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How to Hire a Professional Product Photographer
“Affordable commercial product photographer for hire.”
You need product photography, you need it to be reasonably priced, and, ideally, you want a good photographer.
Sounds simple, but a walk in the park it ain’t…
Amateur photographers get a bad rep – even the feds hate them! – that’s not always justified.
But when one comes along and screws with your business and your bottom line while bleeding you dry for their time, it’s too late.
You need a process when it comes to hiring!
A damn watertight one at that, so that you’ll never receive final shots that make this gallery of stock horror totally your retail vibe.
Hey, we get it – there’s a lot of crappy photographers out there…
…And who wants to pay through the nose for bad product photography that tanks your revenues faster than you can say WTF is this shit?
You need a great photographer who makes your products sing seductively to your сustomers, drawing them in – and ideally, affordable enough to keep your kidneys intact.
That’s us, by the way!
But enough about how great we are (but seriously, check out our portfolio, too)!
You’re here because you really need to know how to look for and actually find a ducking awesome photographer.
It takes just a little more time but reaps serious ROI when it comes to getting your consumers to click the buy now button on speed dial.
Look For A Photographer You Can Try Before You Hire
Who doesn’t love try before you buy? Heck, you already know that freebies work like gangbusters when it comes to getting web traffic that makes the Black Friday mob look like a Sunday church gathering.
In photography, we call these freebies “test shots,” and we want that first hit to be free so that you get addicted to us. This is totally groovy for you, as not only will you get free shots, but also…
• You’ll get a great idea of the kind of results you can expect
• You won’t have to spend a dime if the results are shitty AF
• You won’t have to deal with “misunderstandings” that cost you time and money
• You’ll know for sure whether you’ve found your photographer
Trust us: once you’ve experienced your first free test shot, you’ll never go back to amateur “artists” whose OTT creativity overrides your need for money shots.
Make Sure Your Photographer Communicates Effectively
We’ve all been ghosted… and we’ve all been the ghost.
It’s one thing if you swiped right on Tinder and your match turned out to be super creepy and weird – but in business?
You don’t need us to tell you how important communication and staying in touch with your customers is.
That’s like SRS BSNS 101!
What you don’t want is the limbo of unanswered phone calls and emails as your money and time get sucked into a black hole of invisibility, never to be seen again.
There’s a happy medium here – and this is one area that really sorts the pros from the amateurs.
Our rule of thumb is to expect a response within 24 hours on a business day. Sure, this might not be the most exciting way to conduct business, but it is effective, and it keeps you in the loop.
Ensure Your Photographer Will Involve You In The Process
Now you’re getting a little deeper into the hiring process.
You’ve got communication in the bag and some sweet test shots to narrow the field down even more.
Let’s talk shop. Now you’ve got the candidates, you’re going to want to check out how they handle the big job.
It’s your project, your vision, and your brand. You call the shots! All you have to do is ask three easy questions – that reveal a world of professionalism (or not…)
Do You Work With Mood Boards?
Creativity is a tricky beast to nail down – and how the duck do you convey that idea in your head to other people without rambling on incoherently? Well fam, all you need is a mood board.
That old chestnut of a picture tells a thousand words was literally written for mood boards, and this collaborative tool is awesomesauce because they use colors, images, graphics, and more to convey the visuals of a creative concept.
No nasty surprises here – you’re involved, your photographer is involved, and you’re working to create something that just works.
You might also want to ask for references too – an experienced photographer will have plenty, and seeing actual work from others is a great way to get an idea of what your finalized product photography could look like.
If your photographer just isn’t giving you the goods, it’s time to step back and rethink your relationship – who knows what sins might be hidden under that refusal?
Do You Send Previews During The Shoot And Before Post-production?
Creativity’s great – but it is also incredibly subjective. Even if you’re getting on with your photographers like a house on fire and everything is just perfect, there’s always the chance that you’ll hate the actual shots.
A photographer who is happy to communicate with you and share previews is doing you a solid:
• Ensuring that you’re getting your project finished on time
• Maintaining fabulous communications that keep you in control
• Understanding that your brand has specific visual needs
That’s some peace of mind right there, isn’t it? You don’t just want this – you need it!
On that same note, seeing previews of your photography before it goes to post-production lets you retain that control and avoid any changes you don’t want to be made.
Can I Visit Your Studio?
If your photographer is local, you may just want to take some time to visit the studio, the place where all the magic happens.
Here, you can check out the cool equipment, the bright lights, and maybe even get a demo of how it all works: a chance for you to see a real master at work and get an idea of what goes into your final shots.
If your photographer doesn’t work out of a studio – or just won’t let you visit – then something is up, and you should proceed with extreme caution.
No business relationship that starts out with someone being evasive ever ends well!
Look For A Photographer Who Doesn’t Charge By The Hour
In other words: pay for the results, not for the effort.
You’re not looking to become a generous donor in someone’s earn as you learn photography scheme. You want someone who delivers product photography that sells.
Eliminating hourly charges is the smart way to ensure that you’re getting a pro:
• A great photographer knows how much time it takes to complete a project, and charges accordingly
• An amateur doesn’t know – and can easily inflate hours to your cost as they figure out how to get the job done as you start nervously micromanaging
By paying for results rather than time and effort, you’re boosting your ROI by working with an expert with no surprise overbilling.
What’s more, you’ll a ton of your own time managing the project because your hire doesn’t have the expertise to get it done.
Look For A Photographer With In-house Editing Skills
If you’re looking for consistent results and a smart final set of product images that snugly fits your brand image, then you absolutely need a photographer with in-house editing skills.
The devil is truly in the details here and having an experienced photographer who is a dab hand at altering skin tones, adjusting colors, and using filters to create a consistent look over your images to make them pop.
If you’re working with a photographer who has moved through test shots, mood boards, and previews to this point, then this is the cherry on top that will give your photos that glossy sheen that customers are looking for.
Without an in-house editor, you’re risking your photos going out to a contractor – where results can vary – and unwanted little “charming quirks” are added.
Why take the risk? Keep your photos on point and brand-relevant and stay in-house!
Choosing A Photographer Is Easy When You Know How!
Photography isn’t rocket science – but it is an industry packed with amateurs armed with iPhone cameras. Luckily, sorting the men out from the boys is as simple as asking a few questions and making sure certain processes are followed.
If you’re looking for a smart photography studio that speaks your language, treats all the above points like a religion, gets on top of any potential issues before you’ve even had breakfast, and keeps your brand identity complete throughout…
…Then why not hit us up for a free test shot today? It’s free, fast, and fun, with results you’ll love!
Of course, you’re welcome to ignore all of this…
…But then you may just find yourself tearing your hair out in despair over your new collection of garish stock horrors from a lousy photographer that cost you a small fortune!