High quality photographs are a must-have for all professional websites and blogs in the world. That means either the owner of the blog is buying pro photographs from a photo bank or is hiring a pro photographer to curate unique digitals photo albums.
The deeper you go into blogging the more you will face the necessity for professional photographs. In the blogging world professional photography is one of the most important factors to drive traffic to your website. I am sure that you have already seen that some of the top performing blogs are the ones with professional photographs that are eye catching.
Top quality photographs attract the attention of sponsors, followers, readers, other bloggers, companies and even advertisers. Before you toss away the idea of hiring a professional photographer for your blog, take into consideration that ALL blogging visual assets are very important for your growth.
Find the Best Photographer
Look for photographers on Instagram. How? Search with specific hashtags and not names. For example, at the moment I am looking for #bnw_greece in Athens. Scroll down and notice which photos you like more. Write down the names of the accounts that fit your aesthetics and your blog.
Additionally, it is essential to look what other bloggers are doing in your industry. By researching which photographers other fellow bloggers are using for their blogs, it’s easier to understand what kind of frames & style is acceptable. You don’t have to hire the same ones but it’s a good starting point for finding a photographer with an eye for your niche.
For example, a year ago I was looking for a #photographerinGreece and I ended up with this amazing photographer in Greece. She is on of the most talented photographers I have ever met. And I am so grateful for working with Monika Kritikou, founder of www.fiorellophotography.com
After finding 10-15 strong candidates for your project then send them a message and ask them for more details. First of all ask if they deliver photo shoots in your city, if they work outdoors and if they have experience with bloggers. Not all photographers are available for outdoors shoots or working with bloggers.
For those who are positive then before even meeting with them, arrange a skype meeting to check if you can communicate effortlessly and ask for their rates.
When you find your top choices, then have a trial photoshoot where you can have a first hand experience with the photographer. Usually these trials last for an hour and the photos are 5-10 shoots that you can not use without the permission of the photographer. In many cases photographers don’t give the trial shoots. You can see them but you can not use them, unless you pay for them.
If a blogger wants free photographs then it would be better to ask from a friend, boyfriend, sister, brother, fellow blogger to take some pictures. Never ask free photos from a professional because you will receive a cold rejection. Besides that no blogger wants the tag of freeloader among photographers or other vendors.
Photography Services Rates
Photography rates in Greece can vary depending on the project, location and duration. Usually the pricing is on per hour or per project basis. The rates are starting from 60 Euro + VAT/hour and there is a minimum 4 hours charge per appointment for outdoor photo shoots.
For studio photo shoots the pricing is given upon request and is way more expensive as you can imagine. Keep in mind that photography rates are always open to negotiations if you are planning to have a long term collaboration.
It is clever to define the final pricing before the actual photo session and seal the deal with a contract that clarifies all details. Some photographers provide discounts to their clients if customers agree to schedule 2 or more photo projects. Knowing this in advance is critical when hiring a photographer because it helps you to control your budget.
Sign a Contract
When a blogger is hiring a photographer this is a common business transaction with all the usual restrictions and obligations for both parties. Sign a contract and be as clear as possible.
In the contract you should describe the location, the duration, the specific number of photos for each topic, the pricing, if photo editing is included or not, deadlines, date of delivery and any restrictions on where to post or to use.
A contract should highlight all factors of the photography session, such as copyright to all images, how photos should be edited, use of images, and the rate a photographer wants to be paid. Sorting out these details from the beginning will make it smoother to work with the photographer and concentrate into the creative process of your work.
Typically, your photographer will be the copyright holder and will give you a limited license to use their work on your website/social platforms. Never forget that you maybe the client but the photographer’s copyright is protected by law in all countries, for life. That means that no blogger can present a photograph without credits to the photographer, unless is arranged by agreement not to mention.
The use of given images have some legal limitations that should be clarified in the contract. When a blogger works with brands, it is common to provide them the permission to repost images only on their social media accounts. In some cases, brands want to use the images on their marketing materials and websites. The photographer might ask a licensing fee for the extra use of images. Be proactive and work out these details with your photographer.
This is very important because when a blogger is collaborating with brands must hold the right of first publishing the images. Even the photographer can not upload the images on their digital assets if the blogger hasn’t complete the original posting circle. In my experience this takes up 4-6 months before making the images available for the photographer’s digital assets.
