Hire a Photographer
When you’re looking to hire a photographer, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack, and it’s not as straightforward as you may think – especially if you do not know where to look or how to sort the wheat from the chaff. We’ve compiled a set of resources to help you find the right person for the job, they’re all on this page.
Where to start when you’re looking to
Hire a Photographer
Step 1: Identify the type of photographer you need to hire
You may have an event that you need to hire a photographer, or a product for a magazine advert. Perhaps you’re looking for a wedding photographer or even trying to find someone who photographs crime scenes. Whatever the job is, you need to find the specialism by name. We’ve compiled a list of different types of photography and provided a list below. We would always recommend finding specialists because they’re usually able to provide references and higher quality of work.
Step 2: Find photographers to consider
Using our Find a Photographer search function, you can search our vast database to hire a photographer who has the specialism you have identified listed in their profile. Please note that you don’t necessarily need to hire a photographer who is geographically close to you to complete the job, so try to find the best fit before narrowing down tightly on location. You should leave this step with 3-5 photographers to consider.
Never select a professional by age, gender or nationality – photography is a skill and often unconscious bias is detrimental to sourcing the right person for the job.
Step 3: Check the experience, quality & reputation
To hire the right photographer for you from your shortlist, it’s time to check their vital signs. These vital signs can be compiled of many different things, but often the core things to look for include the following…
Is there variety with different situations, subjects, locations or sets? The photographers portfolio acts as an example of what you will receive if you book them to complete the work, so you need to check you like it.
Every working photographer should be suitably insured but sadly, this isn’t always the case. Any BIPP Professional or Accredited member is insured as part of their membership, so you needn’t worry about that with us.
Look for our accreditation letters, LBIPP, ABIPP or FBIPP – these mean that the photographer has completed a peer-reviewed panel, is fully insured, and is deemed competent to that level. You can find out more about those here, from the photographers point of view.
Look on both the photographers website but also on freely available review sites like Google Maps or social media to vet the photographer based on other clients past experience. The reviews should be from different clients with names.
How much do photographers charge?
This is based on a number of factors, but we’ve done the searching for you and created a helpful price breakdown to consider when you’re looking to hire a photographer.
Factors to consider mainly include:
A large factor in pricing for photography is dependant on experience and quality. New photographers with little experience often come our cheaper for the client to book than an experienced photographer. However, remember the old adage, “cheap isn’t always better”.
Generalist photographers often cost less than specialists who dedicate their career to one type of photography. This is usually because training, equipment and outputs are also specialised. For example, commercial work is priced to include licensing which has an impact on the final quoted price.
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Glossary of terms for
Hiring a photographer
When you need to hire a photographer, a brief, or creative brief, is a comprehensive document that provides essential information and instructions from the client to the photographer. It plays a pivotal role in guiding the photographer’s work, ensuring that the final images align with the client’s vision and requirements.
The creative brief typically includes the project’s objectives, intended use of the photographs, target audience, style preferences, specific shots or concepts required, and any other relevant details.
It serves as a blueprint for the photographer to follow throughout the project, enabling them to make informed decisions about composition, lighting, and post-processing.
The creative brief can also act as a contract of understanding between the client and the photographer, preventing misunderstandings and ensuring that both parties are aligned on the project’s direction.
The brief can be simplified by the photographer into a “shot list” – a list of shots they need to capture to meet the brief.
The law of copyright in the UK is governed by the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended). Copyright is, as the name suggests, the right to make copies, physical or electronic, of a qualifying work and doing so without the authorisation of the copyright owner is known as “copyright infringement”.
The copyright owner may sue any person who infringes their copyright. In addition, making or distributing copies in the course of a business, without the consent of the copyright owner, is a criminal offence. Copyright in a photograph arises at the moment the photograph is taken, whether the image is captured digitally or on film.
Copyright lasts for 70 years from the end of the year in which the photographer dies.
Who owns the copyright in a photograph?
In most circumstances, the copyright in a photograph belongs to the person who took it, unless the photograph was taken in the course of the photographer’s employment, when the employer owns the copyright. These are the default positions and can be altered by contract.
