Ah, blog photographers. When I first started this blog, my boyfriend at the time was taking my photos. However, even though I had a DSLR, neither me or my boyfriend knew what on earth we were doing. After we broke up, I connected with a student photographer at my college, and my content improved ten-fold.
Even though I have a DSLR of my own and occasionally get my friends and family to help me shoot content, it really is a lot easier for me to team up with a photographer to produce high-quality content for the blog. I’ve had a few learning curves over the years with photographers, and I wanted to share some tips and tricks so that you can make the most out of your blog photography sessions!
Ask other bloggers what the average blog photographer rate is
This is a huge, huge huge one: blog photographer prices vary in every area, and it’s great to know what the average price is so that you don’t end up overpaying. Some (not all!) photographers will offer a special blogger discount if you tag their social handles/link to their website on every post. I like to start out by researching photographers that have shot with bloggers before: they tend to understand what kind of shots we need, and tend to charge accordingly! Make sure to chat with your local blog friends in the area to get a ballpark figure of what you should pay for these sessions.
Always sign a contract
You know me: I love me some contracts. There are a ton of reasons why you need to sign a contract with your photographer. Sometimes, the photographer will even have a contract for you to sign. Cathy from Poor Little It Girl has an awesome post that breaks down contracts even further. When you’re preparing a contract for photographers, here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Rate: I like to include the rate per session/outfit/hour in the contract that we’ve agreed upon so that there aren’t any surprises down the line.
- Copyright: You and your photographer should discuss copyright before any sessions. Ideally, you should have full copyright to all images so that you can do what you need to do with them for any campaigns.
- Use of Images: Typically when I work with brands, I give them permission to repost images on their social outlets only. If brands want to post your images on their website, print ads, or any other marketing materials, you need to work this out with your photographer, as this is something they may or may not be ok with.
- Make sure you’re posting the images first: This is a clause I always include in my contracts — before the photographer can upload any photos from our session to their portfolio/website/social networks, I have to deliver the photos to the brand and complete my postings first. This is super important to me, because when I work with brands, sometimes it is a violation of the contract for a third-party to share images from the campaign before I get brand approval.
Agree Upon a Deadline
I’ve worked with some photographers that can send me photos in 24 hours, and I’ve worked with some that took a full week. Ask them what their edit time is beforehand, so that you aren’t missing any of your deadlines. If you are working on a sponsored post, I request that the photographer gets me the photos back at least 3 days before I have to send them over to the brand: you might have to request re-edits or additional frames, and you should allow yourself time to do so.
Let the Photographer Know Before The Shoot What You Need
If you’re working with a photographer for the first time, it’s super important to communicate with them the shots you need. My goal is to end up with at least 20 frames from each session, since I usually put 5-8 photos in every post. I also know that I prefer vertical photos over horizontal, so I request more of those photos. Lastly, I create a “shot list” and send it to my photographer before the shoot: I’ll email images as an example of the types of shots that I like, and sometimes I’ll include inspiration images of shots that I want to try. Let the photographer know from the get-go what types of shots you need to avoid any issues in the long run!
Prep before your shoot
Photographers don’t have all day to shoot — so you’ll want to use your time efficiently. I usually pack and steam items the day before so that I’m not running around an hour before my photoshoot looking for a pair of earrings. I also location-scout beforehand; since I typically shoot 3-5 looks per session, I like to choose locations that have easy parking, multiple backdrops to shoot at so it doesn’t look like I’m shooting in the same block, and I want to make sure the location compliments my outfit.
If you’re staging a lifestyle shoot — set everything up before your photographer comes. It’s a waste of the photographer’s time to sit and watch you stage a tablescape or a flatlay. When they arrive, your area should be completely ready to shoot!
It’s ok to ask for re-edits (or reshoots!)
Disclaimer: do NOT do this all of the time. The local photographer will hate you. But, I’ve had a really hard time with photographers editing my skin in the past, and I will not hesitate to ask for a re-edit if my skin looks too dark in photos, or a re-shoot if the overall exposure was incorrect. I’ve only had to ask for a reshoot once in my 5-year blogging career, so again: don’t get too trigger happy with these. Make sure to include a clause in your contract that guarantees a complimentary reshoot under extreme circumstances!