For many of the clients I work with, it may be the first time they have had to do the leg work of finding and hiring a corporate portrait Photographer. Being new to the process, they may not be ready for the multitude of questions I ask that help me understand what the assignment entails and how to exceed the expectations of my clients. Whether the project includes corporate headshots or environmental portraits, there are a few questions I consistently ask and if you’re looking to hire a commercial Photographer, you’ll want to have the answers to these questions ready.
1.) How Will The Photographs Be Used?
There is a huge difference in pricing between using images on a website and in internal communications as opposed to using those same images on a multi-state, billboard advertising campaign. An environmental portrait that is done for a cover story of a magazine is also going to be priced differently than the same portrait photographed to decorate the walls of IKEA. Although it’s the same photograph, the image itself carries different value for different uses.
2.) What Is The Schedule?
It’s critical for the Photographer to know the timeline of each project. This includes when the estimate is needed by, the days that you’re looking to schedule the shoot itself and when the final images are due. This gives us an idea of how much time we have to plan for the shoot, line-up our crew and process the final images so they are in your hands even before the deadline in case any modifications are needed.
3.) Corporate Headshots Or Environmental Portraits?
Of course you can do both options and it’s actually a good idea to do so if the time and budget allows. I have seen clients use the corporate headshots for their company LinkedIn profiles and use the environmental portraits on their websites for variety.
However, if it needs to be only one of the options, you’ll need to know:
- How many people will need portraits
- The time that you have to accomplish all of this in
- How many final images of each person you would like to be retouched
- If you are doing corporate headshots, what backdrop color would you like to use
- Keep in mind, for this set-up, it’s best to have access to an empty conference room that has plenty of space for the seamless paper and lighting set-up.
- If the plan is to go with environmental portraits, will they be done in one location or several locations within the same office
4.) What Look Are You Going For?
In some cases, even with corporate headshots, I have clients who want to go with a very casual feel. So, the subject is still photographed against a backdrop, however the cropping may not be the typical 3/4, there is more room for a greater variety of expressions, the images may be converted to black and white and the subject may be looking off camera. There are so many options so make sure you have in mind the feel that needs to be conveyed and the branding that must be matched.
5.) What Is The Budget Range?
For each proposal that I work on, there are three factors I take into consideration. The complexity of the assignment, the time it will take to complete the job from pre-production through image delivery and finally my clients’ price range.
In many cases, when I ask about this the answer has been that they are in the process of collecting bids which is totally understandable. However, I always try to narrow this down to gain a better understanding of what the client has the budget for and then inform about what is possible within that range. This transparency ensures that the expectations are not only met but exceeded.
Granted, not every Photographer you speak with may go into details such as this to quote a corporate portrait session however the more details and information we have before we even walk in the door, the more value we can provide.