How to hire a commercial photographer

The elite business of photography has changed profoundly ever since photography went digital. In fact 18-year-olds today can compose a striking enough portrait, with some basic sense of lighting, all with a smart phone in hand.  In your pursuit of the one, you’ve all realised that to hire a commercial photographer, you have to look beyond someone who can only take a sharp picture.

In an industry filled with generalists and jack-of-all-trades, how you do find that someone who can make your vision count? How do you hire a commercial photographer for your next big campaign?

Here’s what I advise you to look for:

1.Someone with vision:  The advertising world thrives today on making heads turn, and grabbing attention in split seconds. You don’t just want to hire a commercial photographer or an artist. Instead you are looking to hire a brand; someone with a vision or like they say, a visual solutions provider. Quality notwithstanding, it’s someone who will pump in originality into your campaign and drive your creative brief forward.

2. Everything is headed towards motion: It’s true. Video is a hot favourite with online marketing and chances are you’ve probably worked on an online video marketing campaign, yourself. In essence, if you’re looking for a photographer, you’re probably going to need a video professional too. It’s unbelievable how production budgets are being heavily pushed towards broadcast today. So, make it simpler, by selecting a professional/company who specialises in both.  It’ll save you the big bucks. You’ll thank me later.

Hire a commercial photographer

3. Someone with strategic inputs: Any photographer worth his/her salt should be able to add value to your planning process. As professionals, it is their inputs, the ones that agencies will often miss, that will make for true creative collaboration, even in the commercial realm. Some pros are more visual than verbal and that helps, because you can then provide sketches and visual thumbnails to help guide the planning process.  Ask for a face to face meeting during the screening, to make an informed judgment about their skills.

4. You want everything covered: It’s important to get all your needs specified. It’s also crucial to ask questions.  Make your expectations clear. Help them understand what needs to be delivered, the timelines, and details of post production work and what your budget is. You should know how much you are willing / able to spend when you approach a photographer.

If you’re unsure, ask the photographer. Knowing your budget in advance will help them put together a package that works for your project. There may be extra expenses, but you don’t want any surprises. All photography pros know this. And it is part of their job to keep you informed and stay clear upfront about all costs.  What you’re looking for is a pro who communicates clearly. In case the photographer has an assistant or rep, communication should not get triangulated. It’s important to communicate with the photographer directly.

hire a commercial photographer

Remember:  To sign the licensing/use statement contract so you can use the pictures. Photographers may include the cost of usage in the cost of their service or may charge you separately. It’s important that you understand this well.

Hiring a commercial photographer can be easy if you know where to look. At Two Story, our specialisation lies in taking your stories and giving them wings.  Take a look at our extensive commercial portfolio  to understand how well we fit into your creative brief. Write to us today on

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