As a photographer who has been plying his trade full-time in Calgary for over 15 years, it has often crossed my mind that I may be in a unique position to provide relevant and perhaps not readily obvious information to those often finding themselves tasked with seeking a photographer for a photography shoot, be it for corporate head-shots, an industrial on-site shoot, architectural or any of the other plethora of photography needs.

One typically starts with a Google search or someone's recommendations, followed by a decision based largely on cost. But don't overlook the following often more relevant information:

 

A referral or a flashy web site is too often the singular measure used in seeking the right photographer for the job, when there are many very relevant questions to be answered that will point you in the right direction to the photographer who will best satisfy your requirements.

The David Watt Photography Blog

I came across this item in Kevin Dooley's Flickr blog posting and it very much resonated with me, and have decided to share it here. This is something that I have been tossing about in my mind for the past few years and am going to follow up this blog posting with others along the same subject. Constructive feedback will be most welcome!
I recently was hired for the challenging and exciting task of flying to several major centres across Canada to photograph executive environmental portraits and employee headshots for a major Canadian engineering firm. For obvious budget considerations the logistics were challenging as on-site scheduling was very tight, I had to work without an assistant and of course, photography gear had to be kept to an absolute minimum. These are a small sampling of the environmental executive portraits I captured. Typically, I only had a only a day or two at each location to capture anywhere up to 18 or so environmental portraits using a single Profoto Octagonal softbox. I met the challenge and had a very satisfied client!
This was one of the more satisfying architectural shoots I had the pleasure of completing for my client, Morguard.
I was pleased to learn that one of my images from the DMD Ltd Toronto design firm photo shoot of the Swissport Aspire Lounge at the Calgary International airport was published in the January/February 2019 issue of Canadian Interiors.
This was a challenging area to shoot in, not only for the monochrome look to the room, but avoiding the powder coating spray.

11/29/2016

While meeting with a new client the other day, she related that she almost steered away from my photography services upon first landing on my web site. She had perused my portfolios, checked out my client list and after her initial favorable reaction her inclination was to move on, ‘as probably too expensive for our present budget constraints.’
As a photographer who has been plying his trade full-time in Calgary for over 15 years, it has often crossed my mind that I may be in a unique position to provide relevant and perhaps not readily obvious information to those often finding themselves tasked with seeking a photographer for a photography shoot, be it for corporate head-shots, an industrial on-site shoot, architectural or any of the other plethora of photography needs.
I was recently wading through hundreds of my archived images when I came across an image of a Brocken Spectre surrounded by rings of glory, (my climbing partner with arms extended) taken from the summit ridge of Mt. Slesse many, many years ago. It reminded me of another amazing Brocken Spectre that I had observed a few years ago while my BA flight was descending into Berlin. Our 737 was casting its shadow against the mist which had formed into a magnificent Brocken Spectre surrounded by a circular rainbow. Who saw it?
This was a cool photography session at the Alberta Children's Hospital, where I was introduced to #Medi, a robot using humanoid technology created by the #RxRobots group to help alleviate a sick child's pain, assist in the child's education in managing their health and act as a companion for the child. Very cool, indeed!
As New York ad agencies endeavor to portray a perception of excellence on their web sites, surely they would display outstanding images of their people alongside visually stimulating content relating to their work and company culture?
HDR tone mapping has become increasingly popular amongst photographers as a post-processing technique, where several exposures at different shutter speeds are combined to produce an HDR image, followed by a tone mapping operation.
The longer I am in this business the more it gets driven home how vitally important preparation and planning with absolute client commitment is to the successful outcome of a photo session.

So...You Want To Hire A Photographer?

2/11/2016

As a photographer who has been plying his trade full-time in Calgary for over 15 years, it has often crossed my mind that I may be in a unique position to provide relevant and perhaps not readily obvious information to those often finding themselves tasked with seeking a photographer for a photography shoot, be it for corporate head-shots, an industrial on-site shoot, architectural or any of the other plethora of photography needs.

One typically starts with a Google search or someone's recommendations, followed by a decision based largely on cost. But don't overlook the following often more relevant information:

  • A photographer's online portfolio can give you a very good idea of the quality of his/her work. However the photographer has probably spent a great deal of time post-processing ("Photoshopping") those images to make them perfect.  If you're expecting the same level of quality in your shoot, make sure the quoted price includes post-processing.
  • Experience brings consistency to a photographer’s work and a seasoned photographer’s portfolio will not display only the very best heavily Photoshopped images from a few years of shooting, rather what you see is what you should get.
  • “A photographer who specializes in a single genre such as fashion will always be the best.” Not necessarily. A market such as Calgary that does not have the scope as say New York, may require a photographer to excel in several areas and produce work that will stand up against the best specialist. Bear in mind, however, that a portfolio that is weak in any particular genre will likely have the photographer provide you with the same, if hired for that style of photography.
  • Is the photographer a full-time shooter and fully committed to her business? The importance of this item should be self-evident.
  • Peruse the photographer’s client list (if they have one) for this can be highly indicative of a photographer’s experience and the level of clientèle the photographer has been able to attract. Be wary of the ‘client list’ that seems to highlight only a few well-known companies as the photographer may have acquired a few contracts simply through friendly connections.
  • Will the photographer have an assistant(s) for the photo session? Most photographers will be far more proficient when working with an assistant and if you will be paying by the hour you may be particularly interested in this information.
  • Photographers typically require a large amount of equipment for needs can be very diverse depending on the shoot. If a photographer is renting equipment, that can bring a degree of unfamiliarity and unreliability to the session. Consider what the photographer may be using for more specialized work such as architectural where perspective correction lenses are quite essential, at the very least to have on hand.
  • Industrial photo shoots almost always require the photographer and assistant to be outfitted in safety gear and have varying levels of safety certifications. Check for these and inquire if the photographer will be able to supply his own gear, in particular steel-toed shoes, fire retardant coveralls and hard hat.
  • Does the photographer’s fee include exclusive and indefinite image use? You very likely will not require copyright (that can be expensive) but find out if you will be paying extra for images and image post-production.
  • Approximately how many images will you receive? Photographers can often find this to be a dilemma in persuading the client of the importance of quality over quantity. Great images take time. The seasoned photographer will understand the importance of collaboration and client commitment in a session’s successful outcome. Planning and preparation alongside extensive communication will be an experienced, solid photographer’s mantra from the get-go.
  • What will be the photographer’s turnaround time for the images? And will you receive both high resolution and web-ready images?
  • Is the photographer insured? Liability…..!
  • Some photographers work with an agent which is a good indication that they are the best at what they do. Working with an agent can also make the best match in terms of the best photographer for your requirements. Agents can also provide detailed and timely information for clients while photographers are out on shoots.

 

A referral or a flashy web site is too often the singular measure used in seeking the right photographer for the job, when there are many very relevant questions to be answered that will point you in the right direction to the photographer who will best satisfy your requirements.

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