Working With a Professional Photographer – What to Expect
If you have never hired a professional photographer before and have decided that it’s time to do just that, here are a few things you need to know. First, don’t call a photographer nearby wedding photographer and ask them if they can photograph a product for you. Call a photographer who has experience in the area of expertise that you need. Go to their web site to get a general idea of who they are and what they specialize in. You should be able to tell fairly quickly if they have a broad base of experience or if they specialize in one thing. When you call, be prepared to be as specific as possible regarding what you want. Don’t just ask for their hourly or daily rates. Understand that their rates may vary depending upon what you need, when you need it, how long they estimate it will take, what equipment will be necessary and if there are any other parties that will want the rights to use the images. Image usage rights vary from photographer to photographer, but industry standards dictate that unless you request outright ownership of the images, every image the photographer takes on your behalf belongs to him. Asking for ownership of the images is not the norm, and unless you need it, you are far better off only paying for what you actually need. The more information you can give your photographer at the time you request an estimate, the more likely you are to get a fair and accurate one. Discuss your ideas and what you hope to gain from using the photography. Is it going on your web site only? Will it also be used in a printed portfolio? Will it be blown up poster size and used at trade shows? Is it going into a magazine ad? These are all things a photographer needs to know in order to help you get what you want, without getting more or less than what you need.
Make certain that you understand the policies and procedures for a photo shoot ahead of time so that you are prepared when the day arrives. If you are an interior designer and you hire a photographer to photograph several rooms in a home, make sure you tell the homeowner in advance what to expect. You are not coming there to have a few snapshots taken and leave. You will be there for hours. If they have small children or pets, it will be your responsibility to address that with your client. You want your photographer to be able to concentrate on nothing but getting you fabulous images. If he or she is nervously distracted by energized children running around perilously close to expensive equipment, no one will come away feeling satisfied that the best images were obtained that day.
Understand that because of the nature of photography and digital files, most photographers expect a deposit to secure your date on their calendar with the balance being due either at the end of the photo shoot or shortly thereafter, before you can receive your image disk. It’s like groceries-you pay for them when you get them, not a month after you’ve eaten them. Know that once you have selected a photo shoot date, you need to do everything in your power to keep that date or you could lose your deposit. Why? Because that day has been set aside just for you and your photographer has turned away other work that he could have scheduled for that day. If you leave him hanging, he has a day when he could have earned income but now he can’t because you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain.