A group of students debating in a workshop during the Leaders for a Day in Brussels

5 common struggles when working with a photographer

Over the past six years, I had the chance to work as a photographer with many event organizers for all sorts of different types of events. An experience like this has allowed me to see and live everyday struggles event organizers have when working with photographers like myself. 

My idea with this article is to help you as an event organizer clear out these potential struggles off your way. And hopefully, ease your relationship with the photographer to increase the satisfaction factor of your collaboration.

Let’s check together some of the common questions/topics and how we can solve them.

1. Will the photographer deliver the pictures on time?

Before answering this question, have you evaluated when exactly you need the pictures of the event? Also, have you considered how many photos and for what purpose you need them? Some organizations require that during the occasion itself, the photographer delivers a small number of images for social media communication purposes. Others need pictures right after, and others need just one picture the day after for a press release. In most cases, the rest of the images are necessary only a couple of days after the event.

Once you have understood as an event organizer why, when, and how many pictures you need, you can communicate your request to the photographer in advance and avoid surprises, unfulfillment, or extra fees. Not all photographers offer by default to deliver pictures during the event or immediately after. If you need photos with particular urgency, specify very clearly your intentions in advance when communicating your requirements of service. 

2. Will the photographer cover the critical moments of the event?

To be sure that the photographer will be present taking pictures during the most critical moments of your event, my recommendation is to share the schedule/timeline and indicate which are the moments that need photos. Sometimes, an occasion doesn’t have a critical moment specified in the schedule, such as a surprise award or speech, and this is fine; however, make sure you communicate with the photographer the extra activity of the timeline, so they don’t miss it.

A good rule of thumbs is to share the plan of the day, and then when you meet the photographer, go through it and re-indicate any non-written surprise moments in the timeline. Make sure the photographer understands the schedule and its potential changes and free your mind!

3. Will the presence of the photographer be annoying to our guests?

I am a firm believer that photographers should be active observers instead of active participants when documenting an event. A professional event photographer should be smooth and move with delicacy to not disturb the audience attending the occasion. Several elements could potentially annoy your guests: usage of flash, the sound of the camera when clicking, and the movements of the photographer when going around the venue. 

If it is critically important that your guests don’t get distracted, my recommendation is to tell the photographer very clearly in advance that your event requires particular attention to distractions, and that you expect a discreet coverage. Once again, communication is critical.

4. Will the photographer be independent enough?

With so many things running through your head, the least you want is a photographer who needs constant guidance throughout the event. You need an independent person that can document the occasion effortlessly. 

To help yourself and the photographer, share with her/him as much information you have about the event as possible. Share everything from the schedule, speakers, venue, timings, surprises, among others, to help the photographer understand how things are happening so that she/he can be more independent while doing her/his work. Do not be afraid to share details, as it will make your life easier. No detail is unimportant.

5. The equipment of the photographer doesn’t look professional enough. Should I be worried?

The amount of photography gear out there is overwhelming, and we all have different tastes and requirements as photographers. If you did due diligence when selecting the photographer, then you should not be worried about what equipment they use to document your event. Having a big camera doesn’t mean you will get amazing pictures, and having a small camera doesn’t mean you will get bad images. Photography gear can sometimes be misleading, and you should be aware of that. 

Trust the professionals, and if you are curious, ask them about their gear and their preference for using specific equipment compared to other options you have seen from other photographers. If you know who you are dealing with, you shouldn’t be worried about the tools they use to achieve the results you like.

Final thoughts.

Constant struggles usually arise from a lack of communication with the photographer you are hiringTo avoid misunderstandings, be clear about what you want and expect, so you can align your expectations with the service you will obtain. 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 struggles when dealing with a professional event 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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Guests looking by the window during an event at the Palais d'Egmont in Brussels

How to recognize a professional event photographer?

When you are in the process of hiring a photographer for your event, you may have what you think is the best candidate, and then start noticing some things that are a bit off. How do you know you are dealing with a professional event photographer and that you are not making a mistake by hiring them? 

In this article, I want to show you some clear signs you should pay attention to, so you can identify a professional event photographer from the rest.

1. The photographer has a broad event portfolio.

I have talked in the past about the importance of seeing a relevant event portfolio before hiring a photographer. If you cannot spot enough pictures representing what you are looking for, you might be making a blind date approach with them. One of the solutions is to understand if the portfolio is extensive enough, representing situations similar to what you would like to obtain for your event.

2. Check out the technical aspect of the images.

It is a good practice to check out the images you see with a more critical eye and observe if the photographer has the technical skills your event requires. More often than not, I encounter portfolios with loads of technical problems in the pictures. You should be aware of anything from lousy lightning, odd compositions, unsharp images, and out of focus images before hiring them. If you have no experience with photography, refer to a friend or colleague who may be into the topic, and then ask their opinion about the technical aspect of the portfolio you are checking out.

