Working With Photographers

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After receiving so many messages lately about the quality of my content, and the how the regularity of my content has increased in this last few months. I thought that I would write out a quick little blog post about just one of the ways I have been able to crank out content on the regular. And that is, using a photographer. 

Back in Canada, I did use a photographer quite regularly, which was one of my good friends, Nicole. However both of us lived quite busy lives, and we had the same friends group. So sometimes finding time to fit each other in to the schedule was quite hard… And I don’t think I had a knack for doing shoots as much as I do now. There has definitely been a lot of things that I have learned to make a photoshoot go as efficiently as possible. 

I also used to have one of my friends Victoria take my pictures a lot of the time too. She is not a trained professional, however she just has such a good eye for it. So I was always grateful when she was able to give me a hand. 

Since being in Bristol, at first Paul would be taking my pictures… cause he was the only person I knew here lol. But there came a point this summer where I was like, alright… I am starting to get some paid work through my Instagram, I think it is time to start reinvesting back into my business, because essentially that is what it is now. And I think once you start looking at your accounts from that perspective, it really helps you make that business call on whether its time to start getting help with things by hiring a photographer. 

Thankfully, there was a few people I had come across on Instagram, and then there was a few people that were recommended to me – and from there I sent a few emails around and asked for quotes. And the ones that I was the most keen on potentially working with, I had asked to go for coffee with and just make sure that we are on the same page. 

I think this is so essential when first starting to work with someone, because let’s be real – if you do not know one another yet, going and shooting can be SO awkward, even on the best of days. Never mind when you do not know one another, and it’s almost like headed on a blind date. I also find that these types of meetings are so important to make sure that you are on the same page. 

For me, I find you never know more of what you do want, until you have experienced what you don’t want. And as I have been on photoshoots before, I was able to conversate about some of the things that I am looking for when it comes to my photos and my business. 

Some of the things that I talk about in meetings like this is, what are my insecurities. For example, let’s be real… I have some cellulite, I obviously do not want that put on blast in my pictures. Or the hyper pigmentation on my chest – this is not a cute look for me, so I will need this edited out of my pictures. 

This will obviously vary from person to person – I mean, some people may only like to be photographed from one side… It may seem like you are being a bit of a diva, but at the end of the day, it is your business, and this is something you are contracting and hiring out a service for you. The more that you can tell them – the higher chance they have in giving you what you want. This also helps you determine whether or not you are going to be a good fit with one another. 

Another thing I think is so important to figure out before, or as you are contacting a photographer… and definitely before you go and shoot with them… Is you aesthetic. I think if you know what your aesthetic is… It really helps you narrow down the types of shots that you are going to be going for and trying to execute. 

For example, some people’s feeds are bright and airy – so that may determine where they go to shoot their pictures. Where as myself, I have a bit of everything. I like my shots either super candid, or super posed in the aspect of it’s creative / staged… But not necessarily pose-y. 

To help show my photographers what it is that I am thinking of for my shots, I love to create a private Pinterest board to show them what it is that I have in mind. Rarely do I want to execute that EXACT picture that I have gained the inspiration from. But being able to show them a picture, can often show them the vibe of what I am trying to get across. 

If you make this board private – I highly recommend inviting your photographers to this board, so they can see ( on their own time ) what it is that you are looking for – and then when you meet up to shoot, they have already got a glimpse inside of your head as per when you are wanting to head with your shoot ! 

For me, once I have spoken to a photographer – and got to know them a little bit. I am kinda able to tell if we are going to be a good fit with one another. These types of consultations also helps facilitate a conversation between the two parties as per what it is that works best for them and their business. 

For example, I know some photographers like to set their rates based off of the outfit – as opposed to an hourly rate. 
Or some other photographers like to set their rates as per how many shots of each outfit photo that they will give. And then I think the norm is, some photographers set what their hourly rate is… And you get whatever it is that you can execute in that time frame. 

Personally, that last option is what works best for me. But I will tell you why I do not go with the other options ! Firstly, I tend to shoot A LOT of outfits in a 2 hour time span. So being charged per outfit, would be absolutely extortionate for me. I love to bring enough outfit combinations that sometimes I just end up changing my over piece and accessories to create a new look. So if you are someone who shoots fast, and shoots a lot of outfit combinations, getting charged per outfit will probably not be the best option for you. 

