Planning and booking a photoshoot can be a really daunting process, and if you're anything like me, when you come to ask questions, your mind will suddenly go blank! What do I need to ask? What's important? What am I forgetting?
I'm hoping that this blog post will help you to know what sorts of questions to ask your photographer in future, as well as give you a better insight into how to go about choosing the right photographer for your next shoot. :)
1. What is your budget?
This seems like an obvious one, but you'd be surprised how many times I get emails from people looking to book a photographer, yet have no idea how much they'd like to spend. I understand that its hard to know how much a photographer might cost though, so if I you have no idea, ask the photographers you've got in mind, and then look at your finances there.
A good rule of thumb? How much would you like to spend on marketing your business? And how much of that money would you be wiling to spend on the images for those marketing materials? Bare in mind that without the good images, your marketing efforts, no matter how big or amazing they might be, will suffer.
2. Who is your ideal client?
I've spoken a lot about ideal clients lately, but for good reason. If you don't yet know who your ideal client is (ie. the perfect person you'd like to sell your service/products to), I recommend reading my blog post on how to work out who your ideal client is.
Once you understand who the person you're targeting is, take a good look at the images of the photographers you've got in mind. Are they the kinds of images that would attract your ideal client? If you've got a few friends who match up to your ideal client, maybe share the photographers' work with them and see who they prefer.
Photography will obviously be a big investment, so you want to be sure that they fit with your ideal client
3. What kind of imagery do you like?
Of course your ideal client may not be a mirror image of you, but most of the time, business owners seem to be quite similar to their ideal clients (I am). Use your own judgement here, but do you like the images of the photographer you've got in mind? If you saw those photos on another business' page, would you like them?
If the answer is yes, then that's amazing! Go with them, for sure, even if you have to spend a bit more than you wanted.
If the answer is no, move on. Find someone who's images really speak to you, and that you love. There's no point in you investing your money into images you won't like.
4. What is the purpose of the images?
You will most probably have different needs for different images, but it's important that you know what you want to use the images for before you contact, or even research, photographers. Do you need images to beef up your Instagram? Or do you need new website banners? Maybe you need images for brochures?
Depending on your needs, your photographer will need to shoot in a different way. For example, for Instagram, the square format needs to be kept in mind. For a banner of a website, a landscape format. For a brochure, it's important to have a lot of dead space for text.
You need to be sure that you've been clear with your photographer what you need the images for from the get go, or you'll come to find that your images might not actually suit your needs.
5. Do you have all the items you need?
When photoshoot day rolls around, be sure to make a list of everything that you could possibly need on the day, and check it over with your photographer. They'll be able to advise on what else might be important to have on the day, and they should be able to provide props if necessary.
Your photographer should be organised and have a list of their own, but to be sure that you all know what you need on the day, it's important to share those lists with one another.
6. How many images will you get?
Sounds like such a basic question, but different photographers have different ways of working. Some (like me) will give you all the "good" images (ie. the ones which have worked out). Others will limit what they give you to a much smaller number (like up to 20 for example).
There are various reasons for this. Some may spend a lot of time editing each image in Photoshop, while others may have a quicker editing process in Lightroom (like me). It's important to discuss this with your photographer so you have no nasty surprises at the end!
7. How long will the whole process take from start to finish?
Again, every photographer is different and has a different workflow. It's a good idea to find out how quickly (or not!) you'll get your images after the photoshoot. Sometimes photographers offer a next day delivery service. Others will say it takes roughly a week or two (I'm in that clan). Others will say it may take a month or two.
If you're on a deadline, make sure you check with your photographer up front to be sure you can have your images when you'll need them! If they can't work to your deadline, you may need to find someone who will.
8. Studio or Location?
Where do you want your images to be taken? If you're wanting crisp and clean studio images, check that your photographer can offer that. For example, I have a home studio set up which means I can offer studio shoots at no extra cost, but I'm fortunate to live in an apartment with a living room big enough for this!
If a photographer doesn't have the space for a home studio, they may be able to rent on out for the day, but that will most likely come at an extra cost to you. Discuss this with your photographer.
If you're after a location shoot, logistically that becomes much easier, however you need to keep weather in mind! What will you do if the weather is awful on the day of your shoot? Can your photographer guarantee they'll reschedule? Make sure you bring this up with them!
9. What do they need from You?
Another question you might want to ask your photographer is what they'll need from you. Most photographers will tell you up front without you needing to ask, but if they haven't, it's worth checking with them.
Do they need a shot list? Do they need you to be on the shoot, or not?
10. Do you get along?
This last one is less about the work, and more about personality. I think its incredibly important that everyone gets along, and feels happy working together. If you can, spend some time getting to know your photographer, and your photographer should do the same!
If you don't like them as a person, or you feel like your personalities clash, there's a strong likelihood that you won't be very happy with your images at the end. A bad vibe can be felt through an image!
If you get on super well though, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll love the photoshoot, the whole process and the images at the end. Photoshoots can be so much fun, and a really lovely day for everyone involved, so make sure you make the most of it!