Choosing and commissioning professional photography is a business investment decision. Based on my experience may I offer ‘Top 5’ tips for both stages to help you get the best from your investment?
All decent photographers will have a portfolio of thousands of images that they can show you. This is an interesting and necessary qualification of a quality approach and standard. Can they match your requirement? Probably, but the ball is really in your court.
Tip No 1: Have a clear idea of why you are having the photographs taken. The easiest way to do this is to complete this statement …. [Example text is in square brackets]
‘I need these photographs because … [e.g. I wish to show myself as an authoritative figure in one of my consultancy lecture sessions].
Tip No 2: Have a clear idea of the use you want to make of the images. How many do you need? Are they for advertising, editorial, web site, brochures etc? The number, type of images / files you need and usage will be an important consideration for the quotation you will receive and negotiate. Another key consideration is copyright of the work. Make sure this is clear. My own policy (non negotiable) is that I retain copyright but will grant agreed usage license.
Tip No 3: There are plenty of sources for finding photographers. These include personal referral, search engines, contacting others featuring the type of images you feel would suit your purposes, and professional societies. However you gather them in, may I suggest that you limit your contact to a maximum of three candidates? If you can tell a photographer they are one of three it will encourage a good effort to win your business!
Tip No 4: Match the balance of requirement and budget to give you best value and which also is a reasonable reward for the photographer. You can always get quotes ranging from ‘as cheap as chips’ to ‘eye-watering’. A usual help is to ask for a breakdown of costs – locations, models, props etc. You are the decision maker on this one.
Tip No 5: You will benefit from a clear session brief and spec before the session. I usually sketch out the looks I propose to cover in the session booked. This will establish any props required, models, model release, timing, overtime possibilities, how the images will be approved (now this can be done easily on the day with digital). If the photographer can make creative contributions I would suggest make sure that the agreed looks are covered before extending into any creative directions. If they happen, value them because often interesting ideas and shots can arise not thought of before.
Photography is a large and important subject. I trust these tips will be of help to you. If you would like to speak to me I will be happy to help all I can.
Professional Photographer based in Marlow, Bucks. NUJ member
Fashion, celebrity, advertising, editorial, events, corporate, wedding and portrait
Raymondo Marcus is an established and published professional photographer. He covers London Fashion Week, has many published images and a strong advertising background. His service is summed up by “a great image is 1/1000th of a second and a lifetime of experience …”