When some photographers give you a limit of how many shots that they choose per outfit, for example, I see some people say that they will give you 3 shots from each outfit that was worn. That personally does not work for me, because…. I do not like the fact that someone else other than myself is getting to decide on which shot they think is best. I would like to make that call. I also think the cost per picture ends up being so high, and it actually limits what I am getting back out of my shoot. Personally, I think if  a person is able to edit efficiently, they should be able to whack on the same editing settings to majority of the pictures in the shoot and be able to mass edit each look without that much extra time being added to the point of having to limit the shots to 2-3 shots per outfit. 

For me, when I see that a photographer has an hourly rate – I try to create looks that will be very easy to shoot, with as many outfit combinations / accessory changes – so I can get the most out of my hour or two with them. Personally, I shoot very fast – I know exactly what I am looking for, so it really helps keep the shoot moving fast. And because I have planned out my outfits before hand ( and I will typically take pictures of each outfit, have them on my phone and then refer back to them so I have every accessory, and item of clothing on ). Personally once a shoot is hitting that 1.5 hour mark, I am honestly kind of over it, and you can see that expression in my fast drop, and its a lot harder to get the punch in my photo’s – so not just for a financial reason I try to shoot fast, but also for the fact that I know I don’t execute things as well the longer the shoot goes on. 

Last but very not least – what I have learned recently is to implement contracts asap. Remember at the beginning of this post – how I said you never know more of what you do want, until you are shown what you don’t want. Well, implementing a contract can be very hard in the beginning, cause you don’t really know what works for you and what doesn’t. So that being said, putting a contract in place can sometimes be a bit premature, but it is something that you can revisit. But I will share with you a few of the unfortunate moments that I have had when NOT clarifying these things before hand. 

1. There were minor blemishes that I wanted to be edited out of my photo’s – as I can do this myself, I just took it upon myself to edit it. However I then got an email from the photographer asking me not to do so, and they could do it for me. 

Personally – 1. We had no contract in place 2. It is my face we are talking about 3. I have paid you to do this for me, I would like to do whatever I would like to do with these photo’s 4. They were not copy written by you. 

I can understand the etiquette around this, but truthfully this left such a bad taste in my mouth – and ruined the working relationship. That being said, this taught me to have this conversation with someone before I shoot with them 

2. Establish a level of confidentiality. Let’s be real, blogging can be competitive – but I have had to make it a point of talking with my photographers as per sharing my presets ( they are not my own, but it does not need to be broadcasted which presets it is that I use, and as I give my presets to my photographers and have paid for it – I would not appreciate them using it on their other clients ). Branding is a thing – and I have given my presets in confidence to my photographer to use them on my photo’s and not their other clients, unless those clients have provided them with the same preset. 

There is a level of trust here that has to go into things, but in hopes of wanting to keep the working relationship – I would hope a photographer I am working with would adhere to this. And thankfully I have had no such problem yet. 

3. Establish a rate – this has been a tricky one for me, as I know what works for me ( which I have already talked about, that being an hourly rate ). But a situation I recently found hard was – a photographer I had been in contact with was actually charging me way more than others. And in public forums I saw them charging a different rate for everyone. This personally left such a bad taste in my mouth, as I don’t like to barter with these types of services, and It just felt as though as my follower count is a bit higher I was being charged a higher rate. And truthfully, this rate was more than double then other photographers I have been using. I personally just wanted to make sure that I have people on hand as a back up as things tend to get busy, especially if you do not book far in advance. 

4. Have a conversation about which pictures can be released – you know that awkward moment when someone tags you in something on FB and you think you look absolutely wretched, so you either talk to the person about taking it down. Or you just hit that untag button ? 

This is the feeling I personally get when a photographer releases a photo of me that I hate. I know sneak peaks are common to the industry. But personally it is something that does not work for me. 

And on the flipside, if it’s a picture and a setting that you love – and 1. Your competition all follows your photographer – it kinda releases a ‘ the cat is outta the bag’ feeling on some of your most favourite shots. I also find when you post that picture the engagement on that shot does not get as much love from the people that is already following your photog. 

I am very much a collaboration over competition kinda gal – but I do think that this is just the reality of business. I mean, you don’t see Apple, sending Samsung their blueprints of their next release phone. ( hopefully that makes sense ). 

But thankfully, if you have a good relationship with your photographer ( remember how much emphasis I put on getting to know them, and make sure you are on the same page when you go for coffee )- this conversation isn’t an awkward one at all, but one merely of business. Thankfully – I feel like I have this type of relationship with the people I work with. 

Lastly – I think once you have established all of these components, it give you a very well rounded idea of what it is that you are wanting to put in your contract, and what you should put in your contract. So that leaves me with my question to you – do you use a contract when using a photographer ? Do you find the need to use a photographer even ? Do you like shooting by the hour, or by the outfit ? I would love to hear a different perspective on this xx

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