"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression."
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
― Henri Cartier-Bresson
If you are working for a PR agency, advertising firm, communications company, or are a part of the marketing and publicity department of a company, it is crucial that you need to know how to hire a photographer for your events. As people working for these profiles have to often arrange events like new product launches, conferences, new announcements, mergers and acquisitions, press conferences, celebrity parties, award functions, etc., they are in a dire need to hire a good event photographer. Apart from looking for photography charges and quality, there are a few more things to look for. For example, always remember that you should hire a photographer well in advance, or you will not be able to get the best one. If the venue is too big, the photographer will also have to get his assistants which will hike the cost. Here are a few more tips for hiring the right photographer for your event.
Get RecommendationsThe best way to find a good event photographer is to contact your friends, colleagues, or family members who had hired one for a similar event. Doing this will give you a firsthand account of the work and professionalism of the photographer. It is always better to get recommendations from people you know instead of believing what the photographer's website mentions. If a photographer got drunk at an event and forgot to click photographs in the second half, or failed to keep his commitment, your colleagues or friends will warn you about the same. However, if they had a good experience with an event photographer, it is a good idea to hire him.
Go to Online DirectoriesOne of the easiest ways to get hold of a good photographer is to visit online websites. However, you will have to type in the right keywords to get the best of the lot. Search with the name of your city and state for getting the names of event photographers who are nearer to your area. Also, you can utilize websites like Gig Salad and GigMasters for getting the names of good event photographers.
Read ReviewsOne of the best ways to find if the photographers you have shortlisted are really good at their work is to run a Google search for them. You may come across people discussing their work on many forums. This will help understand more about them. You can also visit their social media pages and study their interaction with other people to know more about them. If you want to get a genuine review about them, check if they are registered on the BBB website. If they are BBB-certified, you will also be able to see their BBB rating and complaints against them. This can really avert you from making a wrong decision.
See Their WorkA photographer who does not host his own website should not be trusted when it comes to work. Almost all good photographers have their websites where they display their work. They also use websites like Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, etc., to promote their work. Look at their previous work, and know about their style. This will help ensure that you have the right person for the job.
Scout AroundIf you have a little time on hand, it is best to meet at least 2 - 3 event photographers personally before you zero in on one. Who knows, may be this way you will end up getting an excellent photographer at affordable charges. Also, this will enable you to understand the range and scope of his work in a better way.
Conduct an InterviewWhen you call a photographer for a face-to-face consultation, interview him. Ask them if he holds a business license and the necessary insurance. Question him/her about the experience in covering events similar to yours. Ask if he carries backup equipment. This will come in handy if the original one conks off, and trust me, when you are at an event, anything can happen. Ask if he will visit the venue a day prior. The point here is to ensure that you shortlist a photographer who will best suit your needs.
ContractYou will have to make a contract with the event photographer and decide the terms and conditions. Apart from the payment clause, it should also delve upon the cancellation of the contract, failure to attend the event, print and reprint costs, refund policies, etc. It may also speak about image editing costs and date of delivery.
Ensure the SuitabilityIf you get a wedding photography expert for the inauguration of a new manufacturing facility, you are definitely going to lose your job. Every photographer has his own expertise, ranging from wedding photos, children, objects, portfolio, industry, parties, etc. He is the best authority when it comes to his style of photography. Hence, it is best to avoid such disastrous experiments of employing the wrong kind of expert for a certain job. Ensure that you hire a photographer who is suitable for the kind of event you are looking to host.
Photo TransferJust imagine, you are hosting a corporate merger event and need the hard and soft copies of the photos urgently to disseminate to the press immediately. The last thing you would want is to hire a photographer who will inform you at that very crucial moment that he cannot transfer the photos immediately or fails to produce hard copies. Get a photographer who will be able to help you out even when you are at an event located in the remotest part of the world. He should carry a portable printer with him for such emergencies. Otherwise, he will have to hand over the high-resolution photos to you on a DVD, flash disk, email, or through a password-secured FTP site. A good photographer will not leave the event venue before handing over the photos to you.
No Published RatesIn most cases, the photographers may have published their rate cards on their website. However, remember that a highly professional and seasoned photographer may not publish his rates online. He may not want his competitors to find out about his rates. Also, a good photographer will give you a quote after understanding the scope of work. Hence, don't hastily hire a photographer who has put up his rate card, as it may not necessarily guarantee good work.
Look at the PrintsIn all probability, if you visit the website of an event photographer, you will see samples of his work. However, this will still not tell you how the prints of these photos will look. A good photograph when not printed on a good printer can lose all its beauty. Also, a photo meant to be black and white when not printed on a special black and white printer comes with a greenish shade. It is important that you get value for the money you have paid. Hence, it is necessary that when the photographer comes to meet you, ask him to carry prints of his work to understand about their colors and quality.
EquipmentIt is important that your photographer has a high quality equipment with good lenses and sturdy camera bodies. When you inquire with him what type of equipment he has, in most cases, you will hear a long list of technical jargon. However, remember that what kind of equipment the photographer has is of little consequence to you. What should really matter is how well the photographer is at capturing the right frames. Hence, don't give too much importance to this, and if you feel the previous work of the photographer is good enough, go ahead and hire him.
ChargesRemember that the rates of an event photographer will depend on his experience, expertise, popularity, location, time, etc. Depending on all these factors, your event photographer will charge you anywhere between $100 to $200 per hour. Also, charges for states like LA or New York may be even higher. You will have to guarantee them payment for few minimum hours of work. If your event is canceled towards the scheduled date, you will have to provide certain money as mentioned in the contract. Also, he may ask you for a certain booking amount or advance for blocking his date, so you will have to oblige with the same. However, it is advisable to get a photographer who will not demand 75% or more in advance. Price should not be a determining factor for choosing a good event photographer; what should matter is his quality of photography.
Other SkillsOther than experience and style, there are many other things which you should look for in your event photographer. For example, he should have an attention to detail and insight. He should have a good knowledge about frames and angles, and be able to capture the right moment. He should be flexible in his approach and should follow the schedule properly. He should have a sound knowledge about dealing with various types of events and photographic situations. In case of a merger photo opportunity, he should capture the photo in time when both the chairmen are shaking hands. Also, he should be smart enough as he will be interacting with the senior management or A-list celebrities.
Ask the photographer for the references of people he has worked with earlier. Promptly call them up and get to know them better. Hiring the wrong photographer for an event will not only have an adverse effect on the photos, but also on your career. In most cases, you will not receive a refund for a bad job. Hence, it is essential that you get hold of the right person. What is more important than anything else is to find a photographer who delivers what he promises.