9 Not-So-Obvious Questions to Ask a Brand Photographer Before Booking

brand session image taken by Sacramento brand photographer; female with long red hair sitting on a teal couch looking at flowers on coffee table in front of her

December 20, 2021

So you’re in search of a brand photographer?

Fantastic!

Let me start by giving you a virtual high-five for choosing to make this investment in your business!

Because it is an investment, you want to make sure you choose a photographer who can get you RESULTS. And by results, I mean so much more than pretty photos.

Of course, the quality of the images is super important. However, choosing a photographer that can provide much more than that will not only prevent you from wasting your money, it will help you make money!

Following are the questions you should ask to help you find the right photographer for you and your brand.

But first…

brand session image taken by Sacramento brand photographer; female with long red hair sitting on a teal couch looking at flowers on coffee table in front of her

Before You Contact a Brand Photographer

Whether you’re reaching out to photographers from a Google search, scrolling through Instagram, or a friend’s recommendation it will be helpful if you first take some time to ask yourself a few questions.

What is my brand identity?

You can have the best brand photographer in the world, but if you haven’t done any work in defining your brand it’s going to be difficult to create images that will serve your business well.

This does NOT mean, however, that you have to have it all figured out. If you’re just starting your business, or are in the process of rebranding there may be elements you are still deciding on. And that’s okay. However, the more you have the following pieces solidified, the more successful your brand session will be.

  • Your why (the reason you do what you do)
  • Your ideal client (who you help)
  • Your superpower (how you help them)
  • Your brand personality (how you want others to view your brand)
  • Your brand colors

If you’d like help with this, check out my Brand Identity Quick-Start Guide. You’ll get additional help with this when you work with me, too. All of my clients start with a questionnaire that gets them thinking about these topics.

Where will I use my brand photos?

Having a general idea of how many photos you need and where you plan to use them will help your prospective photographers suggest which of their packages would be best for you – and if they even have one that will suit you. It’s definitely a question I will ask you if we talk about working together!

I have a few package options available and they’re designed for different needs. For example, if you need images for your website, marketing materials, blog posts and regular social media posting then you’ll likely want to consider my Brand Ignite Session.

What’s my budget for a branding session?

Don’t just pull a number out of the air that feels comfortable. Nor should it be based solely on your perceived value of the service. Run your numbers and know how much you can realistically invest, or can save up for in the near future.

This will help you in narrowing down your prospects and deciding which session package is best for you.

headshot image of female business woman taken by Robin Collette Photography at the Studios on Sutter in Folsom, Ca

It’s Time to Inquire

Now you’re ready to get in touch! Once you’ve found some photographers who’s work you love, I highly recommend you get on the phone and talk to them. This way you can get a sense of their personality and efficiently ask all of your questions.

There are questions I know you’ll ask, like “how much do you charge?” So, the ones I’m suggesting here are the not-so-obvious questions you may not have considered asking.

1- Do you specialize in brand photography?

This may be evident from checking out their website, but if it’s not I would highly recommend you start with this question. Actually, if you don’t get a sense of this from their website it’s probably a red flag to search elsewhere. However, if you have good reason to contact them anyway (like a great referral from a friend), then go ahead, but find this out right away.

There are many portrait photographers who could take beautiful photos of you for your business. But if they aren’t knowledgable about branding and the unique photographic needs of business owners, your end result will likely leave you disappointed.

This doesn’t mean they need to work exclusively in brand photography, but they should have a very different process from their other genres, such as family portraits or weddings.

2 – What is your process? (How does this work?)

This general question should help you learn a lot about what your experience with them will be like – and how well they communicate.

A photographer who has a well planned out client experience should be able to walk you through each step in the process from start to finish. There’s a chance you may get answers to most of your questions with just this one!

3 – How do you ensure the images will showcase my brand?

You want to make sure your photographer has a plan in place that will help bring your brand to life in your photos. This requires getting to know you and your business on a deeper level.

