8 Essential Questions to Ask an Advertising Photographer


Choosing a photographer for any project can be a daunting task. Unless you are a photographer, chances are you may not know all the questions to ask to ensure that a photographer really knows their stuff – and will be able to execute the work you want and are very likely paying good money for. You’ll also want to make sure that they will behave professionally and in accordance with your expectations as per agreement.

Most of the questions you’ll want to ask will be about work history and reliability, references, and technical ability in terms of portfolio diversity and excellence. Here are eight essential questions to ask an advertising photographer.

  1. Ask About Their History

It is important that you ask any photographer you work with about their work and, if applicable, academic history. While not all photographers attended school for photography – and there is no reason you should not hire them if they don’t have a degree in photography or fine arts – you may want to ask where they attended school and if they have any academic or professional contacts they made during their time there. Ask if they have received any accolades for their work, such as gallery showings, awards, and so forth. Ask them to show you an extended portfolio as well – whether of their best work or a chronology.

  1. Ask About Their Process

Every photographer works a little bit differently, and the way each photographer captures their images is unique. Ask them to discuss the mechanics of photography with you – maybe not all the fine nuances, but the basics – and how they approach different environments. If it matters to you, ask what equipment and software they use to both shoot and process images.

  1. Ask About Their Influences

Artists of every type have primary and ancillary influences on their work, and photographers are no exception. Ask the photographer who their main influences have been, how those influences have impacted the work, and ask for comparisons. They’ll often be happy to show you examples of their influences’ photography, and show you how their work stacks up next to photographers that they admire and seek to emulate.

  1. Ask What is Included

A photographer’s advertised price may only include the act of showing up and shooting- or it may include shooting, travel, and photo processing. To avoid “surprise!” costs, ask the photographer what is included in their price, and if only shooting is included, ask what their additional fees are for processing and travel. You don’t want to hire a photographer that is going to nickel and dime you to death, particularly if you’re on a budget; make sure you know what you’re getting before you make a decision.

  1. Ask About Usage Rights

Generally speaking, any photographer you hire will give you a free pass to use the photos they take however you wish – so long as they are still free to use and modify them for their own personal portfolios and advertising, and you credit them appropriately. If they aren’t willing to allow you to use the photos for whatever purpose you wish – including posting them to social media channels – find another photographer. You’re not paying for photos you practically won’t be able to use.

  1. Ask About Communication Channels

“Be very clear with whomever you hire about how they will be contacting you and how you can reach them,” said Brian Paul Studios, Inc. You should be given, at minimum, their cell number and primary professional email address – and their office number if applicable. In turn, you should give them the same – your cell and home numbers along with your email – to make sure they can reach you easily if they have a problem or a question. Providing clear communication channels will make for an easier professional experience for both parties, and it gives you a medium to communicate with them if they are late or simply don’t show up – though hopefully this will not be a concern!

  1. Ask About CRB and Trade Associations

If your photographer will be working with or around children or special needs adults, ask if they have been checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. If they have not and it is important to you, ask them to complete the check before you’ll agree to hire them. If they refuse, simply don’t hire them – if this is of concern to you. Ask as well if they are a part of any trade associations – most only accept photographers who reach established modicums of technical proficiency and professional conduct. If they belong to a trade association, that’s an excellent recommendation.

  1. Ask For References

Any good photographer will have references for you to check. References allow you to receive feedback from their customer base on how they have performed in the past, along with any problems that may have arisen during the course of their interactions with those customers. If their references are not overall positive with minimal fuss – within reason – decline to hire them.

Asking each of these questions will help you to form a good relationship with the photographer you eventually hire – and inform you ahead of time how you can expect the process to proceed. By carefully vetting the photographer you hire, you will save yourself a lot of stress – and gain a competent professional who will deliver you an excellent final project.


About Author

Kelly is DailyU’s lead blogger. She writes on a variety of topics and does not limit her creativity. Her passion in life is to write informative articles to help people in various life stages.

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