The Top 4 Things to Consider When Hiring a Photographer

With today’s technology and media landscape, nearly everyone has the ability to take pictures and put them online. But that doesn’t make everyone a photographer.


When you need photos for any professional or corporate purpose, you need to be sure that you hire someone who knows how to produce top-quality work. Given how many self proclaimed photographers there are out there, this task may be harder than it seems.


Here’s our advice on what to consider before you hire a photographer (so that you can avoid paying so-and-so from Instagram who thinks a filter can fix overexposure).


1.  Portfolio of work

When looking for a photographer you should examine their body of work.  Photographers can have diverse portfolios that show their abilities in a range of different styles and techniques.  By browsing a photographer’s portfolio—either online or in print—you get to know vital information about that photographer: their style, their technical ability, how they relate to their subjects and the quality of their finished work.


A website is an invaluable tool for any photographer in today’s industry.  Make sure you look through websites, blogs and event print portfolios to find the photographer whose style matches your ideas.


And don’t forget Instagram! With the growing popularity of media sharing platforms, photos are becoming even more shareable. However, beware of how many people think they are photographers on this platform, and heavily rely on editing and cropping to achieve their final results. Be sure to check multiple sources before making your final choice.

2.  Style

Once you’ve viewed a photographer’s body of work, you should have a good idea of the photographer’s style. This is an essential consideration when choosing a photographer.


For example: If you want an editorial portrait or photo-journalistic coverage of an event, you will need to hire someone who has work that matches that style.  If you choose a photographer who is a product or architectural photographer, you may not get what you want. Different styles of photography require very different methods, equipment and training.  You wouldn’t hire a cupcake maker to fix your Prius, would you?


The same holds true for photography.  While an architectural photographer will know how to light and photograph spaces and location, this does not translate to the lighting and technique required when photographing a person.


This does not mean that an architectural photographer cannot be a portrait photographer or vice versa.  Some photographers are able to specialize in multiple areas of photography.  This is something that you would find out about a photographer when looking through their bodies of work.

3.  Budget

This point is of course high on everybody’s list.  Some companies/individuals have high budgets and some have low budgets.  From the photographer’s perspective, the budget of the shoot comes down to these points:


  • What is being photographed and for how long
  • Equipment required for the shoot
  • Staff required for the shoot
  • End product coming from the shoot


Whether the shoot is a simple headshot for a single business professional that requires only one photographer and no more than an hour of time for a portrait that will end up on a website profile, or whether it’s a catalogue shoot that requires several days in a specific location, with many support staff (make-up artists, stylists, assistants, digital technicians) and hundreds of images being delivered to the client, the budget is crucial and needs dutiful consideration to make sure it is fair and appropriate for all parties concerned.


4.  Equipment

While it is not important for you to know exactly what equipment your photographer uses, it is important for you to know that their equipment is up to date and capable of achieving the results you want for your project.


It is also important to note that the cost of the equipment does not correlate to the skill of the photographer.  A great photographer can create wonderful images with all sorts of different equipment both high and low in cost.


However, there are certain circumstances when the abilities of the equipment are important to the result of the photography.


For example; If you have a project that requires a very large printed product (like a billboard) then to get the best results the photographer will need to use a camera that has a large-sized sensor with a large megapixel count to ensure the most amount of detail in the final product.  Similarly, if the project requires shooting in very low light (a conference in a darkened room) then a camera with quality performance at high ISO‘s is very important.


Therefore, when you are in the process of hiring a photographer; be sure to tell them all about your project, who or what is being photographed, where the shoot is to take place, the circumstances of the shoot and the desired outcome of the images.  This way your photographer will be able to plan and act accordingly to fulfill your project to the best of their abilities.

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  • Jordan F.

    Great post! I’ll keep an eye out for Part 2 with some more in-depth discussions on photography?!

    August 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm
  • Michael D. Smith

    I explain this concept everyday, but not nearly as concise…well done.


    September 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

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