In looking for a photographer, obviously seeing their images is paramount and is often what leads you to pick up the phone. But as in all steps you would take for your business, it’s important to look a little deeper than just the images when making such an investment.
Breadth of Work
Ask to see a comprehensive sampling of their portfolio. Seeing they have worked with individuals and companies in a variety of businesses demonstrates they understand that one size does not fit all. Your headshots or website photos ought to fall in line with your brand and what you are trying to communicate. This doesn’t mean they have to have photographed in your exact industry, but knowing their work runs the gamut ensures they’ll know what to do with you, as well.
Knowledge of Light
A good photographer understands light and how to work with it. This does not mean your photographer has to be a master of artificial light or off-camera flash, but you want them to be able to walk into any shooting situation and know how to make it work for what you want for your business. As questions and take a thorough look at their portfolio. If every image style and set up looks like same, there’s a good chance they may only know how to work in one lighting scenario.
They Ask Questions
If you’re hiring a pro, chances are you’re spending some decent money. Make sure he or she asks questions about you, your business and what you are looking to accomplish. I spent 10 years in marketing and brand development prior to starting my photography business and imagery is a huge part of your brand. Consistency in look and feel most certainly extends to your photos. Make sure your photographer understands your vision and talks to you about how they will make it come to life.
In any business interaction, responsiveness is key. Photography is no different. When your photographer responds to you immediately, makes themselves available for conversations and questions, and provides quick turnaround on items, you are getting an inside look into how the rest of the relationship will go. If you find yourself waiting on them from the outset, it will continue that way.
Finally, ask for referrals. Experience is everything. And I don’t mean years in business or number of clients. I mean the experience previous clients have had. As is the case in most professional services, the photographer can be the very best at what they do, but if they are difficult to work with, eventually that end product comes at a price. Talk to two or three previous clients to decide if the photographer is right for you.
If you can click off on all of the items above, chances are you’ve found yourself not only a great photographer with knowledge of their craft but a smart businessperson with whom you can build a lasting professional relationship.