The 4 Things To Look For When Hiring A Brand Photographer

Are you looking to hire a brand photographer in your local area? After a recent conversation with a new client I realized that a business might have a hard time researching and finding a true brand photographer or personal brand photographer in today’s marketplace. These terms are more widely known compared to a few years ago, but it’s still like the wild west out there. What should a business look for? A business needs a photographer who understands what role brand images will play as this is a unique service and product they provide. There is more planning and detail involved compared to a simple portrait or headshot session. A true brand session will encompass environmental portraits, product/service images, team portraits and detail images of what you do and how it’s done. The resulting images will highlight you, your brand and support upcoming launches, website updates, print marketing and social media posts to engage with your audience. Here are four guide posts to look for when interviewing a photographer and four red flags to keep your search going.⁠

Remember, you are a business so you need a different type of service and end product compared to a portrait session. If you can find a photographer that will provide at least these four of these items you are on the right track.⁠

Commercial Usage Rights- The intent is that you as a business will use the images on your website, social media and possibly print marketing. The brand session should include this. A photographer may still own the images, but you should use them as needed for your business. Red flag if they are charging additional fees for web ready images. They should have that factored into the session amount.⁠ Items that fall outside of the normal usage right can include billboards, car wraps and worldwide book publishing. These items require additional fees and contract support.

Coverage- No matter the size of your business, based on your branding needs, you will determine who needs to be part of the photo shoot. It’s your story and representation of the business. Those individuals are part of the brand session. If there are many people, then more time is needed and yes, the price will increase but it’s a red flag if a photographer is charging per person. If it’s strictly headshots then a per person rate can be discussed, otherwise they should be part of the session pricing.⁠

Packages – Typically a brand session has a set number of images and time associated to capture the session. This is business friendly as they can choose from a few to many images based on their needs and how often they require updated images. Red flag if a photographer just gives you an hourly rate. ⁠

Strategy Meeting/Story Session– This is part of the session. A brand photographer learns more details about your business such as why you started and where you are going. You collaborate on what images are needed during the upcoming photo shoot. Identify if there are items that need to be completed before a photo shoot happens and if a location or props need to be secured. This is a crucial step to the brand photography experience. I become a student of the business and do my own independent research on what they currently offer and identify photography opportunities. The photographer preps a shoot list and organizes the details of the upcoming shoot based on this meeting.⁠ Red flag if this is not offered.⁠

Bonus Offerings

As mentioned before if you are considering a photographer to address your branding and they have at least the four items mentioned above then you are on the right track. Many brand focused photographers go beyond these four, myself included.
Bonus offerings can include:

  • A caption suggestion plan for social media posts. I found that over the years businesses who don’t have a in-house marketing department are unsure how to leverage the images on social media. It’s not enough to have a scroll stopping image, you need to hook them with the caption too.
  • Of course your brand photographer should handle securing any photo shoot location needs, unless it’s all at the business location, hair, makeup, wardrobe, if needed.
  • Based on the scope of work I typically create a digital concept boards to review with the client so we are all on the same page with the visual plan.

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