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, keep reading! This post is could save you so much money, stress, and self-esteem.
“Do I like this photographer’s style and does it fit my brand?”
First, do you think the photographer’s style is good?
This is entirely subjective and depends on your taste. Most likely their portfolio or social media posts are what attracted you to them in the first place, but look deeper. It is absolutely ok to ask to see a selection of full client galleries so you can determine if they are routinely producing quality photos. It is easy to capture 1 great photo, and much harder to create an entire gallery of on-brand images.
Then, think about if their style matches your brand vision. Is your brand color and bold? We might be a great fit! Is your brand light, bright, and neutral? You may want to look for a photographer who specializes in that look.
A great brand photographer can match your brand aesthetic, up to a certain point. It is best to start with a photographer whose work already looks similar to what you are hoping to achieve.
“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 entrepreneur 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 create photos for your business and your family is a handy person to know.
If you’re interested in someone who knows your business 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, as 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 1000 images or even 20 images. Some people need a bank of visual assets to last for several months. Where are you on the spectrum?
- 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 offer 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. Still life photos of objects that represent what you do, product photos, stop motion videos, flat lays, even photos of the back of your head in your work space can come in handy!
Find a branding photographer who can think outside the obvious and create photos that will become cornerstones of your visual branding.
Get the most out of your branding photography experience by asking these questions. No single photographer is the right fit for every single client. Ask these questions before hiring a branding photographer instead of picking someone just because you know them or because your friend recommended them. This is too important to leave to chance!
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