7 Tips To Help You Hire The Right Photographer

7 Tips To Help You Hire The Right PhotographerIn 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.

But if you came to my website and read my advice on photographing action photography, or downloaded my free ebook on karate and photography, then right away you know that I understand it.

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.
David Teng Photography

So tip number four is to make sure the photographer’s website shows a portfolio of whatever your project is about. Otherwise, move on.

Persona

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!

mike-allebach

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.

Knowledge

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?

Talent

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.

  1. Define your project.
  2. Know if you need a print or a digital file.
  3. Make sure the photographer has an understanding for the project.
  4. Make sure the photographer’s website shows examples similar to your project.
  5. Make sure the photographer’s persona meshes with yours.
  6. Make sure the photographer has the knowledge you need them to have.
  7. 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?

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. It would also be good to check to see if the photographer’s style is similar to yours. That way, you can know for sure that you will like how the pictures turn out. It would be awful to hire a photographer with a style different than your own, because you may not like the outcome of the photos.

  2. I love your tips for finding a good photographer. I agree that finding someone with a good website is pretty much a must nowadays. When we hire someone for my wedding this summer, I will make sure to look at their website.

  3. It was interesting to me how you pointed out the need to look at a photographer’s knowledge before hiring them to ensure are equipped to produce quality photos. My wife really wants to have family pictures taken, but we’ve never hired a professional photographer before. I’ll definitely take the time to look at their website and see what kind of knowledge and experience they have when it comes to different photos styles.

  4. I recently had my first child and wanted to get some family pictures with my husband and daughter to send to my family. You mentioned that when hiring a professional photographer it is important to check their experience and knowledge to produce quality photos. That is a great point for me to keep in mind and check with their portfolio online so that I can check the quality they produce.

    1. Thanks for checking out the advice!

  5. My brother has been wanting to get his home sold, and someone recommended that he hire a architectural photographer to take pictures of the home. I think that being able to do this would be really helpful for him, especially after reading about you doing architecture photography, and having a real estate portfolio. I think that being able to check out a photographer’s portfolio before hiring would be helpful, and hopefully my brother can find a good architecture picture service to help him get his home sold!

  6. These are some great tips for finding the right photographer. Photography is one thing that has a huge difference between pros and amateurs. I’ve seen some bad photos before, so I know that’s true. I like how you said to find someone who asks a lot to understand the project.

  7. You make some really good points about photography knowledge, especially about the ability to produce good photos. After all, pretty much anyone can be taught how to point a camera and take a photo. When you’re choosing a photographer you want to look at what unique and professional skills can they bring to your photo-shoot.

  8. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to define your full project when hiring a photographer for work to make sure you can find the right person needed. My daughter’s wedding is coming up and we’re wanting a photographer for the event to capture all of our memories that will be made while we’re there. I’ll have to start doing some more thorough research and look for a professional that will be able to meet all of our needs.

  9. It was great how you suggested checking what the photographer has been blogging about to know if they really are an expert when it comes to photography. I will be sure to do that since my sister needs them for her maternity photograph. Since this is such an important aspect of her life, I want to make sure that only a professional will work with her. Thank you for sharing this idea.

  10. I do like that you emphasize the importance of the photographer you hire having a website. After all, you will want to make sure that they have a place to show off all of their past photography work. That way you can get an idea of whether or not they will have the skill and experience you need them to have for your project.

  11. Thanks for sharing that not all photographers offer digital copies of the picture, so it would be best to ask first before choosing them. I will definitely follow your advice since I want to have some family photos done before this year ends, and I want it to be a yearly ritual. I plan to hang those photos on the wall and also post in on my social media accounts which is why I would also need some digital copies.

  12. I didn’t know that it was a good idea to describe your product to the photographer beforehand. Finding a great photographer to help you display your products seems very important. Hopefully, any business owner wanting to get some pictures done looks into finding the best commercial photographer possible.

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