My Marketing Thing

How to hire and brief a photographer

social media photo cartoon

A picture can say a thousand words. Poor snap photography in your promotional material can say even more. And it usually ain't good. So it's worth considering hiring a professional photographer.

How does one go about hiring a photographer?

  1. Look at their portfolio
  2. Find out about their photo-situ approach (in studio, on-site, both? Exterior, interior?)
  3. Find out about their specialty (people, product, building/landscape?)
  4. Find out about their post-production services (Photoshop tweaking of photograph for professional finish?)
  5. Find out their rates and payment terms (hourly? by job? pay upfront, 50%/50%, at end of job?)
  6. If possible, lever feedback from someone who has already used them
  7. Get a quote based on your brief


A brief?

Yes, you need to brief the photographer on what the job actually is. This means getting a clear picture (excuse the pun) on exactly what images you want – even before searching for someone to take them.

First think about who the photos are for:

  • Who is your target market?
    (females/in thirties/low-mid income, boys/16 years old/urban, men/wealthy/aged20-40, etc?)
  • What feeling will be appealing to them?
    (exciting, soft, conservative, etc?)


What images do you want and need?

Often, photographers are hired for the 'portrait' shot. The head and shoulders images to pop onto the website and perhaps on facebook. But it's worth making sure you get all the images you need for your business. So consider your promotional material and what images could be useful for it.

For example:

  • Website
  • Flyers/brochures
  • Social media
  • Business card
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Video presentations
  • Presentation folders
  • Merchandise – e.g. magnets

Think about what each photo says.

An image is a message. So what’s the message? Using the same imagery throughout your print and digital material can be advantageous for branding reinforcement.

  • Portrait shot
    What clothes are you wearing? Why?
    Can you wear corporate colours for branding continuity?
    Is your make-up reflective of what would be appealing to your target market?
    Do you have an isolated (white/plain) background?
    If you do have a background, what is in it and why?
    What different poses can you hold (different furniture) to give yourself variety?

  • Photo for social media
    Tip: Can you have a headshot that combines well with your logo (to fit a small square)?
  • Non-product shots for promo material
    Website could include: slideshow banner, on core pages, product shots.
    – what are your core messages?
    – what is on each website page that could use an image?
  • Product shots
    Someone interacting with the product can give valuable information about size and use.
    Is the background isolated (white) to allow easy application to various formats?
    if you have a background, what background should you have? Why?
  • Interior site shots:
    What time of day looks best?
    Rather than having empty rooms, consider including people to inspire an emotional connection.
  • Customer service shots
    Show you/your staff demonstrating your service to clients/customers.
    Who is going to ‘play’ your client? Do they reflect your target market?
    Again, what is in the background? Why?

Important hint: Crop space

Be mindful of having space around the image to allow:

  • text to appear next to it
    with the background still behind the text
  • cropping to portrait, landscape or square formats
    depending on where the image will appear
    e.g. website banner: crop wide and short


This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who is conscious that photo libraries can only take us so far. Find out more about Megan.


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  1. This was extremely useful … I've never had t hire a photographer … yet … but I did have images of something being sacrificed in the background when I read Rather than having empty rooms, consider including people to inspire an emotional connection.

  2. There are many sites that tells you that they have the best ebooks and aeictlrs about internet marketing and other stuffs. I have gone through a few and would like to suggest you to look into this site which I think is the best so far to learn about web content writing and marketing.

  3. Hi Megan,
    Your cartoon is cool. It capture the whole point of the article. I have no plans to hire a photographer yet. But this post will surely come handy in the near future. Two thumbs up!

  4. I know how it is having bad photographer. When my mum got pictures from my brothers wedding she cried for like 2 months :P
    Anyway thanks for tips on portrait shots, i see now why i always look like rtd on them ^^

    • Megan

      Your poor Mum! Glad you liked the post. Good luck on those future portrait shots :)

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