Would you confirm that you can't afford to outsource your photography? It's time to find the right photographer for your business. The photographer that you pick is going to be more than just a third party vendor. They're going to be a part of your team that you'll want to hire over and over again. Once you brand yourself for their style, you're going to want to keep it consistent. They'll also start to learn the nuances of your brand and be able to provide insight and ideas that only a professional can over time.
So how do you do i? I'll tackle this topic by focusing on hiring photographers for branded lifestyle photo shoots, though you can apply these principles to hiring a photographer from Products on White as well. Before you even start the research on who to hire, it's important to be clear about what you'll be hiring them to do. Here's a pre-hiring checklist to consider before hiring a photographer. You have a mood board with a clear vision, which you learned about in module 1, and you have an itemized shot list of the essential photos, which we talked about in module 2.
You also have a healthy budget, which is around $500 for white background photos, and at least $2,000 for branded lifestyle photo shoots. There are two basic principles when hiring a creative, and you can use this for any creative, not just photographers. Number one, find the right photographer and judge them based on the quality of their portfolio and if it matches your needs.
Number two, I recommend that you get three quotes from three different photographers. This will give you the opportunity to compare the prices and styles. Ideally, all three quotes will come in at a similar rate. This also confirms that this is going to be the rate for the shoot. If all three quotes come back wildly different, then consider bringing in additional quotes or try negotiating everybody into the middle. So now let's discuss where you can actually find a photographer.
It's really important to note that not every photographer is the same. Different photographers specialize in different niches. The other thing is that not every photographer knows how to do these techniques, and not every photographer is a specialist in every type of category. A wedding photographer wouldn't have the experience to recognize the nuances of product photography and vice versa.
I actually talked to a lot of customers who hired lifestyle photographers to do their product photos, and they do a terrible job because it's just not their specialty. Start your search by specialty. So if you want to do a photo shoot with food, search for a food photographer. If you want to do a lifestyle shoot, search for a lifestyle photographer. And if you're shooting apparel, look for a fashion photographer. Workbook Directory is one of the oldest resources for finding professional photographers, with over 11,000 professionals listed within 35 different specialties.
In general, I found the best place to look for a photographer is just by doing a Google search for somebody in your area. This would give you the most updated list of active professionals. When hiring a photographer, it's good to be prepared to pay many different positions. Some of these different positions include the photographer themselves, models, clothing or food stylists, hair and makeup stylists, location fees, assistance, meals, post-production fees, and licensing fees.
In the resources below, I've included an example of a quote you can expect from your local photographer for a lifestyle shoot. If you're interested in seeing what the big brands are paying, check out aphotoeditor.com. There you can find an ongoing discussion about pricing and negotiations between the biggest brands in some of their creatives. These quotes may seem daunting, but this is a good resource to gain some real perspective.
A helpful tip is when you're negotiating with a photographer, don't negotiate the pricing. Negotiate different elements of the shoot. For example, if you want a model in your photo shoot and you put down $1,000, instead of saying, "Can we lower the rate of the model?", instead say, "Can we find a different model?" or "Can we find a different location?" or "Can we do less photos?" It is an easier thing for a photographer to figure out these questions as opposed to cutting somebody's rates.
Remember that you're not just hiring a photographer. You're hiring a team of their stylists, models, and assistants as well. At this level, a photographer takes on a management role. Ultimately, everybody has a different marketing budget and different palette for how much they're willing to spend on photography. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. If you hire based on a photographer's portfolio, you'll likely see their style reflected in the final photos.
Now let's discuss hiring photographers for products on white. Today, every business needs products on white for their e-commerce websites and third-party retailers like Amazon, and these photos are the responsibility of the businesses to provide. The demand for photography skyrocketed around 2010, which is about the time we got our start. Companies like Products on White are unique in a new concept and need to be treated a bit differently.
Since it's a remote service, you need to be able to provide clear directions since you won't be there on set. When working with a traditional photographer, you can be there on set during the shoot and be a little bit less organized beforehand. It's best not to do larger production like lifestyle with these types of services as you never know what you're going to get back since you're not going to be there. Just like we just discussed, when reviewing these types of companies, you want to hire based on their portfolio fit and the quality of their imagery.
The prices for these types of photography companies are usually on their website, which makes it easier to get your three quotes. Remember the two basic principles-- judge them based on the quality of their portfolio and if it matches your needs-- and always get three quotes from three different photographers to compare. Usually, you can do a free test shot, which is something you should definitely take advantage of. Now let's discuss working with amateur photographers.
There's nothing wrong with working with amateur photographers. Instagram has a whole community of hobby photographers that are doing some really interesting photography right now. One thing that I see is some of the best Instagram shooters are primarily using natural light for their photography. As you've learned, natural light and window light is very easy to use. You'll need a lot of money to shoot with it, and it looks beautiful.
Also, when it comes to working with Instagram photographers, only approach them with the intent of having them photograph something similar to the style in their feed. Don't try and force them to do something outside of that or something they're not comfortable with. Now that you know how to find and hire a photographer, head to the next lesson and learn how to think about scaling your photography.