Hiring a photographer for digital projects, what you need to know

Last updated: October 2018

Well done you’ve found a photographer that speaks to your brand’s personality, so what next?

This is a big investment and you want to make sure that you communicate your expectations beforehand so you have an amazing and productive shoot. Clarifying the direction and preparing a simple brief for your photoshoot will ensure the best results.

Your photographer should:

  • Understand your visual style
  • Know what you want the images to say
  • Tell your business story

And it’s up to you to tell them. Put it down on paper means that everyone is left with a very clear idea of the goals for the day.

Hiring a photographer for digital projects, what you need to know

Mindset

Ask yourself what are you going to use the photos for?

Do you need images for a new website, product shots for a store or content images for Instagram? Telling your photographer where you plan to use images will help your photographer frame and plan shots during the shoot.

Think about your business story and and how to communicate your key messages on your website. Will you have a banner or slideshow on your website? Will you want space around the photo to overlay text on the image? If so let your photographer know.

iPad Hero Image

If you are planning a photoshoot exclusively for Instagram then shots framed in a portrait or a square could be the best option as they occupy more real estate on an Instagram feed. Have a look at the example below, you’ll see that the centre image really fills the screen. Portrait format will also be more useful for your Instagram stories.

Instagram image proportions

Gather together some reference images

This should contain layout ideas, colours or style. Sometimes it’s difficult to communicate what you want in words so it’s easy to show them.

Plan your shot list

  • List your absolute must haves (I promise it’s better to have five awesome photos rather than 50 mediocre ones)
  • Then secondary nice-to-have shots
  • Plan the order of the day… what’s the sensible order to take photos to maximise your time? Is there a change of light or location? Are you using models or props? Talk these points through with your photographer.

Copyright

Talk to your photographer about copyright. Generally speaking the moment a photographer captures an image the copyright belongs to them. The fee that you pay them give you a license to use the image. An exception to this is if you have a specific legal agreement in advance that transfers the copyright to you. Some photographers may also ask to be credited each time you use one of their images on social media. Think of it like buying a book… you buy a copy of the book to read but you do not own the words.

If your images are used for advertising they may have additional usage fees so have this conversation in advance.

TL;DR

Let you photographer know what you’re going to use the images for e.g website or Instagram. This will affect how they frame their shots. Plan your shot list and the order of the day to ensure you make the most of your time together. Remember to ask about copyright and how you can use the images.