To get better professional photographs, before you start asking questions, you’ll need to have a think about the photos you require. What are the photos for? Will you print them? Where do you want people to see these photos – on their phone, on a billboard, on your living room wall? Once you have decided on the type and style of photos you want, it’s always good to try and find a photographer who specialises in what you are looking for. A sports photographer may not take great portraits – a landscape photographer may not be great at taking corporate head shots. So once you’ve narrowed it down to a few candidates, it’s a good idea to ask the following questions before engaging any photographer in a professional capacity:
You need to see and like some of their work. Every photographer sees it differently and “good” photography is incredibly subjective. Really it’s a matter of taste. The photos I like, wouldn’t necessarily be the photos you like. Preferably you should see example photos in the style that you are looking for. If you can’t see them on their website, make sure to ask to see some examples.
REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Just because someone takes a nice photo doesn’t mean to say they are going to be easy to work with! You should definitely make sure you find some positive reviews before engaging a professional photographer. It shouldn’t take too long (Google and Facebook are always a good place to start) and the time spent doing a bit of research is well worth it.
WILL YOU BE THE ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
The person holding the camera is crucial to you getting the images you want. Some photography businesses employ a few different photographers – even though their website may not make this obvious. It might sound silly, but asking this basic question could prevent a big surprise on the day of shooting. You need to know who is going to be taking the photos.
ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE VENUE?
If a photographer is unfamiliar with the venue your job will be located at, then generally it’s better if they are prepared to check it out. This is dependent on the type of service / fee being discussed obviously.
Check that your photographer is happy to work with a shot list. For one-off events / large gatherings it is great to be specific about the shots you are expecting to receive. If you give your photographer a shot list, you are far less likely to have shots missing when the photos are handed back to you.
WHAT EXACTLY AM I PAYING FOR?
Before you confirm, or pay a deposit – it is really important to have in writing (email / text) exactly the service you are paying for. What is included, what isn’t included. Generally, you do get what you pay for – top quality images, depending on the style, will probably cost more. Clarity about the details of engagement is really important to a good outcome. Here is a list of questions to get you started:
- How long will you be taking photographs for?
- Is there an extra charge if the shoot goes over time?
- Will you be using lighting and is this included in the cost?
- Will you be using an assistant and is this included in the cost?
- How many professional photographs will I receive?
- Do I get physical prints or digital images?
- What size and format are the master images?
- Will the photos be retouched?
- What is the deposit and total fee?
By asking some important questions, you will have a much better chance of matching your expectations, and getting the professional photographs you want. This will definitely make for a much more positive experience for both parties. Yay 🙂