You know that you need images for your business and you know that you’ll probably need to hire someone at some point, but who should you hire and where should you look?
Not all photographers are the same. In fact being labeled ‘a photographer’ is as ambiguous as being called a business person. If you were to tell someone you were in the business of being in business I guess you’d get some pretty confused looks. Before you look for a photographer you need to know what type of photographer you are looking for. It makes the whole task a lot easier.
Before you do anything make a short list. You can then use this list when you approach any photographer. It’ll make things a lot simpler for both parties.
1. What exactly you need photographed
2. What you need the photos for – online, printed advertising etc.
3. What you budget is. Be prepared to change this as you might find that the type of photography you need is more expensive than you thought. You are not going to get David Bailey to photograph your head shots for £10 an hour. You will always be able to find someone cheaper for any job but photography isn’t necessarily something you want to open up a price bidding war for. If one photographer is able to offer the same job for half the price of another there is always a good reason for it.
4. Turnaround times. You need to make it clear how quickly you need these images for or at the very least you need to ask what turnaround time you can expect.
There will of course be other considerations and questions you will need to ask when making first contact but that does depend on the job.
Where to find the right photographer.
Hopefully you should have a growing network of businesses that you work with already but if you are starting out then visiting networking groups can be a great way to meet photographers. Try visiting a few of these groups, you can normally do this as a guest without having to join up for the whole year. There are also plenty of online networking sites but always try to get involved with ones that actually have face to face meetings. Regional groups are always going to be more helpful for you in the beginning as national and international groups are throwing the net a bit wide.
“This is the photographer who shot our wedding, I think he’ll be able to do product photography” is not a good recommendation. Get recommendations from other businesses that have hired photographers for the same type of photography that you are looking for.
3. Professional Associations
There a number of different professional photography associations out there and they all have various levels of photographers on their books so don’t just look to their listings to find the nearest guy with a camera. All the associations have different levels of qualifications which does reflect the level of skill and of course price. They also have various awards for their members so check out some of the past winners in the field you are looking for. The big three I would look at first are The Societies, The Master Photographer Association and The British Institute of Professional Photography.
4. Competitors websites and magazines
There are loads of great images out there and rather than asking a photographer to if they can photograph “something like that” why not find the photographer who created the images in the first place?
5. Use Google Images
Rather than Googling terms and trawling through dozens of websites to find samples just put in the type of photography you are looking for in Google Images and see what comes up in the results. You might find that you are in fact looking for something completely different than you first thought.
6. Ask other photographers.
Photographers know other photographers and one way we get business is to recommend and be recommended by other photographers who are outside our area either geographically or in terms of expertise. I know very little about interior photography and drawing floor plans but I know a few photographers that do.
Where have you found a great photographer that you have used in your business? Share in the comments.
Where not to find the right photographer
1. Google “photographer in your area”
Just because someone down the street from you has a photography website doesn’t make them a right fit for you.
2. Ask a friend who has a nice camera to do it for you
Possibly the worst choice you could make for your business.
3. Photographers who “don’t normally do that sort of thing but……..”
To be honest you’ll probably get this a lot a networking events so be warned.
Ask the right questions, look in the right places and it could be the start of a beautiful business relationship.