About Commercial and Product Photographer Lincoln
Unless you are or have been actively involved in the design, advertising or marketing industry, the likelihood of you having needed the services of a commercial photographer before are fairly slim. In fact the first and last time many people have contact with a professional photographer is when they get married.
Unfamiliarity often breeds fear and many people wrongly feel inadequately equipped to make decisions based around creative issues. The simple fact of the matter is that pretty much anyone in this modern day and age can tell good from bad imagery. You don't need to be an art critic or high flying advertising executive to make good informed decisions on what makes a great or bad photograph. We are all, in the western world at least, bombarded with imagery everywhere we go twenty-four hours of everyday. I believe that this constant exposure and saturation of visual stimuli has given all of us an innate, almost unconscious understanding of both basic aesthetics and technical quality. You just need to have the confidence to use this understanding. The chances are that by simply recognising that your business deserves the services of a professional photographer, as opposed to amateur snap shots, already suggests to me that you are expressing this understanding.
If you are the owner of a large national or multi-national company, you will either have your own in-house marketing/design department or outsource your creative work to a specialist advertising or design agency. Either way the responsibility of commissioning photography will be some one else's problem. However, if you are the owner of a small to medium sized business, you may simply not have the budget to have such luxuries and so have to make such creative decisions by yourself.
Commercial photographers are expensive and if you are expecting to find a great one to shoot your entire product range for a few pounds/dollars, think again. Top end advertising photographers may charge many thousands per day just for their shoot fee, but do you really need that big name photographer? Chances are that you simply require a handful of good quality shots and not ones that exhibit the height of avant-garde photography styling. Be realistic about what you need the photographer for and then set your budget accordingly. If you don't know how to work out a budget then contact a few local commercial photographers and ask them for a quote. Most will be more than happy to do this and it in no way obliges you to use their services.
What kind of photographer you need depends entirely on the kind of photography you require. Sounds obvious but don't book a wedding photographer to shoot a product shot, unless of course they can demonstrate that they are fully competent to do so. Try to stick with photographers who are used to working with in a commercial environment and if you need product photography hire a photographer who shoots a lot of studio based still life e.t.c. Many photographers will happily shoot a selection of photographic genres but most will admit to having his or her own specialism that they feel most comfortable with.
The artistic style a photographer shoots in may or may not be relevant to your job. If you just need some generic pack shots for instance, then a photographers style need not be of huge concern. If on the other hand you need some interior or exterior photographs then photographic style will play a bigger role in your decision. Be it traditional or more edgy and contemporary, try to choose a style that best reflects your brand image. Be consistent yet at the same time brave, as you do want your company to stand out from the crowd; but only for all the right reasons.
The photography portfolio has always been the best representation of any photographer, both showing their individual style and their technical abilities in one big hit. In fact I believe that you should be able to tell just about everything you need to know about a photographer just by studying a few examples of their recent work. I say 'recent' because this is the key here, not what they shot fifteen years ago as a student but what they are shooting now. Other than looking at their overall style and genre, look closely for technical quality. Are the basics like composition and exposure pleasing to the eye? Do the photographs exhibit a wide tonal range without bleaching out important highlight detail or losing shadows in a dark muddy mess? Look at colours, are skin tones natural and flattering, are interior shots neutral or bathed in unpleasant colour castes? Quite simply, do the subjects in each of the photographs look amazing? If the answer is predominately 'yes' and others around you agree, then trust your gut feeling.
The final issue that might make or break your decision whether or not to book a certain photographer is them. You don't have to become best friends and strike up a life long relationship but it's always good to actually get on with any professional colleague. The only way you can judge this is to at the very least speak with them on the phone, although I would always encourage physically meeting a photographer if you are about to potentially invest a significant amount of time and or money in them.
Of course there are many other considerations you may need to think about when choosing a photographer to shoot your commercial brief. However I do believe that if you adhere to the basics, then at least you can be confident that you are making an informed decision rather than a rushed one, and you stand a good chance of enjoying a successful encounter.
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