One of the most frustrating things as a photographer is having a client come to you and expect you to magically solve all of their photography problems. While we can create amazing work, some work is done on your part as well. As a client there are a few things you need to have ironed out before you contact a photographer to make the whole process go smoothly.
Know what type of photographer you need to hire.
Check out their work. You don’t want to contact a wedding photographer if you want crisp product photos or look at someone that shoots school portraits for your high fashion lookbook. Do your research and you won’t waste their time or yours.
Know your budget.
If you contact a photographer with sky-high prices don’t attempt to bring them down to $250. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. Mention your budget up front so you can save the 50 email chain discussing the project only to find out you can’t afford or or need to save up. If it's a simple project like headshots you probably can find a photographer that lists their prices on their website.
Know your time frame
If you need photos for your fall lookbook shot, edited and returned to you in 2 weeks make sure that is clearly stated. No one likes to sit around waiting for images or being harassed through emails or phone calls. This also refers to initially contacting a photography. Don’t wait until 3 days before you want everything done and try to find a photographer that will rush and shoot your project. If you plan ahead you won’t have to be at the mercy of their booked up schedule.
Know what type of photos you need
Whether it be product shots, lookbooks, headshots, etc., you should have a basic idea of what is is you want shot and how many. Don’t just say that you need new photos for your website. When you are more specific you get your specific results. This saves you the time of going back and forth with your photographer about why a certain thing wasn't’ shot.
Know whether you want a studio shoot or on location shoot.
If you want the latter, have an idea of the type of location or setting you are interested in so the photographer can possibly go scout it. Lots of my clients already have a place in mind that they want to shoot or know that they want a city vibe, a simple brick wall or a natural setting.
Know whether a team needs to be assembled.
Since I shoot fashion my clients usually need models, makeup artists, hair stylist and wardrobe stylists for shoots unless they have their own that they plan to hire or do it themselves. I usually ask them if they want me to contact these people because this does have to be done in advance for shoots.
Know your concept
If you want your images to have a certain theme or look a certain way, put that in your initial email with the photographer. In fashion, the client or the photographer makes a mood board that evokes the type of styling, hair, makeup, model type, location and photography. If you aren’t the best at mood boards or don’t know where to start then make Pinterest boards. Fill them up with images that match what you are going for. You can easily add people to your boards or email them out so everyone is on the same page. Chances are you’re already on Pinterest anyway making boards for those clothes you’re never going to buy. Use it for your business as well.
If you want to get the best quality images out of a photographer have all your ducks in a row. Having all the details specified in advance will help you weed out what photographer isn’t right for the job and who is. No one wants to start a long email chain with a photographer only to find out that can’t do what you’re asking for. Preparation is key or as the famous saying goes, “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”