If you have a special event coming up, you are probably wondering how to hire a photographer who can best capture the essence of that day and preserve those memories for years to come.
However, sometimes that’s easier said than done. Freelance photographers are not held to any legal standards that regulate their performance or policies.
Therefore, there are several things you should do before you hire a photographer for your event.
What to look for
Do your research
You should always perform a significant amount of due diligence before you hire a photographer.
Read online reviews, ask for references, check their Facebook page and other social media pages, look at their portfolio and ask if they have any published works you can view online and offline, etc.
What is included in your contract?
When you hire a photographer you should never assume everything you need to achieve the end product is included in the contract price.
There are several aspects of a photography session you might be charged extra for, such as printing, hair, makeup and wardrobe fees, retouching, editing, etc.
What is your emergency policy?
Inquire if your chosen photographer has a backup photographer in case of an emergency.
And, you should also make sure your contract states that if for any reason the photographer cancels your deposit will be fully refunded.
Know what you need
Top three qualifications to look for when hiring a photographer:
How long have you been in business and how many photo shoots (and what types) have you done?
Generally, the longer a photographer has been in business, the better able they are to adapt to sudden issues such as the weather, lighting conditions and how well they handle the stress of such issues.
What professional organizations are you a member of?
Being a member of one or more professional organizations shows proof of the level of commitment a photographer has to their craft and helps them keep their skills current.
Do you carry general liability consumer protection insurance, as well as insurance for yourself and your staff?
You should ask to see a copy of the photographer’s insurance policy as it will cover you should one of your guests or the attending staff get hurt.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
What type of backup equipment do you use?
A professional photographer will usually have backup equipment on hand, whereas an amateur might not.
Who owns the copyright to the images?
You must get a written and signed work-for-hire agreement if you want to retain ownership of the images. Otherwise, they will legally belong to the photographer.
Do you charge a Digital Rights Fee?
If you don’t require physical prints and will be receiving digital files, most photographers charge a Digital Rights Fee. This is a separate issue from the copyright.
Therefore, you will still need a work-for-hire agreement for digital works if you want to retain the ownership of your digital images.
Do you charge a consultation fee?
Most photographers charge a consultation fee for anything outside of their normal consultation.
Therefore, you will need to have the photographer define what’s considered outside a normal consultation and what their fee is should that need arise.
What is your delivery time?
You need to ask how long it will take to receive your images. You should also find out how many images you’ll be receiving, album types, the format for delivering your proofs, and what’s included with your chosen package.
Additionally, you should also find out how much time you will have to order after reviewing the proofs.