Every small business owner is a Jack (or Jill) of all trades in the beginning. You track your finances, do your own marketing, follow-up with clients, do your taxes, and on and on. There’s always that point in the life of a business, though, when you realize you’re ready for – and able to pay for – professional help. Congrats! This is a major milestone for many, and should be celebrated. So the last thing you want to do is go through the process and expense of hiring someone, only to find that they’re not a good fit for your brand and you’ve wasted time and money. While each profession is different, there are definitely some things to keep in mind when looking for your perfect photographer match.
- Know your brand. Nothing will waste your money faster than hiring a photographer before you know your brand. You should have a very clear brand image and message before seeking out a photographer to (ideally) visualize that branding. Do you have a set color scheme? A logo? Who is your target market? What are you trying to say to them, and how are you wanting to say it? Do you have images in mind of what would be a perfect fit for your brand? A location, a wardrobe choice, specific type of models in mind? Having a crystal clear brand for your business will ensure that communication is clear throughout the whole process, and that the photographer you work with can easily reflect that brand in your images. This will then avoid you having to possibly do another photo shoot because of muddy communication or flip-flopping on ideas. The goal is always to use that hard-earned money wisely, and this is a big step in knowing whether you’re ready to invest in professional photos!
- Know your budget and timeline. Are you on a shoestring budget? You may have to look into working with a student or a newbie to the photography world. Do you have a healthy budget, but have a super time timeline? You may have to compromise some of your vision if logistics make meeting your deadline impossible. Knowing what limitations you have as far as finances and time go will be a huge help to narrowing down who to work with for your photos. Budget and timeline should be among the first things discussed with a possible photographer, so be sure to be open and honest with your candidates so that there are no surprises down the line.
- How are you using these photos? Knowing what these photos will be used for can be helpful in several ways. For one thing, it helps your photographer to quote the job properly. Some photographers will price their services based on the usage rights granted. For example, if you’re looking for photos for your social media, it will most likely be more affordable than if you want to use the photos for a national ad campaign. Secondly, knowing the end use of your photos will help to guide your needs. For example, you may want photos for social media that have 2/3 blank wall space to one side of you so that you can add text for blog posts or header images. Or you may want photos doing certain activities that pertain to an upcoming webinar you’ll be marketing during the next quarter. The clearer you can visualize your needs, the easier it will be for your photographer to produce exactly what you’re looking for!
- Do your homework. I always recommend to first ask your network of friends and colleagues if they know of reputable photographers they have worked with. Secondly, I recommend doing an online search to see if there are others worth considering. Regardless of how you find your candidates, I never recommend hiring the first photographer you talk with or see online. Take your time and interview a few people. Make sure that you’re very comfortable with the photographer you select, and be sure to ask loads of questions. Before signing on the dotted line, you should be completely clear on every step of the process, and excited for the project ahead!
Choosing to hire a professional photographer can be a big step for many small businesses. Taking these steps to make sure that you’re prepared and that you select the right person is crucial to bringing your brand to life and having fun along the way!
I’m a design geek with a bad case of wanderlust and a desire to share what I see with the world.
Photography was my first love, and taught me all about patience and persistence as I completed my Architecture degree.
Today, I create tools and systems to provide quality images to clients daily, and then share my resources with others through digital products and travel workshops.
Between the photo sessions of Full Circle Images, the digital product hub of Presets Paradise, and the hand-crafted photo road trips of Dusty Lens Expeditions, every facet of Full Circle Images is about focusing on the important things in life – creating meaning experiences with those we love and exploring this amazing planet of ours.
So join me on my journeys because, honestly, the world needs more explorers.
Photographer/ Owner at Full Circle Images