10 Tips - Choosing a Freelance Photographer
Why use a freelance marketing professional?
All agencies and businesses have limited budgets and fixed time scales. Its important to not only find freelancers who can deliver excellent content, but to nurture those relationships. I speak to many companies that think the cost of good PR and marketing is beyond them. Only a couple of days copywriting a month and a few photos could transform thier website and social media. There is no need to take on more staff, just spend a little money a month for regular high quality content. Choosing a Freelance Photographer can take a while but once you have developed a good relationship with your freelancers (or agency) then they can almost work autonomously. If they understand your business and sector then they will become a valuable resource.
I have put together some quick tips to help you Choosing a Freelance Photographer for your business or agency. Please feel free to comment. Us freelancers love feedback!
1) Use Your Contacts
A referral is a very useful thing to have. Someone else has already gone through the vetting process so you don’t have to. They already have a working relationship with that freelancer or agency. We all know that recommendations are so important for business. That is why as a freelancer you go out of your way to be super helpful all the time to everyone you meet on a job. Someone may become your next client.
2) Be Specific with Your Google Search
If you are looking for a PR a photographer in Sheffield, then search for ‘PR photographer in Sheffield’. Searching for ‘photographer’ brings up everything from wedding to amateur photographers. Any good freelancer will set up their website to target specific searches. Specific search terms would include PR, commercial, industrial, architectural, fashion, product, events and then the location. Location may include the actual place but if it rural look for nearby cities and search there. Choosing a Freelance Photographer in that city is ideal or if the jobs are scattered choose someone central.
3) Pick up the Phone
Some websites will not picture the person who you are hiring. Do they look professional? If you are an agency or business who hires a freelancer, then they represent you. Talking to that freelancer photographer will reassure you they can speak clearly, politely, seem alert and approachable.
4) Ask for Samples
Any freelance photographer should be able to provide samples of their work that are relevent to your project. You may have to give them some information first. I am not saying send them the whole brief but a little outline would be good. All your looking for is a small selection of images from a similar type of gig. I tend to give people a selection of images and sometimes I will show a whole jobs images. This gives people an idea of the variation of images I typically capture as well as the amount of shots. Some clients have very stringent style requirements which may well be worth highlighting here. Typically, I throw up one or two online galleries and just send out the links.
5) Be Straight about the Budget
If you are working to an extremely small budget then its important to be straight from the start. Any freelancer who has had a slow period will be more flexible with the pricing but there is a limit. I long ago decided to set minimum pricing for my business and have stuck to it.
6) Talk About the Work
When sending email enquiries to potential freelancers tell them about the work. Shooting a billboard may have a very different approach to a phone app. Do you also require video content? What do you need from the photographer and when do you need it? Again, we are not talking about a whole brief but an outline.
7) Talk about the Time
For us freelance photographers time is important. If you know how long the shoot will take tell the photographer. If you are unsure then ask. I wouldn’t specify to a plumber the time it took to fix a leak or a boiler. Talk to the freelance photographer about what you need from the job. You may be surprised as I find clients overestimate the time needed on a shoot as much as they under-estimate it. It also means you can plan further photgraphy briefs more accuratly.
8) Get it Sorted Early but Send 24hour reminder
We all know that things left to the last minute can go a bit sideways as well as causing stress. Choosing a Freelance Photographer or videographer is no different. Giving yourself time to find the right person means you are going to get good work. When you have booked your photographer in advance for the shoot send them a reminder the day before. It’s just to double check they have everything they need and jog the memory. I often prepare for a big job the night before so a bit of a reminder is always good.
9) Try and Be There
Choosing a Freelance Photographer can be stressful. If you have commissioned a new photographer for an important client then try and be present. That way you can be confident in using them again if you like how they work. You can also help steer the shoot the way you want it sone. In addition, all freelancers value face-to-face time with their clients.
10) Back to Budget
Sadly, we are back to the money. Just think about what you pay for your services in your life. My plumbers call out fee is £80 per hour. The garage charges £80 per hour for labour on my car. A one-hour PR job may take a freelance photographer an hour to shoot, two hours of travel, an hour to edit and invoice for and an hour of planning and emails. So, if a freelancer charges £165, that it works out as £33 per hour. Like any business freelancers run cars, spend thousands a year on equipment and have insurance and taxes. I know times are hard for everyone at the moment but I’m just saying value what ‘adds value’ to your business or client. Value your freelancers and they will go above and beyond for you.
Thanks for reading this long post. You will appreciate I am a photographer and not a copywriter so thanks for your patience. I’d love any feedback you have by leaving a comment below.