How to hire the right Brand Photographer? | NJ Brand Photographer
So you decided to invest in brand photography - congrats! It's a big step and will require some work on your part but it will totally be worth it and help grow your business. The first step is to find the right person to hire to take your photos. This person should be considered a partner, a collaborator and almost like a friend.
If you don’t already have a photographer in mind, today is the day to start looking. But with so many photographers out there, how do you choose? Here are some tips to help you select the best professional photographer for your brand.
Not all photographers are the same. It is important to spend time looking through the images on the photographer’s website, blog, Facebook and Instagram. Make sure your brand style and aesthetic matches the photographer’s creative vision. Do you prefer posed or candid? Do you like traditional or more modern? Do you like their style of lighting? Did the photographer capture connection and emotion in a way that resonated with you? Do the images look natural or overly edited? Are the photos creative and innovative?
Take time and really browse through their portfolio. Ask yourself if you would use images from their portfolio on your website. It is so important to understand your photographer’s style and choose someone that appeals to you, as well as your audience.
To me, this is a big one. It is essential to talk in person, over the phone or by email to the photographer before you book a session. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with that person. Because let’s be honest, photo shoots are sometimes stressful. You want to make sure the person behind the camera is in control and can help you feel natural and at ease. Pay attention to the photographer’s tone, their word choice, their body language, their reaction time.
Are they warm or matter of fact? Are they patient and informative? Did they respond to you in a timely way? Will they take the time to get to know you and your business? Are they clear in their directions?
All of these factors are so important to capturing the story of your business. If he/she feels like a friend from the start, then you’re on the right track!
Read the Testimonials
Make sure to read what previous clients have written about the photographer and their experience. Visit their Facebook business pages to see unsolicited feedback on the images and session. Seek out referrals too. Friends and family are a good place to get honest reviews of photographers. Also search in Facebook business groups. Ask how they liked working with the photographer, were they happy with their images and products, how quickly did the photographer share the images/deliver the goods and would they book the photographer again. Consider the feedback in your decision making.
Read the Bio
The About Me page was created for a reason. Please read it! Find out more about the person behind the lens. How long have they been shooting? How many years in business? Are they self-taught or did they get a degree in photography? Have they been featured in any magazines or websites? Won any awards? Why do they do this?
And the most important question for a brand photographer in my opinion is : Do they experience and expertise in brand strategy? Brand photography is so much more then a show up and shoot kind of session to create pretty pictures. It is intentional, purposeful and is meant to tell the STORY of your brand. Your photographer needs to develop a visual strategy to communicate your message clearly and with impact.
Make sure to review the bio well. You want not only a sense of their personality but also learn about their professional path and passions. And if the bio doesn't tell you all of this, simply ask them!
Prices and Products
Living in a digital world, we now have photographers at every price point. In a way this is a wonderful thing because it is now a service for everyone. But, I urge you to be wary of low pricing. It might look like a steal on paper but take a closer look at the images and products that you get in return for the price. Are the images all edited? Do they have a consistent look and style? Will the photographer spend time with you to select the right images and packages for your needs? Photography is an investment and a tool to tell your story in a powerful, stand-out manner. You want it to be the best quality it can be. You want to work with a professional.
Also look closely at the packages that the photographer offers. Is it one fee for the session + digitals or do you pay more a la carte? Does the package include hair and makeup (necessary for a brand photo shoot)? Does the package include pre-shoot consultation? In my business, I do all inclusive packages where there is one set price that includes visual strategy, photo session, hair - makeup and 40 edited files for your brand library.
Understand the deliverables as well. What do you get at the end of session? How many digital images - edited or unedited? In what formats - high resolution for printing and/or websized for online? This is so important to know upfront so that you get what you need for all your marketing needs. I suggest writing a list of the places you will be using the photos first and then having a conversation with the photographer to see if they can help you fulfill those needs.
Are you now ready to start your search? If you’ve been thinking about branding portraits for awhile, this is the time to do it. Your business will benefit from the investment! Ask around for names and recommendations. Look closely at portfolios. Check out Facebook and Instagram feeds. Remember: Every photographer is different. You need to do the diligent work of finding someone who is the right match for you.
Hiring a photographer is all about trust and connection. You are trusting a professional to communicate the story of your brand, your movement, your vision. You want the experience to be fun, stress free and memorable. It's a creative collaboration that hopefully, you’ll do it every few years.
Hope these tips help you get started in finding the right photographer for your business. If it all feels overwhelming and you need more help navigating the brand photography process, I just wrote a book called The Brand Photography Playbook. It's an insider's guide to planning your photo shoot and building a stand-out brand. A comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, answering all their questions about brand photography and walking you through how to plan a successful photo shoot. Also includes storytelling photography that will both inspire and illustrate the power of visual storytelling. It's a great resource to help you during this process and even afterwards.
I am here and happy to answer any questions so feel free to reach out to me directly as well!