So you’re ready to hire a photographer for your project, but where do you begin? Choosing a photographer can be a lot like dating: you want to make sure that the person you hire is the right fit for your needs. Below are six items you should consider when trying to find “the one.”
The photographer you choose to shoot your project should match your creative outlook as well as your social presence. You need to be sure you “click” with each other since you’ll be working collaboratively. In a perfect scenario, you will come up with some ideas and they will come up with some ideas, and by the end of the project your combined efforts will result in something you’re both extremely proud of. However, if you don’t feel that “click” with the photographer, the project will suffer. It’s important to trust their vision as much as it’s important for them to be accurate to yours. The “click” will create a relationship where all of this merges seamlessly into the project you envision.
Everyone likes to get the best deal possible. In the creative field, however, spending a little more isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you have a big project and a fast timeline. Higher-priced studios will generally employ a larger staff that can handle a lot more work thrown at them, thus producing your project quickly. Higher prices can also indicate greater experience and accomplishments within that field, as opposed to a smaller and/or newer studio. Ultimately, you want to get the best bang for your buck so be sure weigh the pros and cons of each studio/photographer against each other. Never make your decision solely based on who is the cheapest.
Before shooting begins, your photographer should understand your vision and needs about as well as you do. If that’s not the case, communication has been ineffective and the project will suffer as a result. It’s vital that your photographer asks questions and gives suggestions until the vision is completely understood. You don’t want to find yourself on set one day and realize the photographer doesn’t truly grasp what you’re trying to accomplish. The ability to take a great picture is one thing; the ability to take a great picture of exactly what you envisioned is quite another - and is much more important.
A light and airy portrait shooter might not be accustomed to shooting dark and gritty cinematic sets. Ask to see some of your photographer’s prior work to ensure your styles match. Furthermore, larger studios can offer a few things that smaller studios cannot, one of which is what we call “Community Style.” Picture a building full of artists, from photographers to retouchers to CGI Specialists all with different strengths, styles, training, and backgrounds working collaboratively to produce exactly what you envision. Your style, vision, and overall look will not only be achieved, but the work will be critiqued by a building full of artists before it’s even deemed acceptable to present to you.
What have you heard about this photographer from others? Sometimes shooters can be like bad general contractors: they show up late, they charge you more, and/or they don’t fulfill their promises. A recommendation from a friend or business partner can be incredibly helpful, so ask around. Every good business cares about the quality of work they produce and how happy their customers are. A business that is constantly focusing and improving on this will undoubtedly have many satisfied clients that will be happy to convey their recommendation. You will always have a better experience working with a company that puts quality and your happiness at the top of their list of priorities.
There is a lot of pressure on your shoulders to get great work at a good price, so make sure your photographer has had some experience with bigger production projects in addition to smaller ones. This is not only important to gauge the quality of work produced on these different projects, but also to gauge how effective and organized their process is. At the end of the project, everyone wants great imagery, but also to achieve it with as few hiccups and headaches as possible. Most likely, if the studio completed projects with 50,000+ final images, their process is buttoned up enough to successfully manage and complete any size project in an efficient and organized manner, and that means fewer headaches for you.
Though the process of finding the photographer/studio that is right for you may seem a little daunting at first, using these steps will help to ensure your future project bliss. Your perfect photographer is out there somewhere, so go get ‘em, tiger!
Did we leave out anything you feel is important in this process? Please let us know in the comments below.