Are you wondering how to choose the right brand photographer for your business?
Brand photography can be a big investment. I’m going to tell you all of the things that you need to consider before hiring a brand photographer.
If videos are more your jam, you can watch it here instead:
Let’s dive in…
There are so many different kinds of photographers out there.
There are newborn photographers, wedding photographers, senior photographers. The list goes on and on. Just because somebody can take photos in one area does not mean that they are a brand photographer.
You want to make sure that you are looking for someone who specializes in brand photography and can give you what you and your business needs, which brings me to the next obvious one.
They need to understand marketing, business, and what an entrepreneur needs.
Having the perfect portrait or headshot is great… and yes, you do need that, but there are other things that you need as well, such as:
Photos that are wide and have space to fit your banners on your website.
Photos that have white or negative space up in one side so that you can add text.
All different shapes and sizes for different things in your business.
They need to understand your brand and who you’re trying to attract and how these photos will help you meet your business goals.
Do they have a way that they get to know your brand and business?
What does that process look like?
Do they have an understanding of your ideal client and what does that look like?
What are their overall processes for working with them?
What are the steps and how do they get to know you and your brand?
I know this next one is going to rub a lot of photographers the wrong way, but you need to be able to alter your images.
A lot of photographers do not allow this, and I understand why. As photographers, we spend a lot of time editing and cropping and framing and doing all of the things to create this perfect photo, so seeing someone add a filter can be like a stab in the heart. But I think as brand photographers, we also need to keep in mind these photos aren’t for us. While they are our art, at the end of the day, they’re for your client’s business.
You need to be able to:
- Add text.
- Crop to fit different things for your needs, whether it’s your website or your print materials, or your social media or whatever.
- Crop and change the size of those images to fit your needs.
If you’re into filters (which I’m not really a huge fan of, but I know a lot of people are for that aesthetic on Instagram) you need to be able to add those, because it is your brand. Speaking of filters…
My next recommendation for you is to choose someone with a style that you like.
Look at the person’s work. There is a wide variety of photography out there. Three really common editing styles are Light & Airy, Natural, and Dark & Moody. If you have a specific look in mind for what you want your brand photography to look like, it doesn’t make any sense to hire someone who doesn’t shoot and edit in that same style. By choosing someone with a style that you like saves you a lot of time in trying to find filters to add afterward. Plus, you’re just more likely to get what you want.
Look at the work they’ve done for other clients.
Sometimes a website just serves as a highlight reel and other times, photographers aren’t so great at actually updating their website. (Oops, I’m working on it, okay? It’s on my list. It’s going to happen.)
Do a little digging around and figure out who else they’ve worked with. Look at other clients’ social media and websites, to see how they’re using their brand photos. The easiest way to do this is to go to the photographer’s tagged photos on Instagram. From there, you can just kind of go down the rabbit hole of Insta stalking… and see where it takes you.
I mean, it’s not creepy because, after all don’t we get brand photos to be more visible and found by more people?
Yeah, we do.
While you’re on social media and websites, look at the photographer’s website and social media.
Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does their website look like something you would want your website to look like? Is it professional? And an even more important question is, do they have their own personal brand?
A lot of photographers like to hide behind their work because it’s easier. But if someone is going to help you build your personal brand, it’s my belief that they should also be building their own too. So look into that.
How strong do you feel their branding is? Take that into consideration before you hire somebody to help you build yours.
When I first started my business, I actually set up a separate Instagram account from my personal Instagram account for my brand photography specifically. About a week or so in, I realized, this looks really pretty, but if I’m actually trying to help people build their brand and show up as themselves online and infuse themselves into their business, why would I not do that myself?
That second account was very short-lived. I now only have one account that encompasses my life and my work together, as one.
Before you book a shoot, you always want to book a consultation.
They may do a really good job on social media, interacting in their stories and things like that, and you may feel like you know them, which is a really, really good thing. But until you’re actually on a phone call, you can’t really get the vibe of whether or not you would mix well with them. It’s even better if you can do o a zoom call with them, or meet in person to get that face to face interaction.
Vibing with your photographer, who you’re probably going to spend all day with creating images and visuals for your brand is super important. The energy that is present the day of your photo shoot is going to be the energy that comes through in your photos.
This is why it’s so important to make sure that your photographer is a good fit for you and your business.
Having a consultation also allows you to really express what your needs are and make sure that the photographer is actually able to deliver on that. On the same token, sometimes us as photographers, won’t always mesh well with the client.
In that case, we may need to refer you to somebody else. It could be due to personality, or it could just be due to the fact that what you need, isn’t something we feel like we can deliver on. If the photographer says it’s not the best fit, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s you. Sometimes it’s them. No matter what the issue, if it’s not a good fit, you don’t want to work together.
Lastly, you need to understand what you’re paying for and what you’re receiving.
There is nothing worse than being blindsided by ad-ons and fees, when you didn’t think they were going to happen. Look at their packages. It’s really important for you to know what’s included and what’s not included.
How many images are you getting?
Do you get to choose your favorites?
Is a commercial use license included?
What’s the timeline?
What do you actually get when you get your stuff back?
It’s really, really important to know these things.
To wrap it all up, you really just need to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Do your homework to make sure that the photographer you hire can meet your needs as a person, as a brand, and as a business.
Brand photography is a very special thing, and there is not one brand photographer that fits everyone’s needs. We all have different things that we specialize in. I think that’s really important to keep in mind when choosing one for your brand.
That also means sometimes you can’t find the perfect person locally. You may have to fly somewhere to the photographer, or you might have to fly the photographer to you. So that’s just another thing to keep in mind.
When in doubt, ask questions.
A good photographer should be happy to answer any questions that you have when it comes to working with them.
Speaking of questions, you’ll want to catch next week’s video and blog. I will be going over Questions You Need to Ask Before You Book a Brand Photographer.