A few of ways I accomplish this are through a detailed questionnaire, planning session, asking questions and researching you and your business online.

4 – How will you help me look my best?

A big part of looking your best on camera is feeling confident! There are a number of things that will help you show up like a boss – and you want to make sure you choose a photographer that will help you in this area.

Some photographers will include a professional hair and make-up artist with their sessions, while others may give you a few referrals to contact on your own. If you think you’ll want this service, it’s best to find out up front how you’ll get it scheduled.

I’d also recommend asking if you’ll receive any styling help with your outfits. Even if you feel comfortable choosing your own wardrobe for the session, you want to make sure your photographer will collaborate with you. This will ensure the clothing you choose will look good on camera as well as fit with your brand and the type of images you’ll be creating together.

Additionally, I would ask how much and what type of posing direction you’ll receive. A bit part of helping you feel confident is through making you feel comfortable in front of the camera. One of the ways I do that by directing you though every pose and giving you lots of feedback. (And I’ve been know to say and do some pretty silly things to elicit a natural smile!)

5 – Will you provide location recommendations? (Who secures them? Are location fees included?)

Even if you have a location in mind for your session, it’s best to collaborate with your photographer on this detail. Ideally, your photographer will have a number of suggested locations and will help you choose them based on your brand identity and session goals.

Some photographers may include rental fees in their packages and will take care of the reservations, while others have different policies. Whether or not you mind securing the location and paying any potential fees yourself is up to you. Finding this out upfront will just avoid any surprises later.

brand image of female health coach sitting on a porch swing; taken by Robin Collette Photography, Sacramento Brand Photographer

6 – How are the final images delivered? (Size/format)?

Where you need to use your photos will dictate the file size and format needed. For example, you may need smaller sized files to use on your website that won’t slow it down and larger, higher resolution images for a marketing poster.

By asking this question you’ll learn whether or not the photographer will provide the file types and sizes you need – and can help you figure it out if you’re unsure.

I give my clients both low and high resolution images, but also chat with them about what they’ll be doing with their images to make sure they have exactly what they need.

7 – Can I use filters or edit my images?

This is a hot topic among photographers and you’ll find some that are open to this and others who have strict policies against it.

First, let me say that it’s best to choose a photographer whose editing style fits with what you’re looking for so your final product is ready to go. Or you can look for someone who is willing to edit differently to match your brand. If you end up feeling you need to use filters or do additional editing then you really weren’t the best fit from the get-go.

That being said, if you think there may be instances you need to make adjustments (say for a book cover, or marketing materials for an event) you want to make sure you have permission to do so.

8 – Are there any limitations on how and how long I can use my images?

Another way to ask this is, what are the usage rights? You want to make sure that your photographer clearly specifies this verbally and in your contract. You don’t want to end up learning later that you can’t use your photos for a need or circumstance you didn’t foresee.

I like to make this as easy as possible for my clients by providing (almost) unlimited commercial usage rights. The main thing I don’t allow is resale of the images. But you’ll be able to use them to help you promote and grow your business for as long as you need.

9 – Do you provide any guidance on how to make the most of my images?

Once you have your images you want to make sure you know how to put them to work for you. Brand photos can be powerful on their own, but to make the most of them requires some strategy.

For example, you want to pair them with effective captions on social media, choose the best images for different locations on your website, and be aware of all of the places you can use them. If this isn’t something you’re educated on already then you may want to choose a photographer who can help you.

Because I want to make sure my clients images serve them well, I offer my Ignite Your Images Power Hour. During this mentoring session I offer help with creating a content strategy, choosing images for your website and how to increase engagement with your images on social media.

As you can see, choosing the right photographer for you and your brand is an important process. And it starts with asking the right questions! These will have you on your way to finding someone perfect for you.

If you’d like to know how I would answer these questions, I’d love to chat with you! Get in touch with me here so we we can start the conversation.

You can also find out some of my answers by visiting my FAQ page and Info page.

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