The following is part 1 of a series of posts taken from "The Architect and Designers Guide to Hiring a Photographer" which can be downloaded for free by clicking HERE.
Who is this for?
If you are an architect, designer, real estate agent or property owner who’s tried to get great architectural shots of a design project or of a new property, for your website, property listing or personal use, then you know how challenging it can be to find a good photographer. Even after you’ve hired someone to produce images for you, then comes the task of managing a photo shoot, which if you have never done before, can be a daunting task of it’s own. And let’s face it, as a design professional or busy realtor yourself, you don’t really have the time to learn all about advertising photography, art direction or how a shoot is run.
If any of this sounds like a situation you’ve been in or you’re in need of hiring a professional photographer but aren’t sure how to go about that, this guide is here to help. Think of it as a quick primer, full of tips and tricks taught by a photographer on what you, the client can do, to first make sure you’re hiring a pro and secondly, make sure you have a great photo shoot experience and come out with the images you want on the other side. The more you know about what to look for when hiring a photographer and how to manage your shoot, the smoother everything will run and the happier you’ll be with the final results.
This guide is divided into chapters that talk about the stages of working with a photographer such as hiring the right person, pre-production, the shoot itself and finally post production. Included as a separate file with this guide is a handy checklist that you can print out and use to make sure you haven’t missed anything or forgotten to ask specific questions. It’s all designed to give you the client more information to make better decisions during a professional photo shoot.
With that, lets begin.
Common Questions and Misunderstandings for Clients and Photographers:
How do I find a Professional Photographer?
Who is a professional and how can I tell?
How long do photo shoots take?
How much does photography cost?
When do I pay?
How will the photo shoot work?
What can I do to make my shoot run more smoothly?
Are you bringing lots of lighting equipment?
When can I see the final images?
Do I own the final photos?
What’s the deal with copyright and licensing?
1. Hiring a Pro
Finding A Photographer
There are many photographers out there, but there are probably only a handful who are suited to your specific needs. For the sake of this guide I’m going to assume you’re looking for an even smaller niche segment of very specific photographers: architectural and/or real estate photographers. Here are some great ways to find pro photographers in your area:
Ask friends and colleagues who they have used before. You architects and designers out there probably have friends who can point you in the right direction to finding someone. As with all business word of mouth is king and referrals are usually a safe bet.
Google architectural photography in your area and see what comes up. Have a look at their website and portfolio. Make sure you like the work they produce and don’t just book the first person that comes up in the results. Ask yourself “Would my project look good photographed in this way?”.
Read their about page and see if it resonates with you. Have a look for client reviews or testimonials. See if they have a previous client list and who they’ve worked with in the past. Can you see yourself working with this person?
If you do decide to go with someone you’ve found online, next Google their name along with the words “bad”, “review” and “scam” to see what comes up. This a great way to filter out the wrong people.
Call or email other design professionals around your area and ask who they use. Have a look at some of their websites that have great photography and just reach out and ask. They’re probably more than willing to share who they hired with you.
If you have the time, visit a nearby photography store and explain that you’re looking for someone to shoot interior design, architecture or real estate for you. They most likely have lot’s of interactions with photographers in your area, or at least may know someone to recommend
Instagram. It may sound silly or trivial but many professionals maintain a thriving Instagram feed where they constantly update upload new images and showcase current work. Try the hashtags #interiordesign, #architecture and #architecturalphotography, along with the hashtag with your city name. You’d be surprised who you might come across with this technique.
How To Tell If Someone Is A “Pro
If you’re going to spend money on photography and high-quality advertising, you probably want to know where your money is going and who you’ll be hiring. Now a “professional” photographer doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all they do, but the term professional does mean someone who can complete tasks to a high standard, with a high level of competency, with good results that can be achieved repeatedly. Now how do you judge that? You have a look at their portfolio
A photographers portfolio should be your number one indicator of the level of work they are able to provide you. And it should be very specific. If you are an architect looking for a beautiful twilight shot for the cover of “Canadian Architect” magazine, you should probably stay away from the photographer whose website is filled with puppies and newborns.
Demeanor and Responsiveness
The photographer you hire should act no differently than any other business service provider you have. Next to someones work and portfolio, it’s your best interest for your photographer to have a professional demeanor when interacting with you and to be responsive. If you find someone who never returns calls or is constantly unavailable, I would shy away from hiring them as that might be a sign of things to come. Alternatively if a prospect has great business skills and a beautiful portfolio, then I would probably hire them for my job as I can tell the experience is going to be a good one.
At this point, after you have found someone, reviewed their work and had some initial communication, and assuming you like what they do and how they interact with you, it’s probably time to move ahead and hire them. That probably means asking for cost estimates and probably some kind of contract or work agreement, which can be a little scary initially but is actually quite simple and we tackle that in the next section of this guide. Let’s have a look.
In part 2, we discuss pricing quotes, contracts and licensing with your photographer. Get your FREE copy of this ebook today by click HERE to download it.
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