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Make sure you get the right person for the shoot by asking these important questions

Even though photography's history is a relatively short one, it's hard to imagine a world without it. Considering most of us have a high powered camera on us at all times in the form of a smartphone, one could hardly be blamed for forgetting that there are still thousands of professional photographers doing incredible work.

No matter how good you think your selfies are, you're not a pro. Like any skilled trade or art, photography is something that takes years of practice to perfect. That's why hiring a professional photographer is the best decision when you need quality photos.

But before you hire someone, you need to know how to pick the right person for the job. Here are some important questions to ask before hiring a professional photographer.

#1: What's the Fee?

This question's answer depends on several factors. Since most professional photographers are freelance, the criteria by which they determine their cost can vary greatly.

For some photographers, a flat hourly fee makes sense. Unfortunately, there's no set standard for hourly fees. The only way you can ensure you're getting a good deal is by doing some independent research and comparing prices with output. Check the photographers portfolio, otherwise you may find you can do a better job yourself!

The fee can be affected by different things. Take the photographers level of experience into account. A beginner might understandably charge less than a seasoned vet.

Other photographers might determine their fee on a per-job basis. In this case, they'll take a look at the overall job and decide on a price that makes sense to them. Again, if you have any questions about the validity of the price point, do some research and see if other photographers charge comparable rates for similar jobs.

Much of this depends on you, though. No doubt you're going to have a budget you want to stick to, and many photographers will be happy to work with you on that. The best policy is to get money talks out of the way up front so both parties know exactly what to expect.


#2: What Does the Fee Include?

Just like the fees themselves aren't fixed, the expectations attached to them also differ. Different photographers include different services, so you need to know up front what those services are.

For example, will they be editing, retouching, or otherwise altering the photos for your use? If so, that could affect the overall fee.

Depending on the job, some shoots will require multiple photographers or support staff. That's another factor that will determine costs.

Another important part of this question is to determine how the photos can be used. Typically, the photographer will retain the licensing rights to any photos they take. If you're using the photos for commercial purposes, part of the fee will most likely be to license the photos.

It's important to know the limitations of that license. Some licenses have time restrictions, while others might limit how the images can be used.

The bottom line is that you need to know exactly what you're paying for. Get this discussion out of the way when you're discussing initial costs so that everything is clear.

#3: Does Their Style Fit Your Needs?

In this instance, "style" means a few different things. Let's break it down.

For one, you need a photographer who specialises in the type of photography you need. There are big differences between wedding photos, event photos, product photos, etc. You need to make sure the photographer has experience in the style of photo you need.

Whereas shooting products involves inanimate objects in a static position, shooting a live event requires the ability to move around and capture important moments as they happen. These are very different skill sets, and just because someone has one, it doesn't mean they'll have the other.

Take a look at their portfolio. If it's mostly headshots, maybe don't hire them to shoot a jetski race.

Even if the person's area of expertise matches your needs, it's still no guarantee their style will. Photography is an art with a lot of personal touches. Different photographers can potentially shoot the same thing and get drastically different results.

There's no universal right or wrong when it comes to style. It all comes down to your preferences and needs. Be sure to examine their portfolio thoroughly to ensure they can provide your preferred look.


#4: What Are They Like?

When hiring a photographer, you can rest assured you'll be working together closely and communicating frequently as the project moves forward. If your personalities don't mesh, this can cause big issues.

Ask them questions that highlight key areas of their personality and demeanour. You don't want to hire a technical whiz only to find out their miserable to be around. It's imperative that you be able to easily work with the photographer you hire.

It's also just a nice way to build familiarity and learn about one another's lives and expectations for the task at hand. Getting to know each other gives each party some insight on how to best collaborate to get the results you want.

#5: What Do They Need From You?

This list has been focused on what you need, but what they need is just important. Photography jobs are collaborative efforts.

What's needed on your end will vary greatly between photographers, which is why it's so important to ask this question. It will also differ based on the type of job. Some jobs will require little more than basic communication from you, while others will need you to be there for every step of the process.

If there's one theme that's run through this whole list, it's the importance of establishing firm expectations. Make sure those expectations go both ways so that everyone involved has the best possible experience.

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Hiring a Professional Photographer is the Way to Go

When you need a job done right, hiring a professional photographer is always the best choice. By referring to this list, you'll be equipped to pick the right one for the job.

With any luck, you'll land on someone who can meet the demands of any job. If you want to take luck out of the equation and get guaranteed results, hire a versatile pro right here.


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