Hiring a photographer is a significant investment so you need to be sure you find someone who understands your ideas, someone who will come up with the goods but who won’t charge you the earth.
There are a few simple things you can do to make the process easier and to set up the photographer for success.
Before you choose a photographer
When you first make contact, ask them to come to your premises for the initial meeting. This should give them an opportunity to scope out your business, see how technically challenging the lighting conditions are and make suggestions that you may not have considered.
Find out who they have worked for previously and contact them directly for a reference. Portfolios, online or otherwise, are a great starting point but it is easy to filter this to the best work ever taken rather than a more complete picture (excuse the pun). By speaking to a previous client you can find out if they had a positive experience and how timely the photographer was in delivering the goods.
Plan and prepare in advance
To get the most out of your investment it is well worth planning what you want photographed in advance. Leaving it to the professional to decide on the day can lead to a lot of wasted time and missed opportunity.
When you sit down with your team and discuss the photos you need now, the ones that have prompted you to hire a photographer, think more broadly about images that might update other resources in the future. You might need photographs now for a product launch or for a new brochure, but are there more general shots of your team at work, behind the scenes in your factory, your showroom or management team?
You may identify shots that would help illustrate permanent pages on your website, like your ‘about me’ or ‘contact us’. Photos of your premises can be a long-term asset and add depth to your company identity when new customers are checking you out online.
There might be work your team carry out less often, jobs that make great images like making a bespoke item, which you can factor in when booking a photographer to maximise the variety of opportunities they will have.
By discussing this well in advance you can better brief your photographer and get a fair quote to avoid any issue down the line. If they turn up and you keep them there, adding more and more ‘quick shots’ to the list, you may get a much bigger bill than you expected.
It also gives you the chance to gather the input of other people in your team, especially your web designers, as they may be aware of photos that could be updated. It might be that a higher resolution or different aspect ration would cover a technical concern or it could be as simple as freshening up the look.
Agree a license for use
It is best not to assume that you will be given full rights to the images that you have employed them to take. They are within their rights to restrict the use of the images and some copyright savvy photographers might do so as standard.
This could be restrictions on the territories (or countries) you are able to use the images in, the number or years, publications, formats etc. If you want full rights to use them anyhow you please forever more, make that clear from the offset to avoid any nasty surprises.