photographer is ok with providing digital files. I know that sounds silly in this technology age, but that’s how some feel.
If you need digital files then make sure the photographer offers that, otherwise you have the wrong photographer.
Who What Where When, Sometimes Why?
When you provide your description to the photographer, and he/she doesn’t understand the request or the project at all, then you may not have the right person for the project.
Think about it this way.
Let’s say you gave me a list of things that were important for a karate project. If I did not understand karate at all, then would you hire me? Or would you hire me because I understand karate.
If you’re hiring someone for a karate session, make sure they have karate photographs in their portfolio, or in blog content.
It’s A Website
Speaking of websites… Does the photographer you are hiring have a website? I sure hope so. Again, this is the technology age.
More so, does the website show examples or blog content of similar projects?
For example, if you come to my website and look at my portfolio you will notice I photograph portraits of families, individuals and offer headshots.
Would you contact me for product photography? Well, maybe – because I do have products here and there on my site.
Would you contact me for real estate? Well, maybe – because I do architecture photography and do have a “hidden” real estate portfolio.
Would you contact me for a wedding? Probably not because I don’t market myself for weddings at all – anywhere on my website.
Now look at my friend David’s website. He photographs weddings, so would you contact him for pet photography? I would not think so.
So tip number four is to make sure the photographer’s website shows a portfolio of whatever your project is about. Otherwise, move on.
Will your persona mesh or clash with the photographer’s persona?
For example, my friend Mike’s persona is colorful and raw, and sometimes even vulgar. He’ll even admit that!
That persona doesn’t stop him from getting hired to photograph weddings. In fact, that’s part of his niche. People look for him. They look for his personality to photograph their weddings.
Mike attracts tattooed couples, and couples that match his colorful personality. But looking at his website, would you hire him to photograph your new car? Well, maybe. But most likely not. Most likely you’ll send his website to your tattooed friend who is getting married. And that’s what Mike wants you to do.
This is easy to overlook, especially from a client standpoint. Photography is one of those jobs where anyone can be taught the basics and then start working.
For example, so many school photographers (at least in New Jersey) are portrait shops where anyone off the street can get a job, be trained in a day and then be sent to school to photograph yearbook photos.
Do those photographers have the knowledge to produce quality photographs?
Or do those photographers just know how to follow a step by step instruction provided by the portrait shop.
If I assemble a crib, does it make me a master at assembling cribs? Or does it mean I am good at following instructions?
So make sure the photographer you hire really does have knowledge in photography. See what the photographer is blogging about. Is it educational for you? Does the photographer offer workshops for other photographers? Has he/she written any books? Or made any courses? What happens if you Google his/her name?
Going along with knowledge, comes talent. Just because someone can understand photography, or simply follow an instruction manual, does not mean that he/she is talented.
Make sure you review the photographer’s portfolio and that you really love the work you see.
If you don’t then what makes you think you will be happy with what he/she can offer for you?
The last thing you want is to pay someone for bad results.
Summing It Up
To sum it up, so you don’t hire the wrong photographer for the job, think about these 7 things.
- Define your project.
- Know if you need a print or a digital file.
- Make sure the photographer has an understanding for the project.
- Make sure the photographer’s website shows examples similar to your project.
- Make sure the photographer’s persona meshes with yours.
- Make sure the photographer has the knowledge you need them to have.
- Make sure the photographer has the talent you need them to have.
If the photographer you are looking at for your project doesn’t fit with those, then you may want to consider looking elsewhere.
As a photographer I’d rather turn you down and send you elsewhere (with a real referral if I can) than to pretend I can give you what you need. Because then in the end you’ll be unhappy and I’ll just have your money. And you don’t want, do you?