A person who commissions a freelance photographer for a particular assignment is not regarded in law as an employer and the copyright will belong to the photographer.
Terms that set out the permitted uses for an image or set of images are known as a licence. An additional or amended licence is needed if the client seeks to make use of an image in a manner not included in the original licence terms.
Similarly, if the rights granted under the licence are for a specific duration, a further licence is needed if the client wishes to extend their use of the images beyond the agreed period. Copyright licence agreements may be entered into orally and may sometimes be implied by law from the circumstances, but, to protect both client and photographer against any future difficulties, they should ideally always be in writing.
None of this affects the rights of the client to give away any physical prints (or other physical products bearing the image) that were supplied as part of the contract with the photographer. Those prints become the property of the client to display or give away, but the client must not have copies made from them without further authorisation from the photographer.
A shooting schedule is a pre-planned timetable that outlines the dates, locations, and timings for a photography session or event. This detailed plan helps ensure that both the photographer and the client are on the same page and have a clear understanding of the logistics involved.
The shooting schedule is crucial for projects that involve multiple locations, events with tight timelines, or sessions with numerous subjects. It allows for efficient time management and minimizes the risk of missing crucial shots or running behind schedule.
A shooting schedule also aids in allocating sufficient time for each aspect of the shoot, such as setup, breaks, and equipment changes. Flexibility is essential though, as unforeseen circumstances may require adjustments to the schedule while keeping the overall project goals intact.
High Resolution Files
High-resolution refers to images with a high level of detail and sharpness, often measured in pixel dimensions, and then secondarily in pixels per inch (PPI).
High-resolution images contain more pixels, providing greater clarity and the ability to print larger sizes without losing quality. When a photograph is taken with a high-resolution camera or in RAW format, it retains more information and allows for extensive post-processing without sacrificing image quality.
High-resolution images are particularly essential for commercial purposes, large prints, billboards, and any situation where visual clarity is paramount. However, high-resolution images also require more storage space and may take longer to process, making it crucial for photographers and clients to balance their needs with practical considerations.
High resolution files are usually transferred to clients in JPG format, however TIFF is used frequently in commercial circles.
Technically RAW isn’t an abbreviation, so it should be written as raw, but everyone uses the uppercase variation, so RAW it is.
Raw format refers to the unprocessed and uncompressed file captured by the camera’s image sensor. Unlike JPEG or other compressed formats, RAW files retain all the original data captured by the camera without any loss of quality. This provides photographers with greater flexibility in post-processing, as they can adjust parameters like exposure, white balance, and color temperature without degrading the image quality.
RAW format is preferred by professional photographers who require extensive editing capabilities to achieve their artistic vision. However, RAW files are larger in size and require specialized software for processing, making them more challenging to handle for casual users.
It is extremely rare for a photographer to hand over or sell their RAW files, unless they’re working in a partnership with a retoucher, company or another photographer to process the files. It is quite similar to giving a customer cake batter before putting it in the oven – the job isn’t finished at this stage.
When you set out to hire a photographer, you may come across numerous portfolios. A portfolio is a carefully curated collection of a photographer’s best work often displayed on their website or social media pages. It serves as a showcase of their skills, artistic style, and is a crucial tool for photographers to demonstrate their capabilities to potential clients and employers.
A well-organized portfolio often includes a mix of single shots, series, and projects, offering clients an insight into the photographer’s creative process and storytelling ability. As photographers progress in their careers, they continually update and refine their portfolios to reflect their latest work and growth as artists.
This term is most commonly used in social photography (portrait, family, newborn, pet and boudoir, for example) and includes the photographers time to complete the photoshoot part of the experience. It often does not include any images or photographic products thereafter.
Photo proofs are usually unedited or lightly edited images that exist to allow the client to select which images they’d like to proceed with. This is most common in commercial photography but can occur in other specialisms.
It is very rare that these images are the final product from the photographer and as such they’re usually provided in low resolution and with watermarks in place.
