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We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.

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Five Questions to Ask a Brand Photographer

Finding the right photographer for your brand can be a tricky mission! Not only do you worry about budgets and finances, but you also have to find the photographer who understands brand photography. We’ve been there and we get you! Brand photography requires a completely different approach and skill set than traditional lifestyle photography, so we’ve put together our suggestions on Five Questions to Ask a Brand Photographer to make sure you find the solution that is right for you!

1. Do you have experience photographing brands or products?

Ok, we realize this might sound like a given, right? But it is important to understand your photographer’s experience in this area because it is so different from lifestyle photography. There are definitely elements of lifestyle photography included in good brand photography, but the end goals are completely different. Lifestyle photos are created to hang on a wall and enjoy memories for years to come. Brand photos are created to tell a story and communicate a brand’s message with the goal of attracting future clients to their brand. This requires intentional planning and a specific focus for the session, so having prior experience is a good indicator you’ll be working with someone who can serve you well!

2. How will you prepare for my brand session?

As we hinted at in the first question, brand photography takes intentional planning to be successful. It’s not a ‘show up and shoot’ type of photo session. Having your photographer detail their process of planning and preparation will help you better understand what they need from you leading up to the session and how they will come prepared to capture your vision. Some create Pinterest boards for inspiration while others (like us) use questionnaires to understand your vision and plan and style out the entire shoot for you! Regardless of how they prepare, make sure your photographer is taking time to understand your brand, the message you want to communicate, and the logistics of how that will all come together for a successful photo shoot!

3. Do you shoot natural light or in the studio?

Understanding the lighting conditions your photographer works best in is crucial to achieving your dream brand photos. Depending on the product or service you market, brand photos incorporating a lifestyle element might be more difficult to achieve in a studio while product photos would be more difficult to achieve outdoors in natural light. Some photographers specialize in one area over the other, some are proficient in both. Ask your photographer about lighting to make sure the photos you receive match your vision for the photos and not just what they prefer shooting in. If you prefer natural light, but the photographer insists on shooting in a studio, they probably aren’t a great fit and vice versa.

4. How will I receive my images?

Now that you know your photographer is a perfect match for your brand and imagery preferences, it’s critical to understand how you’ll receive your images. This can vary widely based on how your photographer chooses to run their business. There is no right or wrong way, but you need to make sure it matches the expectations you have for your images. For example, some photographers deliver only a set number of images that you select from a proofing gallery. Meanwhile, others deliver all of the images to you.

5. What image rights do I receive?

This is a question that might seem foreign if you’ve not worked in the commercial photography world before. Whereas lifestyle portraits don’t typically include detailed specifics of image rights, commercial brand photos do because they are being used to market a brand with the goal of turning a profit. In a sense, the images are what represent your product or service and in turn help you sell, so there is a more detailed agreement regarding image rights (what you can do) with the photographer’s images.

Make sure you know your goal for the images going into the session. If you are using them on your website and social media, you only need digital image rights. If you are looking to plaster the images across billboards for a national campaign, you’ll need to purchase those rights from the photographer in order to use their work.

Experience brand photographers will understand these nuances and be able to provide pricing to you based on the size and scope of your marketing campaign.

Asking these targeted questions will help ensure you find the perfect match for your business. They help outline key areas that will be important for you and the photographer to understand and help to make sure expectations are set and agreed to before the shutter clicks!

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