What to know before you hire a professional photographer.
Investing in a photo shoot with a professional photographer can sharpen that all-important first impression when potential clients are checking out your business online, as well as providing professional-quality images for your marketing materials.
If you’re considering hiring a pro, get the most for your time and money with these tips:
- Define clear objectives. Have a meeting or phone conversation with prospective photographers about your goals and expectations for the shoot, and what images you want to walk away with. Ask their rate for a half-day (four-hour) shoot that would result in about 20 final images, suggests Doug Scaletta, an Orlando-based photographer.
- Set a budget. Depending on your location, the price could range from $800 to $1,500 or more. For that, your photographer would likely be able to set up four to five shooting scenarios in key areas of your practice and deliver two to three final photos per scenario, says Scaletta. You may also be able to include shots of your team for your website’s “About Us” page.
- Understand usage rights. Find out what rights are included in the price and ask about possible additional usage, says Glen Luensman, creative director of PSIvet’s magazine The Team. For example, if the images are primarily for your website, ask if you could also use them in print marketing materials. You can also ask the photographer’s price for “buyout,” which means full access to all rights.
- Set the stage. Reach out to your clientele and arrange for two or three clients with well-trained pets to be part of your photo shoot. “People love to do it because their pet is being highlighted,” says Scaletta. Plan the schedule so each client will be there less than an hour. “You don’t want to have people sitting around,” he says. Ask them to dress as if they were going to a casual weekend dinner and to avoid big patterns, solid whites and anything with logos. “Darker solid colors are ideal,” he says.
- Get release forms. Have everyone in the shots sign a photo release form, which your photographer can provide. That includes pets. “Think of the pet as a minor,” says Scaletta. Mention this release to clients on the phone ahead of time, explaining that you’ll need their permission to use the images and that they won’t get to approve the shots or say they don’t like them. “You don’t want them coming down and wasting a trip,” he says.
- Allow time for lighting. “In most working veterinary clinics, the light is all from above, which creates unattractive pockets under your eyes, and the color of the fluorescent lights, which tend to be the dominant source, can be sickly and greenish,” says Scaletta. “I usually end up adding my own light to the room so the shots come out looking healthy, bright, colorful and optimistic.”
Find a Photographer
Try searching online for “commercial photographer” or “editorial photographer.” Avoid photographers with only portrait studio experience, since they might not have the skills or equipment to properly light a clinic environment.