A detailed guide to working with a blog photographer. I always get questions from bloggers, but also some brands what it is like working with a blog photographer. I put together a guide about how to start working with one, asking the rights questions, and other things you need to know.
Find Out Which Photographer Local Bloggers are Working With
Start off by looking up local photographers working with other bloggers in the area.By looking through Instagram and Toronto based photographers I found my photographer Laura.
This step is essential for two reasons.
- You know the photographer works with bloggers and they have experience shooting outfits and products. Family photography and portrait photography is much different than the type of photos bloggers look for, so this is essential. I worked with a photographer in the past who had never done blog photos before and I was disappointed with the results.
- You can negotiate the price. This is not always the case, but some photographers offer better pricing for their work with bloggers. This is because blog photography tends to be much more efficient. Bloggers know what shots they want and want to get it done fast.
Discuss The Blog Photographer Rate
Ask your photographer what their rate is or if they have blog photographer packages. Does the photographer charge bloggers per session/outfit/hour? How will you be charged for your shoot? This is important because it ensures you are prepared for your shoot and also stay within budget. For example, if your photographer charges by the hour you will have to think how many outfits you can shoot in an hour. Also, brainstorm locations close by to maximize your one hour shoot. Some blog photographers are very strict with time, so if you go over the 1 hour you will get charged a fee accordingly. Time yourself. If your photographer charges bloggers per outfit, you have to think of how many outfits you want to shoot everytime you meet. If the photographer charges by the outfit, I suggest having between 3-4 outfits, because you also want to be efficient with your time. Don’t book one outfit today, one outfit tomorrow.
How Many Final Images Are You Going To Be Receiving?
Every photographer is different. Don’t just assume you are going to get all the images you shoot. I have worked with blog photographers whose rate only gave me x amount of final images, but I also worked with photographers that gave all the images they shot of me. Usually, if you only receive a certain amount of images the photographer will give you access to a gallery and then you have to choose the final images you want to receive. Usually, the images you have to select from are watermarked so you can’t use them. If you want more photos it is likely you will have to pay an extra fee for each additional image. Also, ask your photographer if they are going to edit your photos. Some blog photographers do not edit the photos. If that is the case you should be paying an even lower rate, since the whole point of hiring a photographer is to minimize your time of editing your own photos.
You Don’t Own The Copyright To Your Photos
I know, it kinda sucks, but you don’t own the copyright to your photos when you hire a photographer. Yes, you are in the images, yes you came up with the concept, yes you paid the photographer BUT the photographer owns the copyright in any commissioned photographs she takes and can use them however she/he likes. If you want to own the copyright you can outline it in the contract, but you will also have to state you will not sell the photos for profit without your photographer’s knowledge and that the photographer will be compensated if such a situation arises. I know some photographers are ok with that, so you can chat with them. With this said, your photographer cannot sell photos taken of you without your permission or confirmation either. Regardless of the fact they own the copyright, they cannot use your likeness or invade your privacy by selling your photos without your acknowledgment. So double check the contract. Read more about photography law here (It is my go-to reference for when brands ask me for the copyright).
How Does That Work With Sending Images To The Brand?
When I work with brands, I give them permission to repost the content I produced for the campaign on their social media platforms only. If a brand wants to post the images on their website, print ads, or use on other marketing materials whether it is for in-house or for commercial ads, you need to discuss this with your photographer. Not only you as a creator should be charging the brand an additional fee for such usage, but also your photographer will need to be paid a usage fee by the brand.
Tell Your Photographer Your Deadlines
Don’t be a jerk! Before hiring a photographer let them know what your deadline is and what date you need the photos by. I’ve worked with a blog photographer that sends photos in 24 hours, but I have also worked with a photographer that took 2 weeks to send me the photos. Not all photographers have the same turn around time. This way you will know up front if your photographer can deliver on time or not. Don’t just assume the photographer will deliver your photos when you expect them too. They are just as busy as you are! Ask them what their edit time is beforehand. My rule is to always give myself a buffer time. If a project is due on the 15th of the month, I will tell the photographer I need them by the 10th of the month. Always give yourself time to select photos and prepare the content for the client.