A Model Release Form is a contract between a model (human or otherwise) and a photographer, or commercial client, which defines how subsequent photographs, video and audio can be used. It’s use is very common to protect both the model and the photographer/client from future disputes or legal issues because both sides agree to the terms set out inside.
A print release is a document or clause in the contract that grants the client permission to print and reproduce the images for personal use. It is separate from the copyright
Turnaround time is the estimated period within which the photographer will deliver the final edited images to the client. The time frame can vary depending on the scope of the project, the number of images to be edited, and the photographer’s schedule.
Clear communication about the expected turnaround time is essential to manage client expectations and avoid misunderstandings. Factors that may influence turnaround time include the complexity of post-processing, the photographer’s workload, and any agreed-upon deadlines or rush orders.
It is advisable for photographers to provide clients with a realistic timeframe during project discussions to ensure a smooth and satisfactory experience.
List of Photography Specialisms
Each of the photography types listed below involve specialised training in both shooting and retouching, to result in a high quality output. This list is not exhaustive, but should act as a guide:
Often completed with drones, but previously with helicopters and planes, aerial photography photographs things from the sky.
The photography of planes, helicopters and jets. Often commercial in nature but highly specialised.
The photography of buildings, or parts of them. Often for use in marketing, promotional or advertising campaigns.
The photography of the stars, night sky, moon, planets or other interspace scenes.
The photography of the vehicles from cars to tractors and everything in between. Often commercial in nature but highly specialised.
A type of portraiture where images, often of women, are captured in a sensual and tasteful manner.
The photography of items, events or scenes for business use, often on marketing materials, websites or case studies.
The photography of events, including gigs, concerts and social events too, with a view to documenting the events unfolding. Frequent cross over with commercial, press and wedding photography.
The photography of children and families. See Newborn, Portrait and Pet for variations.
The photography of garments, often on models in studio or outdoors, with the aim of showing the products off in their best light. Can be narrowed down into editorial, commercial, product or runway.
Fine Art / Still-Life / Illustrative Photography
Highly creative forms of photography verging onto works of art at the highest level.
The photography of food, either as meals or ingredients. Most often for commercial purposes and use in advertising or marketing campaigns.
The photography of usually crime scenes or items of evidence, often to act as evidence and document the law enforcement process.
A type of commercial photography mixed with portraiture, headshot photographers specialise in photographing people for business or marketing purposes.
A type of commercial photography whereby the focus is on industry. Often includes dangerous working environments but not always.
The photography of healthcare situations and surgery, often to assist healthcare organisations like the NHS in their research, evidence capture or marketing.
Another way of saying scenic or environmental photography, photographing scenes in the natural world. Can include urban landscapes.
The photography of very, very small objects or photography exceptionally close to an object, to result in a larger than life image of that object and its details.
The photography of babies under 21 days old for the purpose of documenting this stage in a childs life
The photography of domesticated animals, usually dogs, cats or horses.
The photography of humans and/or their families and children for personal use and home furnishings.
Also known as reportage and documentary photography, press photography is the common name in the UK for work alongside journalism and major news stories.
The photography of individual products for use on marketing materials and websites. Often coincides with commercial photography.
Real Estate Photography
The photography of homes and properties for sale to assist in the swift sale at or above the original asking price.
School / Education Photography
The photography of classes, individual students or graduates within an education setting.
The photography of scientific apparatus or experiments for use in research, commercial or marketing situations.
The photography of sporting pursuits, games or matches, from local level to the Olympics and everything in-between. Can often cross over into commercial and press photography.
The photography of urban environments, often involving people as a main subject, in a documentary style.
The photography of experiences and locations, hotels and accommodation around the world. Frequent cross-over with landscape, urban, street and commercial photography.
Often paired with wildlife, commercial or industrial photography but not always, these images are taken underwater in large tanks, lakes, oceans or rivers.
Photography of religious or non-religious ceremonies joining a couple together. A highly popular specialism in photography and one that is culturally accepted worldwide.
Images of live animals in their natural environment without posing or control from the photographer. Can include urban wildlife.