Do you know the most important questions to ask before hiring a branding photographer?
Maybe you’ve asked around, tossed some keywords into Google, or made a post in a local Facebook group and gotten a few recommendations. But how do you know what to look for? What makes someone the right fit?
If you don’t want to waste money on the wrong photographer, hurt your brand, and deal with unnecessary frustration, listen up! Or…read up. This post is going to save you so much money and stress.
“Do I like this photographer’s style and does it fit my brand?”
Hiring a branding photographer should be easy. First things first: figure out what style fits your brand.
It might be tricky to determine what exactly you like about a photographer’s style if you aren’t well-versed in what types of styles exist. To make it easier, search Google and Pinterest for branding photos in your particular field of work. Look through magazines and blogs to see what kind of photos really grab your attention. Get an idea of what style options are available.
Some photographers shoot in a style called “light and airy” while others shoot in a style called “dark and moody.” Some shoot in a true-to-life traditional style while others (like me) shoot in a bold, hyper-colorful style. Some photographers are great at posing and others shoot more candidly. And some photographers shoot in a studio with commercial lighting, some shoot outdoors in natural lighting, while some can shoot anywhere with on-location lighting!
Every photographer is different and not every style will work for your brand. So really look at their body of work and try to imagine yourself in their photos before hiring a branding photographer – will it make your brand look the way you want it to or will you be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole?
“Is this photographer a specialist or a generalist? Does it matter?”
There are a thousand different styles of photography, but there only two types of professional photography businesses: Generalists and Specialists.
One is not better or worse than the others – it all depends on what you need.
A generalist is someone who photographs a wide variety of subjects: families, weddings, headshots, food, pets, real estate, boudoir, newborns, and maybe even branding. They’re the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to photography and they’re generally pretty adaptable.
A specialist is someone who has chosen a niche type of photography and rarely deviates from that genre. Someone might pick one or two of the types of photography listed above and get really good at just those, and not shoot anything else.
If you’re an entrepenuer who has a kid about to graduate high school and you’re engaged with plans to have another baby soon…you might benefit from a generalist! One photographer who can photograph for your business and your family is a handy person to know.
If you’re interested in someone who knows your needs in and out and can offer more advice and guidance for your brand beyond just photography – you’re going to be best served by a Branding Photography Specialist. Hi, that’s me! Hiring a branding photographer specialist will bring so much more value to your brand than just photos.
“Does this photographer fit my budget? What am I getting for my money, exactly?”
Small business owners and creative professionals do not have money to throw around all willy-nilly. I get that – we’re all working within a budget.
But, ass they say: Good work isn’t cheap and cheap work isn’t good.
It’s entirely fair to search for a branding photographer that fits within your budget, but the bigger issue is figuring out if you are getting your money’s worth or not. Here’s some things to consider:
- Number of photos: Knowing how many photos you actually need is important – not everyone needs 100 images or even 20 images.
- Preparation: There’s a lot of work that goes into a branding photography session. Showing up and just shooting randomly ain’t going to cut it. Find out what prep work the photographer includes in the session fee.
- Styling: It takes an entire team to create magazine-quality images. Ask if your photographer includes fashion styling, hair styling, and makeup application in their sessions. (Hint: I do!)
- Licensing: If you want to use the images in a magazine, you’ll need an Editorial license. What about if you want to use them on a billboard? That’s a Commercial Use license. Love them enough to make prints for your office? Be sure to get a Print Release! Want to own the photos for life and use them/edit them however you see fit? You’re probably going to need to buy the Copyright. Check with your photographer about what they allow for licensing.
Asking these types of questions before hiring a branding photographer will save you so much stress. When hiring a branding photographer, you are also paying for their experience, connections, planning skills, production management abilities, and time. It’s so much more than just images.
“How are they going to make me feel comfortable and look my best? I’m not photogenic!”
Let’s put this myth to rest: there is NO SUCH THING as “photogenic.”
Yes, some people are blessed with supermodel looks, but there are bad photos of them just like there are bad photos of the rest of us. What matters is who is behind the camera making the photo happen.
Branding photographers generally don’t work with models. We shoot regular people doing regular jobs – and regular people doing extraordinary jobs! No modeling experience required.
Each photographer will have a different strategy for getting you comfortable. Some may be hands-off and shoot in a documentary style, telling your story visually much like a photojournalist. Others, like me, work more like film directors, giving you a role to play or an emotion to evoke. Which style you prefer is entirely up to you.
My clients LOVE being told what to do, where to stand, how to act, and when to stick out their chin so they don’t get Scrunchy Neck Syndrome.
I also offer Professional Fashion Styling and Hair and Makeup Application by a licensed cosmetologist with my sessions for those who want to be magazine cover ready in all of their branding photos.
“What photos can they create for me besides just photos of me? There’s more to my business than just this pretty face.”
You probably don’t need dozens and dozens of photos of yourself. Your website would like pretty weird if every page featured your smiling face!
Find out if your photographer can create custom stock photos of subjects other than you. The image above is called a “flat lay.” Artfully arranged inanimate objects sure are pretty! These photos are great for featuring objects that represent your brand and can be used for social media posts, ads, print materials and website images.
Other ideas might be photos of your workspace, iconic places in your town, photos of work you’ve completed, or photos featuring your clients.