The process - A start to finish guide to using commercial photography services

For many small business owners marketing is a daunting prospect, it can be difficult to choose the right avenues to look at and how much to spend on them. One of the more expensive areas you will likely look at is getting professional photography of your business. As detailed in my previous post, The 5 benefits of professional photography for businesses, professional photography is a great investment for you business but how exactly do you go about it?

For those who have never used a photographer before I have put together this run down of the process used by photographers. Note that all photographers are different and may work to a slightly different process 

 

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Step 1 - Finding a photographer 

Firstly you have to find the photographer you want to work with. You should look for a photographer who's style you like and think will work with your brand. Its important to look through the photographers portfolio and assess the quality and style of the work.

There are many ways to find Photographers perhaps the easiest is a simple google search this will usually find photographers in your area and bring them to the top as well for you. Another way to find the right photographer is to go through a business directory such as yell.com or 192.com, you may also look at advertising agencies. 

 

Step 2. The consultation

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Great you've found the perfect photographer now lets really get started. Once you have an idea of what you are looking to achieve you should arrange a consultation or meeting with the photographer. Please note some photographers may charge for this consultation (I don't charge for this). This meeting is not only a great time to get to know your photographer but also for them to get to know you. This is important as the more the photographer knows about your vision for the shoot the more they can help you. If your still not 100% sure on the concept or what you want from the final image(s) then ask your photographer what they think. At the end of the day they want the image to be successful too! Lastly don't be discouraged if you are unable to iron out all the details straight away it's better to spend extra time at this stage rather than change you mind or be unhappy with the results later.

 

Step 3. Finalising the brief and writing a contract

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Now that you have decided on what you are wanting from the photographer it is important that you now get it down in writing. One of the best ways to do this is to draw up a brief for the shoot. The brief is a basic outline of what image(s) is needed, it doesn't need to be anything fancy, remember it's a basic outline. The reason that a brief is so important is it not only gives the photographer a plan of action for the shoot but also it acts as a form of contract between the photographer and you to set out your expectations. 

At this point you should always get a contract written up. This should include a quote or estimate for the shoot as well as deadlines and details about what is to be done  (this is where the brief comes in). You should also agree copyright terms with the photographer some photographers will charge usage fees and some will allow you to use the images for a set period of time. Most photographers will not give you the copyright and will instead allow you to use the images but hold onto the copyright. Its important that you understand the copyright terms to avoid any issues in the future.

I'll soon be publishing a post about how to write a great photography brief subscribe to the email list to get notified when it drops, being a member of the email list also makes you eligible for member discounts

 

Step 4. The shoot 

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So you've gotten through the planning stages of the shoot and now comes the shoot itself. What happens at this point will depend on what was agreed with the photographer. Often photographers will be happy for you to be present during the shoot if done in a studio, This will enable you to have input at the time of the shoot and to tweak little details. This isn't to say that you should be hovering over their shoulder but don't be scared to speak up (after all it's your shoot). 

In some situations being present for the shoot may be difficult, inconvenient or even dangerous and the photographer will discuss this with you before hand. If this is the case it's time to put your feet up, but make sure the photographer can get hold of you if they need further input or clarification. 

 

Step 5. Post production

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Hang in there we're almost finished. Now that the shoot is finished the photographer may arrange another meeting with you to look over the images, confirm that you are happy with the images and to discuss what post production work you might want done. This part can be quite off putting to those who don't know much about photography but don't worry that's what your photographer is there for. They should recommend any changes that may need to be made and run you through the process. Just bare in mind this part can take a while.

 

Step 6. Get using your images 

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Now all thats left to do is to pay your photographer if you haven't already and receive your images. Get using them in your marketing and remember that these images can be reused for many purposes as detailed in, The 5 benefits of professional photography for businesses.

 

Stewart Thompson Photography offers commercial photography services to businesses in Scotland if you want to commission a shoot or have any questions don't hesitate to get in touch.