How to Approach a Professional Photographer

Think back to all of the places that you love to buy products from the most.  Your favorite clothing shops, the home decor stores that you love, and even places that sell things like groceries or tools…..what common marketing theme do you notice right away?  They all use professional photos.

I recently took a business class that talked in-depth about some really amazing theories.  One of those theories is always acting like a professional.  So many of us get caught up in thinking our shop isn’t large enough, we don’t have enough inventory, or we simply are too scared to act like a professional.  We don’t feel like we deserve the title yet, and thus we don’t have to act like it.  One of the keys to success, though, is to act like a professional until you feel like, and believe, you are.

This theory really holds true for photographs.  You know that none of the top clothing, or interior design brands would ever consider advertising their products without super professional, beautiful photos.  So if you want to be a top brand someday, why wouldn’t you do the same?

I highly encourage you to find a professional photographer to work with.  You’ll see an immense difference in your business, and you’ll feel more like the professional you want to be – which is a huge step in the right direction.

There are lots of different ways you can go about finding a photographer, but there are a few things I think are important to keep in mind as you go on the hunt:

1. Find a photographer whose work you love and whose style is similar to yours’. 

Finding someone whose photography style matches your work is super important!  A photographer who primarily photographs babies, probably isn’t going to be interested in photographing adult hats or shawls, while a photographer who focuses on senior portraits may be perfect.  Think about your niche, and find a photographer who photographs a similar audience.

2. You don’t always have to approach the most well-known photographers in order to make a name for yourself.

You’re looking to work with an excellent photographer – not necessarily a famous one.  Though working with someone who has made a name for themselves can be valuable to your shop, chances are that they don’t have the time to photograph your items regularly.  They probably already have multiple vendors that they work with, and any sort of relationship would probably be more of a one-time thing than an on-going, mutual benefit.

3. Use online resources to help you in your search.

Having the internet as a resource makes the task of finding a good photographer who matches your needs SO much easier.  You don’t necessarily need to be paired with a local photographer (though that can save you money on shipping costs).  Use online directories, like Best Newborn Photographers, to start your search.  I found my photographer by scrolling through California Newborn Photographers, finding one I liked, browsing her website, and sending an e-mail.  Simple as that…..oh and I live in Colorado.  So we’re anything but local to each other.

4. Make a fair offer.

As both a photographer and a prop designer, I’ve been on both sides of the vendor-photographer relationship.  In either position, it’s easy to feel like you are the only one giving everything away, but that simply isn’t true.  As a vendor, you are buying the yarn, and spending your valuable time creating a project to get photographed.  As a photographer, you are finding a model, and spending your valuable time to get the perfect product photo.  Both of these jobs is equally important and valuable, and both work best when a fair trade has been worked out.

5. Don’t expect to receive without offering anything in return.

If you want to develop an ongoing relationship, then don’t approach a photographer about taking photos without offering something in return.  Whether that is monetary payment for their work, or a trade of whatever prop they are photographing – be fair.  Know that they are putting in just as much work as you are and reward them for that.  Nobody wants to be part of a one-sided relationship.

 

Overall, just be sure you’re being friendly, fair, and practical in your search for a professional photographer to take your product photos.  Be persistent too.  Sometimes you’ll find that the relationship just isn’t working out and you’ll have to find another person to work with (I tried out 3 photographers before I found my perfect match).  Or you may send e-mails that never get returned.  Don’t lose heart, though, putting in the time and effort is truly worth it!

Do you have any tips for working with or approaching a professional photographer?  Share them in the comments of this post!

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