Copyright Karl Shreeves 2012
Okay, you've decided to hire a photographer for . . . well, for whatever. How do you make sure you'll get photos you love? It's actually easy if you do one thing: Be absolutely, positively sure that it is fun and rewarding for the photographer.
Sure, I'm a photographer so you'd expect me to say that, but it really is in your best interest as the client. Creativity thrives on enthusiasm and a positive energy or flow. A fun, rewarding experience nutures photographic creativity (and vice-versa), which means you get more photos you like. Fair enough, but if you don't know anything about professional shooting, how do you make sure it's fun and rewarding? Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to that end:
DO give the photographer control. Let the photographer decide what lighting to bring, or not. After all, if you know how to do it, why did you hire a photographer? The more control you give the photographer, the better you will like the shots.
DON'T restrict the photographer, but DO express real limitations. That is, don't say "You can't bring a tripod," but assuming it's true, do say, "We'll be in a very small room full of furniture and people, so there won't be a lot of space." The photographer will ask you more questions about it as appropriate.
DO let the photographer choose where to shoot, and to the degree possible, who to shoot. DON'T tell the photographer how to do the job because the photographer may do what you say, resulting in you getting what you asked for, which you will hate. DO express real concerns, like "Please don't let that sign in background show -- it's an ad for our company's strongest competitor!"
DO offer suggestions that the photographer can build upon, and DO let the photographer know what you want, such as "I'm looking for a romantic shot of my son-in-law and daughter having a quiet moment," or "We really want shots of the bride and groom's first dance." DON'T criticize individual shots. It's the digital age, and many shots are steps toward THE shot. With a professional, these images won't survive the first pass through the edit software. DO, however, speak up when you see something you love, so they don't get deleted.
DO give the photographer as much time and flexibility as you can in posing, locations and light choices. DO invite your photographer to bring one or more assistants. DO tell the photographer your time limitations, but DON'T tell the photographer how to use the time available.
DON'T tell the photographer not to pose people or bring in lighting, unless its an event that makes it completely inappropriate to do so (like an inauguration or something).
DO hire the right photographer. If you want wedding shots, look for a photographer's whose portfolio has lots of wedding shots you like. If it is a journalistic event, hire a photojournalist. If it's lifestyle/fashion, hire someone who shoots lifestyle/fashion. DON'T hire a photographer to shoot something that photographer clearly doesn't enjoy shooting or shoot well. How can you tell? If a type of photography is conspicuously absent from a portfolio, or it's there but you don't like the shots, don't hire that photographer for that type of photography.
If you read my cover bio, you know that I don't shoot weddings. Generally, I don't like shooting them (there are exceptions, during which I require multiple days, a lot of control and I'm expensive), but I will for close friends and family. And yes, I do a good job, even though it's not my favorite type of shooting.