Always Show Up Prepared To Your Photoshoot
When working with a photographer you want to use your time efficiently. I pack all my outfits or any products I am shooting the day before so I’m not running around an hour before my photoshoot looking for a pair of earrings. I also location-scout days before the shoot. I usually shoot 3-4 looks per session, so I like to choose locations easy to get to, but also locations that compliment my outfits for that day. (This is my strategy to taking beautiful photos. Don’t just shoot anywhere.) When I am staging a lifestyle shoot, I always set up everything before the photographer comes. Don’t waste the photographer’s time. Everything should be good to go when your photographer arrives.
Inform Your Photographer What Kind of Shots You Need
If you’re working with a blog photographer for the first time, it’s essential to let them know what type of shots you need. For example, if you are doing outfit photos, let the photographer know you need horizontal and vertical shots of your full outfit, as well as close-ups and detail shots of accessories etc. When I am shooting a project I always like to send my photographer some inspo shots of what I am envisioning for our shoot. This is a great way for the photographer to understand what you want for the final product, but also a great way for them to suggest some shots of how to pose.
My Shot Checklist For Outfit Photos, But Can Also Translate To Lifestyle Shots
- Full Body
- Upper half and bottom half
- Back Body Shot
- Walking shot
- Shoes, handbag, accessories shots
- Detail shots of pretty outfit elements i.e a bow, floral embellishments etc.
- Creative shots
- Get a good mix of vertical, horizontal, side, and close up angles during the shoot.
Ask Your Photographer What Their Re-shoot and Re-edit Policy Is
Discuss with your blog photographer what their policy is for re-edits and re-shoots. Some will charge you, especially for a re-shoot, some will not. Be aware of what your photographer’s policy is. Sometimes a client may come back and ask you to reshoot. This does not necessarily mean they did not like your photos. A product you shot may be out of stock by the time the campaign rolls out, so the client may want a different product to be shot. Consider the what ifs when working with a photographer. Is there a clause in the contract that outlines re-shoots and re-edits?
Ensure You Are Posting The Images First Before Your Blog Photographer
We chated how the photographer owns the copyright to the photos she/he takes of you, however, you are entitled to ask for exclusivity to the images, meaning you post the images on social first. You do not want the photographer posting photos of a campaign which you have not yet posted about. Most photographers are aware of this and will not post any images until the blogger posts first, but you should bring it up regardless and even include it in the contract. You may think it is not a big deal, but the brand you are working with may consider this a violation of contract since a 3rd party is posting photos of a campaign that has not yet gone live or in some cases approved.
What About Photo Credits?
There is a huge debate about this. I tag/credit the photographer who took the photo I am posting on social media with the little camera emoji. It is up to you if you do or not. If the photographer states in their contract you have to tag/credit them every time you post photos they have taken, you negotiate your rate. Essentially every time you tag your photographer you are providing them with free exposure and potential new clients since their work is seen every time you post their work. Some photographers are very particular if you do not tag them in the photos, so ask your photographer to also be tagged in the photo when the photographer posts a photo of you. That is proper crediting etiquette. Both sides need to credit accordingly, but again every person is different. I am also against asking a photographer to shoot you for free. Unless you have a million followers or unless the photographer is working on building their portfolio, you should never ask a photographer to shoot you for free.
When Working With a Blog Photographer Sign a Contract
Signing a contract with your photographer is a must. Most of the time the photographer will have a contract for you to sign, and honestly, if it is your first time working with the photographer, I highly suggest you sign one.
Don’t Just Choose Any Blog Photographer
If you want to work with a blog photographer choose a photographer you feel comfortable with and not just one that takes beautiful photos. The right photographer will make you feel like you are shooting with your bestie. I love working with Laura not only because she makes my life easier and she takes beautiful photos, but also because we have so much fun together and our personalities are similar. Also, no matter how amazing the photographer is if you feel awkward it will show on your photos. Find the perfect photographer by finding one that matches your personality, loosen up and don’t forget to have fun!
Hope that was helpful to get you started working with a blog photographer. Don’t forget to check out my Career & Finance Section for more blogging tips, especially Blogger Brand Agreements and How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul.
Photography By: Laura Clarke Photography
Let me know if you have any questions! Here to help!