7 Questions to Plan a Successful Photo Shoot
Photographs are a must-have in any marketing plan. You’ve built and nurtured your business, so it is important that you partner with a photographer that understands your needs. How do you go about finding and hiring the RIGHT photographer? Unsurprisingly, the number one question that inquiries can think to ask is “how much?”. If you aren’t sure what else to ask, here are seven questions you can ask your photographer to dive deeper into their expertise and determine if you have found the right photographer to hire.
Customer Stories / Advertising | Client Feature: Ting – Westminster, MD
1. What kind of photography genres do you offer?
This can be answered by viewing a photographer’s portfolio. However, you may find a photographer whose style you LOVE but their portfolio does not display the type of photography you seek. Or maybe you want to see photoshoots with other businesses like yours. Make sure your photographer understands your needs and has the experience (and portfolio) to back it up. Do not be shy to ask for more specific samples.
With that said, photographers (like many professionals) have a world of genres to explore. So if YOU are their first client in a new genre, simply make sure that their style and quality meets the needs, and consider giving them a chance.
Personal Branding & Product | Client Feature: Brewery Fire – Taneytown, MD
2. What is your fee for (this type of) photography?
The more established a photographer, the higher their cost. Besides talent and demand, photographers have several expenses that are factored into photo sessions. Photo equipment, taxes, commercial liability insurance, travel, TIME are not cheap. I recommend that you first evaluate your photographer based upon how the quality and style of their portfolio fits your vision.
Review what is included in the fee. I think sometimes proposals can lead to sticker-shock, especially if comparing apples to oranges. Most people only have experience with “consumer” photography like wedding, family, and portrait photography pricing. Commercial, Corporate, Personal Branding, and Product Photography can be a whole other beast.
Details to consider in cost are:
- Consultations / Planning
- Photographer’s Time
- Photo Licensing / Usage Permissions
- Assistant(s) & Other Hired Help (Make-Up & Hair Stylists, for example)
- Upgraded Services (Tethering or On-Site Selection, for example)
- Photo Editing / Retouching
- Number of Photo Deliverables
- Delivery Turn-Around Timeframe
- Location Scouting
- Travel Expenses
Last, weigh the photographers experience, style, and value to the the total cost. Just remember, if you pay too much, you may lose a little. But if you pay too little, you risk losing everything.
Personal Branding / Advertising | Client Feature: Carroll Community College – Westminster, MD
3. How can the photos be used?
Typically a photographer maintains the copyright to the photographs and licenses usage permission to the client.
When requesting a quote from a photographer, be sure to mention all the ways you plan to use your photographs. Some photographers charge for individual uses, time-periods, or give full usage permissions. And keep in mind that the price per image may vary based on included usage permissions.
Marketing and Advertising varies, from use on social media to billboards, and often times those uses warrant different pricing.
Merchandising is a whole other beast. If you plan to make a product with the photos, you likely need to draw up a separate contract with your photographer. This may outline a one-time buyout, a license for a specific number of products, or a percentage-based commission.
Product / Catalog | Client Feature: ACTION Products – Hagerstown, MD
4. What is your policy on re-shoots?
Reshoot policies will be different from photographer to photographer, and can be heavily dependent on the situation at hand. Sometimes reshoots require an additional fee, while other times they do not.
When you hire a photographer, you are hiring them based heavily on their technical abilities and consistency in style. So a photo shoot that does not meet the photographers advertised quality-level could warrant a reshoot. But if the quality is met, a reshoot may not be applicable.
If there are factors outside of the photographer’s control, such as:
- Make-Up / Hair
- Attendance / Tardiness
These are examples of when a reshoot policy does not usually apply. (*In case of poor weather, make sure your photographer has leniencies on rescheduling.)
With that said, your photographer wants you raving with joy, so a reshoot may be negotiable. Have the conversation and mutually decide on next steps.
To prevent reshoots, I request that the client preview the photographs as we work. That way we can go back and correct any weaknesses in the composition/pose. This gives the client comfort, and gives me the confidence that we captured everything needed before packing up the photo gear.
Team Headshots | Client Feature: Penguin Random House – Westminster, MD
5. What can I do to help?
Amazing photoshoots happen when everyone works together. Something I wildly appreciate is a client who is invested enough to be a part of the photo shoot planning and execution.
For planning, it may be keeping participants informed of where to be at what time or what to wear (your photographer might be willing to offer wardrobe guidance). It may be preparing a shot-list. It may be organizing props, products, and other supporting materials. It may be securing the location(s), model(s), and permit(s).
For photo shoot execution, it may be finding the right people. It may be helping to rearrange a space or set-up. It may be standing next to the model to help adjust fly-aways. It may be running to turn on the AC. It may be simply being available to review photos taken and offer feedback and/or approval.
There is probably such a thing as TOO involved, haha! But I’ve never seen it. I love client involvement and I find that it results in better final photographs.
Personal Branding | Client Feature: BKZ Benefits Group – Westminster, MD
6. How can I get the most bang for my buck?
I love the idea of getting the best value in exchange for my time and money. And THIS is a great question, because there are so many answers…
- Longer session for larger stock of photographs to shop later.
- Save money by “hiring” your own help.
- Ask staff, loyal customers, friends, and family to be your models.
- Trade for a make-up artist or hair stylist (or other service you need to enhance your photo shoot)
- Consider larger packages for volume savings.
- Market with your photos wisely for improved ROI.
- Repurpose props instead of buying new.
- Alter props to better fit your branding. Spray paint can be your best friend!
- Thrift or borrow your props / wardrobe instead of buying new.
I feel like the world is your oyster on this one and every photographer is going to have a different answer.
Event / Behind-The-Scenes / Personal Branding | Client Feature: Local Homestead Products – New Windsor, MD
7. Who have you worked with in the past?
As the client, it is vital that you do your due diligence before hiring or buying. Do a little stalking and check out their website, their social media, and their reviews on Google and Facebook and other popular platforms. Is the feedback positive, genuine, and consistent? Testimonials can help reveal what it will be like to work together and overall satisfaction with the experience and the final product.
Hopefully your photographer can point you to some resources or references if you cannot find them yourself.
Product | Client Feature: Doug’s Turnings – Taneytown, MD