The first step in picking a photographer is understanding their photographic style and making sure it aligns with your brand. Many photographers have worked to develop their own personal style when it comes to editing and processing images. A quick look through their portfolio should give you a sense of what they can accomplish for your brand.
The discovery call
Once you have decided on a few photographers to interview it's time to set up a discovery call. This is where you will asking them questions and getting a sense of who they are and how they can help you achieve your vision.
But beyond their personality and photographic style, what questions should you be asking?
I have put together a short list of questions I think are super important to discuss with your photographer. Their answers to these questions will help you determine their professionalism and whether or not they are experienced enough to capture your brand photos.
WHAT’S YOUR METHOD FOR CHOOSING AND SECURING LOCATIONS?
Location selection is a collaboration between photographer and client but your photographer will likely have a list of locations they are familiar with. Understanding your photographers method for location scouting can help you narrow down a few places that fit your brand.
If we are shooting outside what’s your inclement weather plan?
We have a saying where I live in Houston, Tx. "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes." For on-location shoots it's important to have a back-up plan for crazy whether the day of your shoot, especially if you're booking weeks in advance. Be sure to understand your photographer's rescheduling policy as well.
HOW DO YOU CAPTURE POSES OR SPECIFIC SHOTS?
Every photographer is different in the way they pose their clients. Some use strategic posing techniques that flatter body types, some use prompts that get their clients in motion and capture them in a more candid style. Ask you photographer what their methods are to make sure you will be comfortable with that type of guidance.
How do you help me make sure I look my best?
Does your photographer offer hair and makeup services or wardrobe styling options? Do they refer you to stylists for you to hire or leave it up to? Knowing what other team members you yourself have to hire, if any, is so important when choosing a photographer.
How can you help me make the most of my images?
As a personal branding photographer, it's vital that whomever you hire understands how to use their final product and can assist you in best practices. Even if you already have that locked down, it's a good question to ask to ensure that your photographer understands how to shoot for those uses.
DO YOU OFFER RETOUCHING?
Not all photographers offer retouching services as it can be very time consuming and can be cost prohibitive. If retouching is something that is important to you it's important to know what level of skill your photographer has in this area.
How do you customize my photography to fit my fit my brand?
Is your photographer able to offer guidance on how to create custom imagery that is brand specific? Can they tailor their editing style to fit your brand aesthetic or do they have one set style that they apply to every session? This is super important in to know when making your final choice.
DO YOU HAVE PROPS AVAILABLE TO USE DURING MY SESSION OR DO I HAVE TO BRING MY OWN?
Props can make or break a session. Trust me. If your photographer has a stock of props they use to add depth to your session that's less work for you, but if they don't you need to know ahead of time so that you can gather those extra items to bring to your session.
What's your method for selecting the best images from my session?
Many photographers will make a selection of images to present to their clients from a big number of images, removing what doesn't work and only showing their client the best of the best. Sometimes this can give client's anxiety wondering if there is something that may have been overlooked, or, if the photographer sends a gallery with too many choices, it can be overwhelming to choose. Discuss with your photographer what their methods are and why so you can rest assured that you are making the right choice.
What are the usage rights that come with my images?
All personal branding photography should be treated like commercial photography and come with usage rights and licenses. If it doesn't it could mean big headaches down the line. Talk to your photographer about what usage rights and licenses are included in your package. If those things are not included in their contract I would highly suggest moving on.