Now you’ve found the perfect photographer to work with, you need to know how to work together to create the best project possible. Here’s our top tips for how to work with photographers.
- Get as much of your vision out of your head and onto paper. The more detail you can give your photographer about your project, the better. They’re there to make your vision a reality, so let them know what you’re thinking. Link to similar projects online and use Pinterest to create visual mood boards. Gather examples of visual style and tone that you like. Remember you might only be communicating through email so be very clear about what you want. If you’re not good at communicating with words, use pictures.
- Gather information about what your photographer can do – ask questions. What equipment do they use, what format will they give you the finished photos in, can they do post-production work if needed, how long do they need to complete the shoot? Make sure you’re as well-prepared for them as possible, then you can be sure the shoot will go to plan. You don’t want to hit a stumbling block that will stop you shooting on the day, so make sure you discuss all requirements beforehand.
- They’ll want to know information from you too. Will they have to travel – if so will they be reimbursed, what’s your budget, what’s your deadline? Where will the project be used (online or printed?), is it commercial or for personal use? So be ready with answers.
- Listen to their advice. They’re the experts and they’ll know best what can be achieved on your budget. If you’re not sure of what you want, they can give you advice and guidance.
- It’s an obvious one, but photographers will have more interest in your project (read: willing to do a good job) if you have a budget. But, don’t abandon that thought altogether – if your project is particularly interesting or innovative, a photographer might want to get involved without payment just for the enjoyment. Or, think of what you could offer in exchange for their work – gig tickets, merchandise, records etc. The offer of ‘your name on their portfolio’ is usually not enough…
- If you’re there for the shoot, don’t be too controlling. It’s very tempting to slip into director mode when it’s your project at stake, but don’t do this. It creates a stifling atmosphere for the photographer to work in, you need to give them their creative freedom. As long as you’ve clearly communicated your vision for the project from the start, it’s ok to take a step back. If you’re not going to be on location when the project is shot, ask for previews. That way you can be sure the project is going the way you intended.
- If you’re going to be on location for the shoot, bring some refreshments or snacks to share with everyone. Shooting can often be a long and arduous process, so avoid bad moods by making sure nobody goes hungry! A flask of hot coffee can work wonders.