You are organizing an event, and you know you need a professional photographer to come and document it. You have gone through a list of potential candidates, and you have started having conversations, negotiating, and discussing the conditions and expectations. You are on the verge of deciding who to hire, but maybe things are not 100% clear yet about what to expect. 

In this article, I want to help you go through some of the most common questions you should consider asking when hiring a photographer for your event. Let’s check them one by one and see why they are essential to evaluate and have the answer before you hire them.

1. When will you deliver the pictures?

When you buy an article online, you get an estimation of when you should get it. As with any other service, you should get an idea of when you are supposed to obtain the pictures. The photographer then should be able to provide you with an estimated date of delivery of the photographs. 

A typical example is within five business days after the event finishes, but this may vary. If you are comfortable with the proposed day, then all is good, otherwise, try to renegotiate the terms to see if you can get the pictures faster when you need to have them. A word of advice, the quicker you want the photos, the more the budget could increase, but this might depend on the photographer.

2. How do you send the images?

In the past, we would get pictures delivered via USB drives and even CDs. Nowadays, with high-speed internet and online services, the best and easiest solution for almost all cases is sending the pictures via an online service. Some common examples could be WeTransfer, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, and Dropbox, to name a few. 

Nevertheless, make sure it is clear to you how you will obtain the images to avoid any trouble of delivery due to technological limitations. Some people cannot access Dropbox or open ZIP files from their office computer, for example. If you know in advance how you will receive the pictures, then you know if you should inform the photographer about your technological constraints, and look for another way that suits you best.

3. In which format do you provide the photos?

The format of a picture can mean several things: file format (extension), size, aspect ratio, among others. Usually, you will get JPG files, ready to use on your website or printing materials. However, to avoid surprises, make sure you are receiving JPGs, especially if that’s what you expect. 

It is relevant to know that JPGs can vary in size, and they can take a lot of your computer storage. High-resolution files are more substantial in size, and you will be able to use them for printing; at the same time, they are not ideal for WEB usage. If you wish to use the images online (social sharing or website), then make sure you will get ready-to-use smaller versions JPGs alongside the high-resolution JPGs.

For the ratio, I dare to say the most common is a 3:2 ratio, and not 4:3 or 1:1. If you have special ratio requirements, be sure to communicate it with the photographer. Click here to know more about aspect ratios.

4. How many pictures will we get?

Although knowing the exact amount of images you will get is highly improbable, you can still ask and have an approximate idea. The number of pictures you will get for an event coverage will vary depending on the approach of the photographer. Some photographers, for example, commit to a minimum of deliverable photos, let’s say 30 pictures per hour of service, and the number then can always increase. Most often than not, you will get a selection of the best moments, and not every single taken photo during the event.

5. Are the pictures retouched?

Retouching pictures should be an intrinsic aspect of the treatment process of the photographer. In other words, photographers should take the time to retouch the photos taken during an event, and provide you with the best quality outcome possible. If they are not able to say anything about the retouching aspect, I would strongly advise you to clarify it, and understand if you should expect this or not. The retouching process should not be an aggressive and modifying one, but rather an enhancing and correcting one.

6. Do you add watermarks?

Watermarks, who uses them anyway? Many photographers indeed! Be aware that if you do not wish to have annoying watermarks on your final pictures, which is probably the case, you should clarify it with the photographer. A great way to know if they use watermarks is merely looking at their online portfolio.

7. How can we use the pictures?

The usage of the pictures is a topic for a whole article on its own. Nevertheless, let me tell you a word that goes unnoticed more often than not: Copyrights. To avoid getting into discussions in the future, or even legal fights with an author, be sure it is clear where and how you can use the pictures you are getting. The more rights and possibilities you want to have, the more expensive the copyrights will get. If a photographer doesn’t clarify copyrights usage, be sure to ask about it, and avoid living on accident.

8. Can you provide an invoice?

Getting an invoice should be the norm, without a doubt, but there are cases in which a photographer doesn’t have a way to provide you with a legal form of receipt. If this is the case, you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation in which you cannot legally declare an expense you had. An invoice is particularly relevant for companies requiring photography services, though. If the legal status of the photographer is unclear (they do not have a legal entity business behind their shop), then you should probably consider hiring someone else.

9. Do you back up the images?

Last but not least, you should be able to know if the photographer will be able to keep the pictures in storage for you. If, for whatever reason, you need to get the images from the photographer again, be sure to know you if you can do so. Some photographers will charge extra fees for the storage of your event pictures.

Final thoughts.

Hiring a photographer shouldn’t be a painful process, and I hope these tips help you find the best photographer for your event. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you are happy with the results and that you can use the pictures for your communication and marketing campaign.

Do you have other questions you think are relevant before hiring a photographer? I would love to hear your advice! Leave a comment below or get in touch with me, and I’d be glad to adapt my article to make it better.

This article is part of a series related to the process of hiring a photographer from A to Z. I’ll be writing a new one every week, so be sure to come back, so you don’t miss what’s next. Thank you for your time!


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