Questions you should ask your potential photographer

Before you engage the services of a photographer, not only should you take a look at their website and other social media channels but you might want to ask a few pertinent questions too.

  1. Pricing – Of course, you’re going to be interested in the price and if that matches your budget.  However, some photographers operate some rather confusing packages.  Some charge by the hour while others go by the number of images you have and some even do both charging you for their time and a quantity of images, should you require more then it’s extra.  Personally, I prefer to charge for my time and give my clients all the photos that pass my quality control, no matter how many that is.
  2. Portfolio – Have they done work in the field you’re working in before? Some photographers specialise in a particular genre, for instance new-born or wedding photography. They might not be the best choice to get the best images for your new product line or corporate headshots. I’m a commercial photographer, I don’t shoot families, babies, dogs, horses or anything similar. I concentrate on helping businesses look their best whether that’s staff headshots, products or even their premises.
  3. Delivery – How long after your shoot will your images be delivered and by what format? I know that some photographers still offer a USB stick similar to those that shoot weddings. Personally, I like to utilise a digital delivery system like WeTransfer or FileMail so that you get your photos sooner.  I also try to send you your images as soon as I can and guarantee you’ll have them within 48 hours after the shoot ends, in reality, you’ll get them sooner and, in some cases, even the same day!
  4. Equipment – While it’s not that important what sort of camera your potential photographer uses, it doesn’t hurt to ask so you can make an informed decision. You can take some fantastic photos with mobile phones, but you really shouldn’t allow your photographer to use one on your shoot.  There are many different digital cameras around but you will find that photographers who take themselves seriously are using what’s known as a full-frame camera body. The sensor in the body is roughly the size of your passport photo, 35mm, and can capture a wealth of detail which is of course what you want in your images.  I use Nikon D810 bodies with their associated lenses, these are full-frame units and produce RAW images of around 40MB.
  5. Are they use Flash?  There are occasions where using natural light can prove beneficial, but generally, for commercial photography, the use of flash is not only expected but required. I always use flash even when outside, as it fills in the shadows that natural light just can’t do.  I also use battery-powered, studio-quality lights that can be used inside or outdoors to give the best results possible. I use a variety of modifiers, depending on the situation, for shooting headshots or products.
  6. Image Format – Does your potential photographer shoot in RAW or JPEG? JPEG files don’t take up a lot of space but they also can’t be adjusted as much as RAW which is more like a film negative. Pretty much every aspect of a RAW file can be tweaked and adjusted to produce the best version of it, which can then be delivered in the more friendly JPEG format. I use Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop to make sure I deliver to my clients the best I possibly can, I subscribe to their monthly updates to make sure I keep up to date.
  7. Delivery Format – In what format do your images come and will you have to crop them yourself? I deliver all my images in 72dpi web-friendly and 300dpi print-ready formats as standard.  The web-friendly versions are just 1240 pixels on their longest side so you should be able to pop them straight onto your website or social media channels without any problems. Of course, I can resize for any use, just let me know what you need.
  8. Insurance -Do they have adequate public liability and professional indemnity cover? It’s important that photographers have their own cover especially in the case of event photography as the last thing you want as an event organiser is to held liable should your photographer either get their kit stolen or cause an accident that results in an injury.  I have £3 million worth of public liability and indemnity cover in place should the worst happen. Don’t be shy about asking to see a copy of your potential photographer’s insurance certificate, they should be happy to show you, I would.
  9. Personal Appearance – So this isn’t always that important and you’re certainly not going to expect a photographer to show up in a 3-piece suit, but of course, if you’re having a black-tie event then maybe your photographer should make the effort to blend in.  I do my best to dress appropriately for the occasion but usually, I’m in a smart but casual style, I have a collection of interesting shirts and a pile of Converse shoes as I need to be comfortable.

So there you go, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions when selecting your potential photographer, we ‘re generally an approachable bunch, I’m speaking for myself of course!!  But of course, you could save yourself all the hassle and book me, safe in the knowledge that everything is correct and in place.

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