7 vital questions to ask a photographer before they’re hired

There are a lot of photographers around, so it can be hard to distinguish one from another and to know which to choose.  To help you find the photographer who’s right for you, here’s a round-up of some of the questions you might like to ask.

1.  What type of photography do you specialise in? 

Each type of photography requires different techniques and often different equipment.  Someone like us, who specialises in commercial photography, may not have expertise in photographing babies (we wouldn’t know where to start!).  And conversely, someone who mainly photographs weddings may not be aware of all the techniques, styling and angles that we use when photographing interiors and exteriors.  Many photographers claim on their websites to do everything, so pin them down a little more closely.

2:  Who are your existing customers? 

This isn’t so much an issue for a photographer who’s clearly a wedding or portrait specialist.  But commercial photography, in particular, covers a wide range of different specialities, from advertising photography for multi-nationals to product photography for small business websites.  You’re likely to get the best results if the photographer has already done plenty of work for clients similar to you.  So for instance, if you’re looking for someone to photograph a hotel, keep an eye out for a photographer who’s done plenty of hotels previously.  Understanding the size of their clients is also useful, in that it gives you an indication of the level of their fees and avoids any awkward “can you afford me?” moments.  We publish our photography rates on our website for complete transparency, but we’re firmly in the minority.

3.  Do you carry back-up equipment?

This is mainly a question to ask wedding photographers.  Obviously, there are no opportunities for a re-run of a wedding, so everything has to work first time.  You would hope that a wedding photographer carries a back-up camera and lenses as standard, but they don’t always (just ask our electrician, whose wedding turned out photoless following an equipment malfunction).  As commercial photographers, we always carry back-up equipment too, as no client wants to prep the premises, staff or products twice over.

4.  Are you CRB checked?

Photographers who work with children or vulnerable adults have usually been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. Of course this isn’t fool-proof, but it’s something to check if it’s of concern to you.

5.  Is post-production editing, image hand-over and travel included in the quote?

Hopefully they will be, but it’s best to check if you’re unsure of anything.  Photographers do tend to add extras to their prices.  Also check that any special Photoshop effects that you require are included in the quote, along with high resolution images if you need them (for instance, for literature or exhibition stands).

6.  Can I use the images for anything, now and in the future?

Many photographers offer unlimited image usage to their clients as standard (after all, you paid for the photographs to be done in the first place).  However, some photographers will offer a licence- or royalty-based model; in this instance you need to be clear about whether there will be any charges in the future.

7.  Do you belong to any trade associations?

Trade associations often require their members to reach a certain level of competence and to subscribe to a particular standard of behaviour.  UK trade associations to look out for include the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Master Photographers Association (look for a photographer with Full Membership).

For more help with choosing a photographer, download our free, detailed checklist on finding and choosing a photographer.  And please get in touch if you have any questions and we’ll do our best to answer them. Thanks for reading!

About us: We offer creative and cost-effective commercial photography in North Wales.  Geoff Steen, our photographer, specialises in interiors, exteriors and corporate photography.  He has clients across North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside and Manchester.  Find out more by visiting our commercial photography pages.

Posted by: Jane

Image via www.freedigitalphotos.net