This week I am so excited to announce that I have a very special guest on the blog! Madison Short is an extremely talented wedding photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland! Lucky for me she also specializes in brand shoots & practically any other creative idea you can come up with! She’s such fun to work with & incredibly knowledgeable! Since this was my first time hiring a photographer, it was so nice to have someone walk me through the process and take time to understand my vision! This week, Madison is answering all of our questions on what we need to know when hiring a professional!
1. How can I be sure I am hiring a photographer who aligns with my style and/or brand?
-I like to think of this like you’re going shopping. When you walk into a store, you’ll see things and either think “that is SO me!” or “that’s cute, but not something I personally would wear”. The same thing applies for photography! When you go to someones website or Instagram, think to yourself “are these images MY style?”. If you’re more of a bright and airy person, like Kara, my style might align with your vision. But if you gravitate towards darker or moodier things, I probably would not be your first choice as a photographer, ha!
2. What is protocol when posting professional photos? How do I make sure I am giving credit to the photographer appropriately?
-On Instagram, I personally love when people tag me IN the image itself. That way if someone goes to my tagged images they will see more of my work, plus it gives you exposure! I can’t tell you how many times I have searched through other peoples tagged images and found new favorite Instagrammers, so tagging the image is a win-win for everyone! Tagging in the caption is also very courteous, because some people don’t think to click the image and see the tagged people.
-On your website or blog, I recommend hyperlinking the photographer’s Instagram and Website where you see fit! Hyperlinking websites also helps with your SEO (aka your visibility on search engines), so be sure you both are linking to each other’s websites so you show up more on Google!
3. I have no idea where to start, how do I find the right photographer for me in my area?
-Haha! This is actually a funny question, because it really is about stalking people (except I like to call it “research” 😉 ). I keep going back to Instagram, but it really is the best social tool! When I am traveling to a new place and want to set up a shoot while I am there, I always hop on Instagram and search location-specific hashtags. For example, I wanted to photograph a blogger in Palm Springs, so I searched #PalmSpringsBlogger. Same thing goes for photographers! When I was helping my brother plan his wedding in Oklahoma, I searched #OklahomaWedding #OklahomaPhotographer #TulsaWedding #TulsaPhotographer…..you get the gist! This will also help you think of hashtags to use on your own images so people can find and follow you!
4. How can I be sure I am paying a fair price for the time frame & amount of photos I am getting?
-I think it definitely depends on who you hire. Ask your photographer approximately how many images you will receive for the amount of time you are shooting for. Some photographers deliver a certain amount of images, some deliver all the “good” ones (i.e. the ones where you’re not blinking, talking, chewing….etc). Also keep in mind that each image is potentially one day of content, so if you receive 200 images you could, essentially, use one image per day for 200 days. Take that into account when deciding on how much you want to invest in a photography session.
5. What is your #1 tip/must-have when working with a client for the first time to ensure you understand their vision?
-PINTEREST BOARDS! I highly, highly recommend having two Pinterest boards– one for general brand inspiration (which can include any kind of image…..outfits, decor, quotes, anything!) and a Pinterest board for a specific shoot. I personally am always pinning to my Brand Inspiration board, but when I want to create specific content I will pin inspiration specific to that shoot. So for example, if I were to do a summer-y content creation shoot, I would pin pool floats, fruity drinks, fun sunglasses, summer outfit flatlays, etc. But if I were to do a winter content shoot, that board would look a lot different!
6. How can I prepare for and get the most out of a content shoot?
-First start with the Pinterest boards. That way your photographer can see your brand inspiration, and what you envision for your shoot. Next, create a shot list. If you need a new Facebook cover image, you’re sending out an email newsletter, you need a new blog profile picture, you have a specific blog post planned, etc, put it all on the list. Certain images need to be oriented differently (Facebook cover pictures, for example, need a lot of negative space on the left side so your profile picture does not cover it), and your photographer can keep that in mind when they are shooting. It also really helps to have a plan for the shoot! Have your outfits picked out, and have any props laid out so your photographer can see what they have to work with. That way you can make the most of your shoot, without using up time picking out outfits or finding things to shoot. One thing not many people know is that flat lays actually take a bit of time to set up, so if you have all your props picked out and ready, your photographer can dive right in!
If you’d like to read more about Madison, ask a question or book a shoot you can find her website right here! Be sure to follow her on Instagram @madisonrshort for tons of fun photo inspiration!