For bloggers that already work with established brands, it is common to face these restrictions. Sometimes it is a violation of the contract for a third-party to share images from the campaign without the brand approval.
Experienced blog photographers are familiar with all the publishing restrictions and will never complaint about this. If for some reason they wish to publish a part of the images, they prefer to select another group of the photo session which doesn’t compromise the blogger’s concept, such as backstage moments or preparation etc
About Trial Photoshoots
Trial photoshoots are not for free so be reasonable and never ask from professionals to give away their work without getting paid. If you insist then you are actually signing yourself into the black list of unwanted bloggers. You will end up with a bad reputation and all doors will be closed.
Today, news travel fast among professionals through emails and groups. This kind of blacklists are shared to protect themselves from scammers or difficult bloggers. Respect others if you want them to respect you!
Plan Shoots Ahead
Selecting a photographer for a blog can be quite stressful. Follow these steps and make it a joyful experience! Be as descriptive as possible. Give detailed information for the style you want, the colors, the storyline you want, the final impression you wish to build and where you want to use them(i.e. social media, blog, print etc). When the blogger knows what she/he wants then the photographer will be creative enough to capture the vibes.
Once you have find the best photographer, now you can schedule your photo shoots. The blogger is responsible for the concept, the venue, the production, the design and the outfits. The blogger should brief the photographer for the concept prior the photo session. Share in details what you want from the photographer and discuss what will be the best approach for your blog.
The briefing should be done days before the photo session. This will give both of you the time to organize all the details. It would be perfect to walk through the location and highlight the prefered corners that best suit your blog. Take notes and give a copy to your photographer.
Make clear when you need the photographs. Include all important deadlines in your contract. From my experience it’s better to have them in your hands at least a week before the final deadline, just in case that something needs a final editing.
But, be aware that photo re-editing is an extra service and isn’t included in the original agreement. As an active blogger for more than 20 years I only asked once for photo re-editing due to bad weather conditions.
My experience with Blog Photographers
When I first started this blog, my husband, Patroklos Stellakis, was taking all the photos I needed for my blog. However, with years, the needs changed after the addition of new sections in the blog, so I had to buy more photos from photo banks.
Nowadays, publishing more than 1000 posts per year it means that a strong photo portfolio is needed. My husband is a professional photographer but it wasn’t possible to produce all the photo projects so hiring other photographers was the only option.
I have come to these golden list of tips on how to handle a blog photography session:
- Communication is the number one factor for a great result.
- The magical number of images you are going to need is 20 top pictures from 4 angles for each topic.
- It is most common to need 80% vertical photos and 20% horizontal photos for each topic.
- Send a must-have list to the photographer with all the details prior the photo session.
- In case there is a brand involved with guidelines then the photographer is the first to be notified.
- Tones and filters are always pre-arranged. Show them your previous posts.
- The final use of the images define the nature of the capture, let the photographer know where you are going to use the images.
- Explain what to avoid before the photo shoot.
- Respect the time of your photographer!
- Pack and organize everything before the arrival of the photographer.
- Location-scout should be done prior to the photo session.
- Pick locations that have many and different backdrops.
- Pick locations that have parking and is easy to approach within city limits.
- Prepare meals and carry water or refreshments if you don’t want to spend time eating in a restaurant.
- Photo sessions usually last 4 hours and have some short 10 minute breaks.
- With a careful preparation a 4 hour session can cover 3-4 different topics.
- The photographer is not responsible for your mood and is not your parent. Deal with your personal issues before the photo session.
- The photographer isn’t a magician. So have a good night sleep if you want to look at your best.
- Your outfits, style, makeup, hair and looks is solely your responsibility.
- For lifestyle shoots, set everything before the arrival of the photographer.
- Waiting time or changing time is always counted as working hours for photographers. You should be 100 % ready before they do the first click.
- Never give directions on how to shoot to a professional photographer. The luck of trust will kill the collaboration.
- Never waste the time or the good will of the photographer. Diva behavior or bad manners won’t get you too far.
- Honor your agreement in all levels.
These are my words of wisdom after all these years as a blogger. I hope that my tips can help you find and hire the right photographer for your blog. Invest in the best photography services of an experienced photographer that can understand your blog’s needs and voice. Of course, only if you want to ensure that your blog will stay on the top of your market.