Things to consider when hiring a photographer - part one

January 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Based on the initial discussions I've had with clients here are a few things to think about when approaching a photographer.

When it comes to engaging a photographer the more information you are able to provide the more likely you are to be happy with the results. Typically the subjects I’ll discuss with clients and ask them to think about are purpose, setting, style, budget and permission. In part one of this post we’ll look at purpose, setting and style. If you want to skip to budget, permission and my final thoughts take a look at part two.

Purpose

What are you planning to use the photographs for? Do you want photographs that will be used at relatively small sizes on the web only or are you looking for images that will occupy a two page spread in print, or do you want large format prints for a stand at a trade show? It can make a significant difference to type and composition of the shots required. For example:

  • Let’s say you have a company brochure that typically incorporates a number of full page and double page images. In this case it can be useful to have a selection of images where the primary is subject positioned within one half of the frame, leaving the other half of the frame relatively simple for overprinted copy or a text box.

  • On the other hand if the intended use is web and social media with a high proportion of mobile users the primary subject needs to fill the frame and be sufficiently clear that it's easily recognised when displayed at small sizes. In this scenario simple, uncluttered backgrounds will also help to isolate and emphasize the subject. This approach can also be useful for product catalogues where space for images can be somewhat restricted.

  • When sourcing photography for display pieces, be that a trade show display board or the front panel of your reception desk, you are probably going to be restricted to a specific size and aspect ratio. It is important to make sure the photographer is aware of this to ensure a pleasing composition with sufficient resolution for large format reproduction after the original frame is cropped to fit the aspect ratio required.

Of course it is possible to use the same set of images for all these purposes but you are more likely to get the results you want with fewer compromises if the photographer understands the specific requirements of use and is therefore able make appropriate decisions when shooting.

Setting

It is unlikely that the photographer has any knowledge of your premises or the immediate surrounding environment. So have a think about the setting or settings you would like to use. Have a good look around them taking particular note of what’s in the background. Then ask yourself if the settings and their backgrounds are suitable for purpose and present your business in a way that you are happy with. This can save a significant amount of time on the day and time spent looking for an appropriate setting is time lost for capturing that perfect shot.

Style

Formal, casual, funky or even ambiguous and abstract shots have their place and can all be used to great effect. Are you keen on bold saturated colours or do you want high contrast black and white? Do you need pin sharp detail or dynamic shots with lots of motion blur? The choices are endless and it can appear a bit daunting when you start thinking about it but talk to your photographer, they should be able to offer some useful suggestion based on the subject and intended use.

Because style can be a difficult thing to describe it’s worth gathering together a few examples of images that are representative of the style or styles you would like. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

You may also have a style guide that needs to be considered, if so it is essential that you supply a copy of the relevant sections to your photographer.

That’s enough for part one, if you want to keep going here’s part two.


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