Whilst urgencies can occur when you simply don’t have time to “shop around” for a creative professional, most of the time, whether you’re a business or a private client, you’ll be planning your photoshoot or event coverage well in advance, so take the time to find out who is right for you…
FIND THE STYLE THAT SUITS YOU
The most important point first; if you’re contacting photographers without having viewed their work, then you really risk wasting time. Only once you’ve looked at their images and been convinced that their approach can suit your needs and meet your expectations should you contact them.
IF YOU’VE A BUDGET, FIND THE BEST VALUE OPTION, NOT THE CHEAPEST
How much you can or are willing to invest in photographic services will depend on the importance of the photographs you’ll receive. Whether you’re a private client wanting your wedding photography or an enterprise requiring complete coverage of an important corporate event, remember that you’ll only get one chance at getting the visual memories you want. Therefore, when you’re faced with the uncertainty of the cheapest solution and the reliability of the best value solution, it’s probably worth paying that little bit more.
ONLY ACCEPT PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT (CAMERA & LENSES)
Whilst this may seem a no-brainer, you would be surprised at the equipment many commissioned photographers shoot with. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a private client and you’ve found a photographer whose portfolio you love and you’re only going to be viewing the images on a small screen then perhaps their equipment can be disregarded. However, if you’re a business paying good money for a professional services, you should expect nothing less than a photographer with a professional camera and lens set up. Whilst equipment will always be of secondary importance to a photographer’s ability, there are simply numerous situations (such as low-light environments) where capturing images with anything less than a professional lens is altogether impossible.
I openly advertise what equipment I use, because I see that as being essential information. If a photographer you are considering makes no mention of their camera and lenses on their website, I would strongly recommend you request this information from them.
LOOK FOR A COMPREHENSIVE PORTFOLIO
Whether for photography, videography, or any other creative domain, I would never hire a professional based purely on having seen a short “best of” reel. As a paying customer, it’s important you can see extensive examples of photographs from each related assignment a photographer has previously undertaken. This will give you a clear idea as to what to really expect from hiring them so that you can be confident that, whether you’re paying for 20 photographs or 200 photographs, you’ll be happy with every image, and not just a select few.
IF YOU’RE A BUSINESS, LOOK AT THEIR PREVIOUS CLIENTS
Although I relish doing work for different types of enterprises, I know that it’s reassuring for prospective business clients when they see that I have previously been hired by companies with similar profiles (e.g. international, tech. etc).
GIVE THE CLEAREST BRIEF POSSIBLE
(Date/s, Duration, Desired Turnaround Time, Number of subjects/guests,..)
Based on their website and portfolio, you may have found your dream photographer. However, if they are not available on the required dates, or if they can’t meet your turnaround time, there’s no point them sending you a proposal! The more information you provide about your needs, the more efficiently a photographer can respond to you and the smoother the whole process of finding and hiring will go.
I pride myself on my reactivity and my ability to quickly respond to requests with comprehensive quotes, hence it’s frustrating for me not to be able to do this in the first instance due to not having been given the essential details to do so. I don’t advertise photo packages as I always seek to tailor quotes to each clients specific needs, but in order to do that, I need information :)
IF YOU’VE A FIXED BUDGET, COMMUNICATE IT
Many prospective clients will fear that disclosing their budgets will rule out the possibility of the photographer proposing them anything cheaper. This certainly isn’t true in my case; depending on the amount communicated, I’ll generally aim to provide options based around a given budget, so customers can see what they’ll get for paying a bit more or a bit less.
SOME EASY ANSWERS (TO SUMMARISE)
Q) Quality isn’t important, we simply want some snaps captured by another person and are looking for the cheapest possible option.
I would recommend you put a private advertisement up for a student or amateur photographer. It is not worth you considering professional photography.
Q) We want a photographer whose style really suits our needs.
Take the time to visit local photographers’ websites and scrutinise their portfolios until you’ve found the one that’s right for you. The best advice I could ever give.
Q) We are looking for the best value for money Paris photographer.
Q) We’d prefer a native english speaking photographer.
Q) We need someone fluent in several languages for international guests.
Q) We need someone that can provide a very fast turnaround time.
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