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HIRING A PHOTOGRAPHER 101: COST & PRODUCTION

November 22, 2016
November 22, 2016

This article is part two in a series of exclusive posts for BeautyMatter, by professional photographer Wendy Hope. You can read part one here.

STEP 3: ASSESSING THE COSTS OF A PHOTO SHOOT

Can you realistically afford the costs associated with a photo shoot? Please don’t be afraid to voice questions or concerns to your photographer. It’s all part of the process—and if you are new to this, there will be expected learning curves and problem solving together.

Ask them to break down the costs associated with a shoot and to explain the rates of the creative teams and talent. Don’t be surprised if there are additional expenses incurred as creative direction continues to evolve. “Champagne taste on a beer budget” is a common term amongst the photo community; while to the average person some fees and expenses may seem astronomical, bear in mind that you get what you pay for, and that you will be using these images for advertising, with the intent that you will see the return on your investment above and beyond the initial cost of the photography. While negotiating fees and expenses, please be mindful that this is how the photographer earns a living.

STEP 4: THE PHOTOGRAPHERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES

These extend above and beyond lighting a set and pushing a button. Keeping up with new trends in technology and software as the medium is ever changing. This requires time and money spent for the photographer.

STEP 5: UNDERSTANDING PRE-PRODUCTION AND POST-PRODUCTION

Pre-production is time-consuming. If the budget allows, a producer will be hired to delegate the responsibilities. This is where you want your photographer and/or producer to have good relationships with model agencies. They should have access strong models to reflect your brand and negotiate on your behalf. Booking models, talent, or influencers, the right creative teams, studios, photography teams are valuable assets to the entire production. The right combination of talent and team can make or break a shoot as well as proper retouching (the icing on the cake). Make deliverables and deadlines a part of the initial conversations in pre-production. Good retouching takes time, and this is not the area to rush if you want flawless imagery. If possible, provide a timeline so the photographer can prepare on their end.

Post-production refers to the work done after the shoot—editing, processing and retouching the final images. The retouching process is often directed by the photographer because of their highly trained eye for detail and expertise or in tandem with the client. As previously mentioned is an extremely time intensive process and often requires unbillable hours, but is an integral part of quality control. High production value is why you’re hiring the photographer, and high production value costs money. This is definitely not the place to cut corners.

Here is a sample of high production value imagery and working with the right model, the right creative team and the right retoucher. Retouching is a finely honed skill of it’s own and no beauty image is complete without it. Lighting is best done “in camera” to keep the images realistic and flawless. Lighting shows understanding of highlights and shadows to illustrate depth. Understanding how to photograph hair by weight, length, speed and timing is a science. That’s what gets “the shot” and has everyone on set squeal in excitement: “YAAAAAASSSSSS!”

Part three of this series will focus on negotiation and contracts.

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