What does your photographer say about you and your business?

Whether you are an energetic startup or a multinational, your business has a brand.  It has a physical look to it.  It has a reputation.  Word of mouth is important, and in today’s visually obsessed world of social media and selfies, your businesses visual reputation is just as important as it’s service reputation.

Taking the time to chose the right photographer for your business is key.  It can be easy to be lured into hiring someone with loads of flashy equipment, but sometimes, you need to look beyond the gear and make sure their style and their attitude meet your needs.

 

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Photography style

Every photographer has their own way of capturing an image.  Some have a portrait eye, some have a storytelling feel to their images.  There is no one perfect way to capture an image, you just need to think about which style best captures your project.

Let’s look at concert photos… someone with a portrait style will usually produce closer crops of the artist on stage and have images framed as a portrait.   Someone who is more into storytelling and photojournalism will have a somewhat wider shot that will tell more of a story of what is going on.  Grab a more edgy artistic photographer, you’ll probably end up with some funky light effects and odd angles.

What to do?

Think about what style of images best represent your brand.  A fashion blog might be more into having a portrait style while an event company might be looking into more photojournalism.  Remember that it is easy to get wrapped up in the subject / model of the photo and not pay attention to the style of image being created.  “Wow, that’s Madonna!” might look impressive in a portfolio, but other than the subject, what does the image say to you?

This is not to say that a single photographer cannot capture both wide and close up images.  On the contrary, a good photographer will get that variety.  The point is that some photographers lean more towards a specific style and that will show in the images they capture.

Fun article about branding and photos –>  HERE

 

Attitude

Your photographer will probably be the most seen and interacted “staff” member you have.  You want them to properly represent your company and its values.  They are, in essence, part of your event and an extension of your service and branding.

Attitude can go a long way…. concert photographers who are courteous to paying fans.  Event photographers who spend more time shooting an event than handing out business cards.  Wedding photographers who focus on capturing moments and not the right moment to hit on the bridesmaid.  There are ways to act when you are a working professional in public.

What to do?

The first is trusting your gut.  Sometimes a quick face to face meeting to get the vibe the photographer gives off in a meeting is all you need.  Ask your photographer for prior references of similar shoots.  No better way to know how someone will act than getting up front comments from a past client.

 

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Social media presence

This may or may not be a big deal and is an offshoot of general attitude, but I feel it needs to be mentioned.  Do you care if your photographer has 10,000 Instagram followers?  You might.  More importantly could be how they behave on social media.   The photographer is more than likely going to post images of your project.  Do you want viewers associating your images with less than professional online attitudes?    It is a fine line between mentioning something negative about their shoot – how their light didn’t work well or how the weather didn’t help – and making fun of a client or subject via pictures or words.

Just something to think about.

What to do?

If social media is part of your event or company branding, check a photographer’s instagram/twitter/facebook and see how they are.

Maybe think about if the photographer would be interested in your services or event themselves…. a soccer enthusiast will better anticipate moments in a match.  A music fan could be a better fit for your festival.  A well dressed fashionable person might blend more with the crowd and your brand at a fashion show.  It doesn’t mean that someone else can’t capture the images, but if you have your business brand in mind, this might be a weighing factor.

 

Is gear important?

Buying expensive gear is more affordable these days than it was 15+ years ago.  Or at least the availability of impressive looking gear is greater.  Digital has made photography more accessible.  Which is great, as we are seeing more and more amazing photographers pop up all over the place.

But beware at someone who puts a huge emphasis on their gear.  Yes, you do need the right gear to get the job done and you should ask about gear to get a sense if they are using professional equipment (with backups!!!).  You do want your carpenter to have a good hammer, but if all he does is talk about his hammer and how expensive it is, you might want to check out a few others before giving the contract to remodel your kitchen.

What to do?

If you are unsure about the photographer, ask.

  • How many camera bodies do they use?  You want them to have a backup in case their camera breaks
  • What cameras and lenses do they use?  You want them to have more than a point and shoot or iphone.
  • What software do they process with?  Other than artistic ventures, I would stay away from hiring someone who does no editing at all on their images.

A professional camera doesn’t automatically make the user a professional because it has fast autofocus, weather sealing and costs as much as a used car.  A pro camera is one that is used by a professional.

 

So who do you hire?

This article isn’t intended to be a direct check list.  It is more to get people thinking about who they are hiring to make the images of their events.  A wedding is a one time event.  You don’t usually have the possibility of a reshoot.  Same for concerts… the artist is on stage and a photographer gets 3 songs, and that is it.

Your corporate branding is important.  Your marketing department works hard at it.  It can be undone sooo easily by a non-professionally acting person.

Think about who you are hiring and why.  You, your brand and your business will thank for it.

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