A Seven-Point Checklist for Hiring a Corporate Photographer

Congratulations! You’ve gotten the green light to do a photo shoot for your new advertising campaign. Now, all you have to do is book a photographer.

But before you hit the Rolodex or call your contacts for recommendations, do you really know what you should expect from a quality corporate photographer?

Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for, and what questions to ask.

1. Experience. Logical enough, right? Your photographer should be a professional with experience in their craft. More to the point is number two:

2. Area of expertise. All photographers are not the same. You wouldn’t hire an electrical engineer to build a bridge. Don’t hire a portrait photographer for your product shots.

3. Strategic input. A knowledgeable photographer will add value to your strategy planning session and bring up ideas you may not have considered. When there is true creative collaboration between photographer and art director, art happens, even in the commercial realm.

4. Flexibility. Do you need to shoot at night? Does the shoot involve children or animals, or a secured facility? Your photographer should be willing and happy to accommodate your needs.

5. Accessibility. Can you meet with the photographer beforehand to get a feel for their approach, style and personality? Can you call and ask questions?

6. Imagination. The best way to find out if your photographer is an imaginative sort is to view his portfolio and ask questions about how he approached a specific shot. Why was the model posed in a certain fashion? How was the lighting effect determined? You may already know exactly what you want your finished photos to look like, but if you would like another opinion, be sure you’re hiring a photographer who has ideas and can think conceptually.

7. Willingness to take direction. You’ve got your marketing director, art director, models and possibly a difficult client to contend with. Make sure your photographer is comfortable taking instruction, and let him or her know beforehand whose input they need to heed most.

6 Responses to “A Seven-Point Checklist for Hiring a Corporate Photographer”

  1. Good article but a couple you missed:

    1a) Make sure your "photographer" is indeed a bona-fide professional and not some Joe with a website, one camera, one flashgun and the knowledge to set it all to "auto". Most amateurs posing as pros aren't available during the week as they are at their day job. Check their "availability".

    1b) Professional photographers normally belong to a trade association or body.

    1c) If your photographer charges by the hour or is willing to throw you every frame from the shoot plus an unlimited licence for cheaper than all your other quotes then congratualtions. You've discovered the local "dump and run" merchant. Save your money as you'll get the same quality as if you bought the camera and shot it yourself.

    See the five common types of photographers and what they stand for here:



  2. I am SO excited to have found your site. You have such wonderful content!! LOVE IT!

  3. It was very nice reading this. I am a Phoenix commercial photographer and sure hope more purchasers of photographic services read this - there is a lot of value within the points you have outlined above. Good job.

  4. ProPhotographer,
    You added some great points but I wouldn't place too much stock on 1b) trade associations.

    Some of these bodies are more reputable than others. Others will allow anyone who can pay the dues to be members.

    It's sort of like Canon Professional Services' latest criteria for inclusion for membership.

    The Better Business Bureau operates like that too. It's shocking, at least, it was to me.

    They actually charge you to be listed in their directory.

    I didn't realize this until I got a solicitation from their sales rep.

    Your other points are spot-on. And I couldn't agree more.

    Now that I teach photography part-time, I emphasize "creative rights" to my students. Wish my photography instructor had done so years ago.

  5. I would like some direction on providing and working from a checklist before scheduling a photo shoot.
    Not Wedding-
    Internally within our college.
    Who - specifics
    How we are going to use
    When we need them.'

  6. Hi

    If you are commissioning a photographer their work is all dependant on their portfolio. Nothing else really matters, they could belong to all the trade organisations with loads of letters after their name, but these are paid for and does not guarantee quality. The photography market has changed and lots of amateurs are around, but a good look at their portfolio and some of their most recent commissions will so you wether they are suited to your commission.

    I have been a corporate photographer for over 20 years and have noticed a big change in the last couple of years regarding what clients expect from a photographer. Clients seem to expect to pay less for photography if it is going on a website instead of in a brochure. Also with the ease of purchasing stock photography the normal revenue streams for professionals have been reduced. The advent of good digital cameras has allowed clients to have a go at doing photography themselves and although the results are not bad they often pass as it is a cost saving exercise. I now work as a social media photographer and I think you need to find a niche and pursue that market to be successful. Grant

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