Hiring a commercial photographer in Bristol can be a scary concept with many concern over budgets, image usage and file formats. Find out how to get the most for your money.

The Brief

The brief is the most important single aspect of hiring a photographer. Not only is it the direction you give to your photographer but also it is there to ensure your expectations are met. A photographer will we want to meet or exceed your expectations and providing a brief provides the information for the photographer to carry out the work as well as save you money.

How can I save money when hiring a commercial photographer?

Photographers charge a creative fee for when they are responsible for being the creative. You can save money by not paying this creative fee by pre-visualising and creating a well defined brief and strategy.

1. Pre-visualise your goal

What is it you want from the images? What do you want them to do? Are you trying to advertise a specific product? If so you’ll likely want your photographer to invest more time in photographing and retouching this product. If you’re completely unsure have a look at your direct competitors and see what they are using. I often suggest doing this and then beating them. The more information you can give your photographer the better the results will be.

2. What’s Your Budget?

A lot of photographers, myself included, will ask this question when an enquiry is made. They do not ask this question as a way to maximise profits. They need to know much time they can spend on making the photographs while still giving you an amazing result. The more budget you have the longer a photographer can spend making your images. The more time spent the better the photographs are likely to be.

3. Start-up Businesses

Let your photographer know this in the brief as many, myself included will offer lower rates. Ultimately your photographer wants you to succeed. Your success guarantees repeat work.

4. What am I going to use the images for?

Depending on the client’s usage, photographers arrange image licensing agreements. Now this area can be quite complicated but there is a very easy way to understand this which I will outline below.

5. Image Licensing

Let’s imagine two made up companies, Bob’s Bakery and National Bakery Ltd. Both businesses require images of their bakery products for their marketing. Bob’s Bakery has one store and National Bakery Ltd has 250 stores. Bob’s Bakery, being a small business will have less usage of the images and will therefore pay less. In fact, I imagine most photographers would deliver the images to Bob’s Bakery, advise them how to use them best and be on their way. National Bakery Ltd however, being a bigger company with a dedicated marketing department and producing thousands of print advertisements as well as online content will use the images more many more times. Therefore, National Bakery Ltd will pay for a license to use the images.

6. Location Costs Money

Another way to save money when hiring a commercial photographer is considering your location. Hiring a location can add extra costs to your photography bill. The location will depend on your product. You may be able to find a location for free if you know the right people. If you think you know of a location, take pictures of the location on your phone and send them to your photographer. Look through catalogues and see what locations your competitors use. Can you find locations similar to this?

7. Product Photography

Having a clear brief and workflow can really maximise savings here. It is also vitally important to think about what images you need. If you sell online then catalogue style photographs on pure white will be what you are looking for. These types of images offer a lot of flexibility and offer multiple uses. For example, if photographed on white these imageĀ  can be used for your website, packshots, catalogues and even some advertising images. Images can often be supplied as both .JPEG (for website) and .PNG for using in printed catalogues.

8. Assist Your Photographer

If you haveĀ  products to photograph, ensure each one is clean, dust free and photo ready. Having someone within your business make sure the products are clean and dust free will save the photographer from doing this. Additionally, choosing the best samples of the products is also important to further lessen post-production work. Try to create a smooth workflow where products sit left of the camera and are subsequently moved in front of the lens for a picture and then moved to the right. By doing this your photographer can focus on making the pictures rather than moving your products around.

Do keep in mind that some products made from glass or metal can reuire significantly more time as the reflections need to be managed.

Editing and post-production

Do you have a marketing department in your business capable of cutting out images or performing basic retouching? Ask your photographer (or put it in your brief)if they will be happy with this and if they can quote for just producing the images.