Commercial photographers aren’t one-size-fits-all—and that’s a good thing! It’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you can refine your search by style. You just have to know how look. Finding the right commercial photographer for your brand and project is crucial to getting the results you want. Here are my top recommendations on finding “The One.”
5 Steps to Finding the Right Photographer for Your Brand
Get recommendations for commercial photographers & search in your area.
First, narrow your list way down by asking for industry recommendations for commercial photographers in your area. Hiring a local product photographer is ideal, especially if you have deadlines to hit and want a more personalized experience. Plus, a local photographer will be able to provide you with better recommendations for other creative professionals like models and stylists. A local team will help make the entire process from planning to post-production much smoother.
View the photographer’s portfolio + recent projects.
With your short list in hand, start viewing portfolios. A photographer’s portfolio should showcase the photographer’s overall arrangement and shooting styles. It’ll also help give you a better idea of whether the photographer can photograph your brand’s style. If you like their work but aren’t sure if it fits your brand and vision, inquire with the photographer for more examples along the lines of what you’re looking for.
*However, stick to the last couple years of work since it most accurately reflects what you’ll receive. I recommend skipping over anything the photographer did over five years ago because trends and styles were different and the photographer has mostly likely (hopefully) gained more knowledge and experience since then. So, don’t write them off if you see one image you dislike from 2008. (And to the photographers reading, clear out outdated work!)
Check out their client list.
You want to see that the photographer has worked with actual paying clients and that their whole portfolio isn’t just test work. I have a balance of both in mine because I like to show authentic client work, but I also like to publish some of my own creative projects to demonstrate my range of skills for inquiring clients. Feel free to ask me for both!
Make sure the photographer is in your budget range.
Some commercial photographers charge higher prices because they’re in-demand and they produce exceptional work. But if you come across someone who is charging suspiciously too little—there’s usually a reason why. (The saying holds true: you generally get what you pay for.) Commercial photography projects and production costs range quite a bit. Larger productions require more professionals on the set. Some shoots have models, others don’t. Some people pay up for broader image licensing, others need a handful of images for very specific purposes. You can find a handy breakdown of costs here.
Do you mesh well?
Finally, if everything else checks out, don’t forget to make sure you mesh well! You have a way you like things done, so make sure your personalities work well together and that the working process fits with your brand. You want to work with someone who understands your brand and is committed to accomplishing what you need. Are they available to work within your timeframe to produce quality work and help you meet deadlines? And are you ok with allowing them some creative freedom and trusting their process? You’re striving for a mutually positive partnership to get killer results!
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Lindsay is a Los Angeles food and product photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her here for product marketing!