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 blog photographers to produce high-quality content for the blog. I’ve had a few learning curves over the years with blog photographers, and I wanted to share some tips and tricks so that you can make the most out of your blog photography sessions!
WORKING WITH BLOG PHOTOGRAPHERS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ask other bloggers what the average blog photographer rate is
This is a huge, huge huge one: blog photographers’ 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!) blog 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 with blog photographers
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 blog 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 & Usage: Typically, your photographer will be the copyright holder and will give you a limited license to use their work on your website/social platfoms.
- Use of Images: 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 — often times, the photographer might require a licensing fee.
- 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 blog 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 Blog Photographers 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 share what the objective of the photo shoot is, and sometimes I’ll include inspiration images and examples 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
Blog 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 blog photographers might grow to dislike you if you constantly ask for reshoots/re-edits. In my case, 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 I spot some major technical errors on the photographer’s end. I’ve only had to ask for a reshoot a handful of times 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!