We all likely know someone who has hired a photographer or videographer, only to be underwhelmed or disappointed. It’s an awful feeling to know you’ve lost time and hard-earned money hiring a service provider who missed the mark. So let’s flip the script; I want to share key things to look for in a Brand Photographer and Videographer. You deserve an amazing experience working with someone who GETS you. And you also deserve to walk away with the perfect images and video to market your brand.
Consider these areas when you’re searching for the perfect brand photographer and videographer to capture your brand:
Have an actual conversation with the photographer/creative to find our their personality. Have a vibe check, if you will. Does the person listen to what you need? Do they have a personality that will mesh well with your own? Did they come prepared to the meeting with background on your business, or a willingness to learn?
Beyond just asking about packages and prices, it’s so important you get a feel for their personality and working style. A photo or video session is about so much more than just the package you choose or if their portfolio is perfect.
Just like you wouldn’t go see an ear, nose, and throat doctor for pain in your ankle, for example, it’s important to find a specialist in their field! This means finding a brand photographer/videographer that specializes in brand photography/videography. Don’t ask your friend’s cousin’s girlfriend who photographs weddings. Don’t find a local newborn baby photographer to do your brand photos either.
You need a brand or commercial photographer and videographer! You need to find and work with someone who specializes in and knows exactly what you need to capture photography and video for your marketing. Personal use photography (weddings, seniors, babies, families, etc.) is completely different than commercial or personal brand photography. It’s important to make that distinction.
What are the benefits of working with each photographer and videographer you’re considering? What features do they offer, and what services and deliverables do they provide? Make sure that what they offer will meet your needs. If you don’t know what you need, they should be able to ask questions to help determine what you need. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but if they’re not willing to spend the time getting to know you, they don’t deserve your business.
This goes back to the specialty category a little bit, but make sure they provide commercial usage or licensing. You’ll want/need to use these images and video for marketing purposes, so if they don’t specialize in brand photography and videography they might not know what this means. You definitely need to get licensing to use these images, so work with someone who understands that and will grant you licensing and usage rights. (Side note: be sure to ask for pricing, many commercial photographers charge extra/separately for licensing and usage. Beware of hidden costs!)
A good brand photographer and videographer will guide you in planning your session(s) and location sourcing! Finding a location can be tough if you don’t have experience with that (again, see the Specialty section), or don’t know what you’re looking for. You, as the client, shouldn’t have to shoulder this whole responsibility if you’re new to this.
Find a photographer and videographer who can offer guidance. Then you’ll have a much smoother and fun experience, and the resulting images and video will be exactly what you want! Look and feel of a location is so important to how things turn out, so don’t overlook this area.
Like with any other professional you hire, make sure to check their reviews and testimonials. Beyond that, make sure they have similar work in their portfolio! If they don’t, contact them and ask to see work samples or portfolio of similar work. They might not have it online (they’re busy, too), but they should have some relevant work samples to show you or an explanation about recent projects that you can verify.
I’m not being ironic here, you really do get what you pay for. If you’re okay with chancing your time and money and really bootstrapping or just starting, it can work for the short-term to hire someone with less experience to save on cost. I get it, we don’t all start with a large cash flow and lots of funds to invest in marketing! So if you have lots of time and are able to do all the planning, location sourcing, feel confident posing, want to plan props, etc. it’s okay to save on cost if you absolutely need to.
However, your time is precious and if you want to maximize your time, your impact, and your money, it’s going to be much easier and smoother to work with a seasoned professional. That’s why they charge more, they have literal years and thousands of hours of experience doing exactly what you’re looking for. They can deliver results, and have a strong client process in place to make sure you get a great result. They also have resources and connections, making it more likely that your session and images/video will meet your expectations AND be easy for you.