A collection of blogs for the marketing industry

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How to find a commercial photographer

If you have been tasked with finding a Commercial Photographer then first you need to ask some basic questions:

  1. What is a Commercial Photographer?
  2. What should you look for in a Commercial Photographer?
  3. How do you find the best Commercial Photographer for your business?
  4. How much will the photography cost?

All important questions, so let's break them down one by one:

1. What is a Commercial Photographer?

  • A Commercial Photographer is a photographer who deals with businesses. Their focus is Business to Business relationships.

  • They will have equipment and experience that a Wedding Photographer, for instance, does not usually have. A Commercial Photographer will have invested time and money into high end equipment to ensure they can meet a business clients needs.

  • A Commercial Photographer will have a full studio setup, traditionally mobile in nature.

  • A Commercial Photographer will know how to produce images for a range of needs, from the artistic advertising shot, to the corporate portrait, to the production line requirements of consistent product images.

  • Commercial Photographers work to specific project deadlines and are able to communicate with all kinds of business owners, from the Entrepreneur to the Chairman of the Board.

  • Commercial Photographers have strong project management and problem solving skills.

  • Commercial Photographers are extremely professional in the presentation of their own business.

  • Commercial Photographer should be VAT registered, indicating their full time commitment to the business sector.

2. What should you look for in a Commercial Photographer?

  • Their portfolio of images should showcase various types and styles of work with a very high consistent quality. Their portfolio should demonstrate strong creative flair.

  • They should have a track record of working with businesses of all sizes.

  • They should be able to provide testimonials from their business client base.

  • To establish best fit, consider whether they supply images licensed, or with full copyright. Do they own the finished images or do you?

  • Do they know how to deal with model and property releases? You don't want a lawsuit because someone has not given you permission to make money from their image do you?

3. Where do you find the best Commercial Photographer for your business?

  • Decide if you want a local photographer or a national photographer. Local photographers tend to be more competitive in price, whilst national and international photographers tend to handle much larger contracts and high profile clients. They therefore charge a premium for that type of service.

  • Recommendations are always good. Do you know someone who has used the photographer?

  • Look at their client base. Is it varied and diverse? Do they have proven history of dealing with a company like yours?

  • Google is your friend. Look for a Commercial Photographer who has a good internet presence, and knows how to present their own business well.

4. How much will the photography cost?

  • Be realistic about price. A Commercial Photographer is a highly skilled specialist who will enable you to present your business in the best possible light.

  • Invest in your product and your business. Good imagery is the cornerstone of successful marketing. Saving pennies here means losing credibility further down the line because low quality imagery gives the impression that your business is of low quality.

  • Do not add additional items to the project once started. Make sure you have agreed the specification before you begin. That could be the total number of images for example.

  • Make sure you know the full cost of the project. Some photographers charge for the photo shoot, and then charge additionally for the editing work. What might seem like a cheap quote at the beginning, usually ends up much more expensive. Always push for an inclusive price.

Concluding tips

  • Look for a photographer who has a commercial portfolio and does not mix private and business client work in their portfolio.
  • Find a photographer whose images immediately strike you as compelling.
  • Start close to home, and move outwards in a geographic circle, until you find someone who can produce the quality of images you require. 
  • Cheapest is never the best. Consider what type of car you would like to drive and then consider why. Use the same reasoning when finding a photographer. You wouldn't buy a Reliant Robin and expect it to perform like a Rolls Royce... 
  • Overall, you should seek to be comfortable with your chosen Commercial Photographer. Good photographers tend to have good interpersonal skills by nature. This should reflect in their marketing.

So, good luck with your project!

Mark and Philomena Timberlake
Business Photography and Videography