As Emma and I plan our very first blog photoshoot and I gear up for a business shoot this weekend, I wanted to come here and share with you my absolute non-negotiable things you must ask your photographer in hopes it may help fellow creatives like myself.
DO YOU REQUIRE WATERMARKS?
One of my vital questions for any photographer I purchase from is the question of watermark use. Because I'm paying you, there's no need for me to receive photos with watermarks, and I'm willing to pay a little extra to ensure this doesn't happen.
You don't see me placing my business logo on every website I create and am paid for, unless they tell me to and would like to promote my work (which many of my clients have been incredibly kind and generous about!). More often than not, it's simple footer credit.
I can completely understand photographers enforcing their watermarks when they offer their friend or family a photoshoot pro-bono or at a seriously discounted rate and want to trade for the promotional opp. If you don't pay or pay enough, you don't get the luxury of no credit! :)
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO BE CREDITED?
If they don't use watermarks, does the photographer still prefer to be credited in another form? Of course, it's always nice to support the photographer's business and as I mentioned before, footer credit is a fabulous alternative to obstructing watermarks.
I offer my photographers a full blog post feature here on Fashionably Frank, a feature under my "Design Team" page if work done for the blog and credit where the photo is posted (social media, website email list) if necessary. I think that my other offerings should be enough!
WHAT ARE YOUR COPYRIGHT POLICIES?
This is SO important, ladies - listen up! Just because you paid for some headshots DOES NOT mean you own the rights to your photos! Get your photographer's policy either in writing (email is good enough for me) or in a formal contract - just in case you end up in court (hey, I said "in case"!). This should never occur, but you'd be surprised what can happen.
I was taking this webinar from a lawyer the other day regarding copyrighted content on social media, and she happened to mention many stories from various photographers that shook me - and I haven't been able to forget them since!
One story goes like this: A gal paid for some headshots from her photographer thinking that because she paid for them, they were her property to use commercially and personally. However, this isn't what her contract said (or she just never asked for the policies!).
This girl then shared her headshots with her dentist, allowing them to use her as a formal advertisement for their teeth-beautifying services! Later on, the girl was notified that those photos were not her intellectual property and the dental office got in big trouble for using photography that was not cleared for copyright (or purchased) from the creator.
Let this be a lesson from both angles! Don't use other people's photography on your materials that aren't cleared for copyright (we always use CC0 imagery OR credit the original creator), and don't expect that your photoshoots are cleared for copyright automatically.
You're just paying for the files / copies!
ARE YOU CONNECTING WITH ME + MY VISION?
The most important thing I could think to ask a photographer is if they are connecting with me, my business and my vision. If I don't feel as though they get my personality or will be able to convey the vision I have in my head, I won't hire them.
Similar to how I don't expect my own clients to hire me if I am unable to conceptualize their vision and produce the right results that they had in mind. I've certainly met some potential clients that I just didn't click well with and that I couldn't fully support their vision or mission personally. This makes it incredibly difficult for me to say yes to services when I'm not connecting, and I totally understand it if they choose not to work with me!
IS EDITING INCLUDED IN MY PACKAGE?
IF SO, WILL IT LOOK LIKE YOUR OTHER WORKS?
So, so necessary! Ask your photographer if their editing services are included with the package you choose (especially important when choosing a lower priced bundle). It's one thing to browse through a photographer's seamless, gorgeous Instagram feed, but there's no guarantee that they edit all of their photos that way for their clients' final products.
Photographers, like any other creative (such as myself) deserve to be PAID for their work, and of course this includes editing! If they're charging hourly in a package rate, be sure that editing is an included piece of your package. And, make sure it will have the vibe you desire!
HOW MANY OUTFIT CHANGES + LOCATIONS WILL I RECEIVE?
Many photographers list their packages with all details on their website, but if yours doesn't, be sure you check in with them about customizing a package that suits your needs for outfit change and location changes. Time can FLY BY during a shoot and you want to make sure you're ready and optimizing your time!
In addition to these 6 questions, you may also choose to suggest and clarify the following:
OFFER A BLOG FEATURE
If you do enjoy your photographer's work, you may be compelled to write a blog post piece about their business as mentioned earlier. Invite them to share some of their favorite works, a promo they're running, a bit of a backstory about how they got started and what drives them.
OR, A BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP
I'm a big proponent of the #communityovercompetition mantra between entrepreneurial ladies, regardless if it gets me a discount, or "in with the photographer" - that's not the purpose of doing this. My business has a mutual promo connection with a videographer in the area, just because we'd like to help build up each other's businesses locally!
It's all about helping out a fellow creative and boosting her up!
VERIFY ANY NECESSARY TRAVEL FEES
In addition to the fees of editing and shooting, there may be travel fees for your photographer if they are leaving their home city. Be realistic about the amount of mileage they are using and gas they will be spending. Hopefully they will write this trip off on their taxes at the end of the year, but it's your duty to pay for travel if necessary.
SEND THEM SOME PRIME #INSPO
When you're getting closer to the date and you've picked your photographer, sending them some inspiration is key to getting the results you desire. Send any links to websites, Instagram feeds or a Pinterest board that you've curated with your fave photo looks, whether these are particular poses, aesthetic looks & feels or location ideas.
But, also respect their time. They are not working for you until they are actually "on the clock", so be mindful that this is just extra fluff and they are not required by any means to review your links unless they offer to and/or you're paying for it.
How are you choosing your photographer? What are things you ask / look for?
As for me? My most recent photographic endeavor is with a gal who sent me the following statement in one of our very first email exchanges: "I WILL NOT REST UNTIL YOU LOOK LIKE AS MUCH OF A QUEEN AS BEYONCE IN YOUR PHOTOS." Needless to say, I was sold.
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BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN
Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating from The Evergreen State College (Washington) in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to all of life's problems + that all women should strive to embrace a #girlboss mantra.