How to choose a photographer: a guide for small and large businesses

July 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Here you are, in need of a photographer, and you have no idea where to start looking, or what to look for. Never fear, we’re here to help you make an informed decision.

When choosing a photographer, a good place to start would be by identifying your needs. Different areas of photography require different skill sets. Asking friends or business associates for references is always a good idea. Working with your photographer won’t just require them being specialists in their field, but you also need to have chemistry with them.

Staff photos:

When choosing a photographer to do your staff photos, choose someone who has portable lighting and a backdrop kit. This way, your office boardroom can be transformed into a mini-studio, negating the need for all your staff to travel to a studio. Make sure you decide on the style of portraits you’d prefer, and inform your photographer ahead of time. The style you choose will depend on your company’s corporate culture, the publications or websites the photos are going to be used for, and whether you want to convey a fun, approachable look, or something more formal. You’ll probably find that most staff members are reluctant to have their photo taken, I’m often made to feel like the dentist who is standing ready with the drill. When preparing them for the session, it helps to tell them that the photo session is going to take five minutes, just a quick in and out. The right photographer will have the ability to capture brilliant photos in a short space of time, all the while chatting with the subject and making them feel comfortable.

Event photos:

Make sure you use a photographer who has experience in shooting events. Decide what you’re going to use the photos for. Are you just taking photos to have memories? Are you going to have any of the photos published? Do you want to do a studio setup so that you can give the staff their own photos as a keepsake? All these factors will determine whether you need one photographer, or possibly more than one. If you’re doing a studio setup at the entrance of the venue, will you need props or a backdrop? Once all these questions have been answered, you can brief your photographer to make sure your photos are what you’ve envisioned them to be. The success of your event photography will often depend on the brief. There are other considerations like the program for the evening, lighting etc. A skilled photographer will be able to walk you through all your options and give you advice to ensure your photos end up being exactly what you need.

Interiors and architectural photos:

Interior and architectural photography is a specialist field that shouldn’t be attempted by every photographer. When you look at a photographer’s work, keep an eye out for their exposures, that the whole room is properly lit and that the windows are not over exposed. Another vitally important aspect is perspectives. Are they correct, or does it look like the lines in the room are converging?  It can be tricky to photograph small spaces, but there are different tools and techniques that a photographer can use to create beautiful images of small spaces. There are a few things you can do on the day of the shoot to enhance the atmosphere. Fresh flowers in the rooms, switching the bedside lamps on, and a nice throw where appropriate will all help to create ambiance. Don’t rush the process, attention to detail is important and that’s what will make or break the final image.

Product photos:

Product photography is similar to interior photography in that it’s best left up to the experts. It’s a good idea to have an example of the kind of image you’d like, and to show that to your photographer. They should be able to tell you if they can replicate it or not. When looking at their work, take special note of how reflections are handled, and ask to see the original and edited version of a product shot. Photographic skill is important in the area of product photography, but your photographer should be a skilled image editor too. I’d say a good product shot is 40% photography, 60% editing. In this case, the editing is not to correct a badly taken photo, but to remove flaws in the product or on its surface, flaws you often can’t see with the naked eye. This could be dust, or a lid that’s not secured properly, or a myriad of other little issues that is easy to overlook, but will be spotted in the final photograph if it’s not edited to create a pleasing final image.

I hope this article has helped shed a little light (pun intended) on the tough task of choosing a photographer. The areas mentioned here our speciality, feel free to have a look at the galleries at www.heatwavestudios.co.za to view our work and get in touch if you’d like more information.

 

 


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