Photo credit: Stephani Buchman
You’ve put the finishing touches on your latest design project, and your client is thrilled with the result. Now, it’s time to put it in the spotlight. You’ll need photos, and a great photographer to capture your work. As you know, not all photographers are created equal. Here’s a collection of my top key tips to keep in mind, as you plan ahead for your photo shoots.
Do your research. Scour websites and don’t settle for the first photographer that lands in your Google search results. The more photographers you vet, the more likely you are to find the right one. Get recommendations from colleagues within your industry.
Hire a true professional. We all know someone who “takes photos,” but understanding how to set up a great shot, having correct lighting, and photo editing abilities are a different story. To master these skills, the photographer requires training. Don’t just hire someone who thinks they are a photographer; choose someone with experience.
Review their websites and portfolios, read reviews and speak with former clients. Online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Ask the candidate about their experience on everything from their creative process to their technical abilities.
Find someone whose style you love. Visit the photographer’s website and social media pages, and view their portfolio from a style perspective. Look beyond the decor, and consider the lighting and composition when reviewing their work. Do you like the overall content and style of the imagery they produce? This is a highly objective process. Understand that not all photographers may be the best fit for you, and sometimes finding the right one means some trial and error.
Understand the contract. Once you’ve found a photographer that meets your technical and creative criteria, carefully READ through the terms of your agreement. Be clear on their policies and procedures, copyrights, and get everything in writing. Don’t accept verbal agreements. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t count.
“A contract between the photographer and the client not only protects both parties, but is a useful way to ensure that we are on the same page in terms of our process and final outcomes. Reviewing the contract, though it may take time initially, will prevent an any potential unpleasant surprises in the future.” -Stephani Buchman, founder of Stephani Buchman Photography
Understand the photographer’s fees. Price will vary depending on the photographer and project. Ask for a detailed breakdown of rates for a half-day and full-day session, and the number of hours included in each. The number of hours will dictate the number of images that will be produced.
Be transparent on the number of photos you will require from the shoot. Some photographers may restrict daily amounts and instead provide an estimate of how many images will be taken. If additional imagery is needed, you can expect to pay an extra cost per image, over and above the contracted rate.
Below are some additional fees that may be incurred:
– Transportation, typically billed at $0.50 per kilometre for anything beyond a 40-kilometre radius
– Assistant fee, usually required for larger shoots
– Lunch expense for photographer (and assistant, if applicable) at approximately $30 to $60 per day
– Additional charge for outdoor aerial photos
Cost sharing is an option to consider. Oftentimes, your trade partners such as architects, builders, suppliers and fabricators, may “share” your images on social media, at full cost to you. Consider including them early on in the photo-planning process, and split the fee. Additional parties can be added to the licence fee and cost can diversely range depending on the photographer.
If the secondary business chooses not to split the photo service fee, they may wish to purchase images individually. That cost is usually calculated as a percentage of the final photography cost. If they do agree to split the service bill, a smaller flat fee is added as an additional usage fee for the second business. The reason for the additional amount is that the final “artwork” or photography will have additional exposure and garner work (and income) for the business.
Photo format: JPEG and TIFF photos are the commonly requested file format. You should receive both high- and low-resolution photos. Special retouching requests may be subject to additional fees. Discuss your expectations with the photographer ahead of time.
Standard edits including colour-correction and removing unwanted elements such as plugs and cables, or other such undesirables Please note, if the space has dark-coloured cabinetry, this could require additional editing costs. – Eventful PR
Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your photographer. Their schedules may vary, depending on demand, the time of year and other circumstances. You may have to wait from a few weeks to several months, if the photographer’s particularly in demand. You may have to schedule the shoot far in advance. To avoid delays or losing out on your desired photographer, inquire about “hold dates.”
TIP: Always notify your PR Brand Manager of upcoming photo shoots, work with them to ensure you get the correct imagery needed ahead for specific outreach and use.
Styling the space should be done prior to the photographer’s arrival, to reduce stress, and save time and money. Most importantly, prepare a full shot list in advance. List all the elevations, rooms, vignettes and details that you’d like captured, and share it with the photographer when confirming your shoot date. This list will avoid forgotten shots while aiding the photographer in determining how many hours and equipment will be required for the shoot day, to provide you with an accurate price estimate.
The light in a space change throughout the day, so the time of your shoot will likely be dictated by the lighting. On arrival with shot list in hand, the photographer will walk through the space and make recommendations on where to start. Heed their advice on this! Great lighting to us is essential for successful photos.
Photo editing: Get clarity on whether the photographer does their own post-production work, or if it is done by a third party after the shoot. Why does this matter?
The post-production part of the process is just as important as shooting the photos. For professional interior photographers, much of the overall aesthetic is accomplished in the editing stage, when they bring together the various elements captured into a composite layered image. There is much that goes into bringing the final image to life that is not easily communicated to a third party. Outsourcing often produces inconsistent imagery, so be clear on who handles this part of the process. This may impact the cost and timeline, so get these terms in writing.
“To me, post-production is crucial to achieving the final imagery as intended.” -Stephani Buchman, founder of Stephani Buchman Photography
Some photo editing and cropping may also be done on the Art Director’s side, but don’t count on this. If specific photos are required or desired, some magazines (rarely, but sometimes) may do their own photo shoot to ensure a consistent magazine aesthetic.
Cancellation terms: Be clear on the photographer’s cancellation policy. Typically many will not charge a cancellation fee, especially if you’re a frequent customer. However, times are changing photography studios may charge you for incidental costs incurred, studio rentals, assistant fees or prop rentals if you cancel with less than 24 hours notice.
To avoid last-minute on-site delays, discuss and disclose things such as animals on location, or clients present during the shoot. Photo shoots can get complicated, involving vehicles and equipment, loading in and out. Communicate the parking situation to the crew. In a condo setting, arrange for visitor parking.
Who owns the photo rights? Between five days to two or three weeks of the shoot, you can expect to receive the final proof images. (It’s always a good idea to ensure your contract defines a delivery date!) Review and approve them, and before you start sharing, posting or publishing your photos, ensure you understand who owns the rights to them.
On the PR side of things, we appreciate being involved in the overall direction and photo process, and can be as hands on (or hands off) as our clients would like us to be. At the very least, we will offer a “wish list” of shots that are more likely to get your work noticed and featured. We are strategic about sharing your work and telling your brand story through visuals.
We believe photography is a vital investment to any business and should be part of your annual business marketing plan. If you as a business want to attract more of your ideal customer, you need to work and create a visual business plan and this needs to be conveyed to a photographer who will take the time to understand what you need to highlight to engage with your audience.
Eventful PR team works with and has a team of skilled photographers across Canada. We’re happy to share more about our methods and process. Learn more by connecting with us and by reading more from our photo series: