Your Biggest Mistakes When Hiring a Photographer

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“One of the biggest mistakes I have made over the years is not paying enough attention to the documentation of my work which infringed on my ability to build a solid portfolio (online and off) to share with my clients and colleagues.” –Christina Ignacio-Deines

Dear Readers:

I have always liked to share the mistakes I have made throughout my career because I not only believe that we all make them, but that they play an essential role in the development of our craft and on the path to our success. I am a strong believer that if you make enough mistakes, you will eventually become an expert. I am living proof of that (still working on the expert part though).

This is why I asked all of you to share your own as a part of my Preston Bailey & Friends series. I want to thank you all for your incredible responses to the blog and posts. I promise you, choosing the invitees was one of the hardest things I have done; I wish I could have invited all of you. You’ll notice I chose an additional seven just because it was impossible to stick to 25. I loved that all of you were so willing to be open and vulnerable and share your mistakes and the lessons you have learned. In fact, I found some of your posts so intriguing that I would like to share them with you over the course of my next few blogs.

Christina Ignacio-Deines wrote:

“One of the biggest mistakes I have made over the years is not paying enough attention to the documentation of my work which infringed on my ability to build a solid portfolio (online and off) to share with my clients and colleagues.”

Christina, I did the exact same thing  in my first five years of business until my longtime best friend, the interior designer Vicente Wolf, told me, “Even if it means that you have to borrow money, you must hire the best photographer to photograph your work – all of it. These photos will become your greatest assets.” Eight years later, those exact photos were used for my first book, Design for Entertainment. This was the best piece of advice I ever received.

As someone who has quite a bit of experience photographing my work, I would like to share a few pointers:

Try to Hire the Best Space Photographer You Can: Vincente was right on with this advice. Hire a photographer with experience in photographing spaces, not just portraits. In my humble experience, most portrait photographers, while talented, do not get the best room shots. OK, I know I am going to be yelled at for this statement – I can already hear it now…

Talk to The Photographer on Site: If you cannot afford your own photographer, speak to the one that is shooting the job. This is not the best solution though, as they are usually busy shooting the bride.

Plan Ahead: Because of all the rush and activity on the big day, a photographer may have 15 minutes at most to get a good shot of the room. Make sure to make arrangements with the planner or the hotel manager to clear the room for those few minutes. This part is never going to be easy, but it’s essential and worth the effort and frustration it often entails.

Florists Need To Think Big: Make sure you get the best angle of the entire room, and not just close-ups of your tables.

Work Light To Your Advantage: If there is a lighting designer, be sure that he brings up the lighting to the photographers request. While great on skin tones, candlelit rooms do not make for the best photos.

Use iPhones As a Last Resort: iPhones, iPads and other camera phones are not the best choice for professional, portfolio-worthy shots.

I am fortunate to have an incredible photographer working with me, but even he takes hundreds of shots to get five good ones. Still, those five shots are like money in the bank.

Do you photograph your work properly? Have you gotten or lost jobs as a result of your photographs or lack thereof?

Blessings,

Preston

Photo Courtesy of John Labbe

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