3. Can you see full event reportages?

I believe a professional photographer can get high-quality images from an event from beginning to end. A portfolio can be deceiving because it only highlights the best they have in their all-time repertoire, however, seeing the coverage of a singular event can tell you a lot about their approach, style, and experience. If you can dig deeper into a unique photo-coverage case they have done previously, and you like it, you can be reassured they know what they are doing.

4. Clear and professional communication at all stages.

Communications are everything. When a photographer is transparent, respectful, knowledgable, and speaks your professional tone, then you know you are dealing with a pro. If you get a weird impression from the way they speak and communicate with you from the beginning, there is a high chance this will not improve later. We often ignore how we feel about someone because of societal standards, so try to listen to your gut and avoid getting bad surprises later because you decided to ignore the signs.

5. Clear conditions and pricing.

When you deal with professionals from any field of expertise, you will encounter a well prepared and transparent set of terms and conditions about your work collaboration. A professional photographer should be able to give you a full set of conditions and pricing you can rely on when hiring them. When the terms of your partnership with the photographer are not clear, you cannot know what to expect, and you might be very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of your collaboration. You can always try to ask these nine helpful questions before hiring them.

6. The photographer offers copyrights usage.

Professional photographers talk copyrights and explain to you clearly how you can use and exploit their pictures. When a photographer doesn’t speak about copyrights, you should raise a red flag and try to clarify the usage rights of the images. I will talk more in detail about copyrights in the future, but in the meantime, know this: Copyrights are as relevant as the pictures themselves, and you should know the usage rights of the images you will be obtaining.

Final thoughts.

You might not be looking for a professional photographer and only care about having lovely memories of your event. However, paying attention to these signs can help you identify the right photographer for your event and avoid ugly surprises in the future. 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 look at other signs to recognize a professional event 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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A girl taking a photo of a cheese selection during an event for Hispania Brussels

9 Questions to ask before hiring an event photographer

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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Visitors admiring a painting during an art exhibition event by Sotheby's in Brussels

6 tips to select the right photographer for your event

You are organizing an event, and you know you will need a photographer. You have done some research, asked around, and got a list of potential photographers whom you would like to contact and see if they can come to your event. In the end, you know you have to pick one, but how do you choose? The selection process might be overwhelming and subjective, especially if you have no experience in the field. Let me guide you a bit on how you can narrow down your selection to the best photographer.

By the way, if you already have someone of trust that takes pictures, get in touch with that person. Given, of course, that you are satisfied and happy with the results. You have a higher chance of being happy again with the results when you work with someone of trust.

1. Check the online portfolio.

Portfolios and galleries can reveal a lot about a photographer. The pictures should speak to you in a way that you would wish to have those pictures for your event. I recommend you check other galleries from the same photographer as well, and even personal projects. Going through the work of a photographer can be an eye-opener experience. If you see things you like and admire, there is a bigger chance for you to obtain the same results for your event.

2. Check the referrals and reviews.

I would strongly recommend that you dedicate some minutes to see what other clients have to say about the photographer you are inspecting. Go through the Google reviews people have left for them, and have a critical eye to evaluate if these reviews are authentic and realistic. You could also check on their website, where they could have quotes and citations from clients, but hey, these could be fake or exaggerated. I believe Google reviews are a good starting point to check what other people think of them.

3. Contact them with enough details.

At this point, you should contact several photographers and see how they respond to you. Some photographers are craving attention, and others regularly busy with work. To be sure you get their attention, take the time to write a clear text about your event. Indicate the time, schedule, place, and any other information you find relevant for the photography aspect. Ask for availability, budget quotation, copyrights, and conditions. Now, the ball is on their court, so sit tight and wait for their response.

4. Communication is key.

Once you start receiving responses, you will better understand how professional and serious the photographers are. The way they communicate with you is relevant. You should pay close attention to the language they use and how clear they express themselves. You should check if they have answered all of your queries and provided you with enough information to close a deal. If the photographer is vague, it may leave an unpleasant and unfulfilled feeling about them, and you might feel you are jeopardizing your event. To avoid this sensation of doubt, ask for clarifications, or move on to another photographer.

5. Manage your expectations.

Everything must be clear before you hire a photographer. Don’t leave details to chance and have everything clear about what you expect from the photographer. Some example questions could be:

  • – How many pictures are we going to get?
  • – When and how do you deliver the pictures?
  • – How can we use the images?
  • – In which format do you deliver the files?
  • – Do you add watermarks to your pictures?
  • – What information do you need from us?
  • – Can you send us an invoice?

If a photographer can answer these questions, then you know you are in good hands, and you will have a peace of mind for your event. Remember to clarify as many things as possible before you hire them, and avoid ugly surprises by living on accident.

6. Careful with the cheapest option.

If you are on a budget, you may be inclined to prefer the cheapest solution. Be careful that you don’t fall for the least expensive option, as it may be costly for you and your organization. You should pay close attention to the budget, and manage your expectations around it too. However, if the profile you liked has the cheapest budget, then hurray! Lucky day! Go for it and book your photographer.

Final thoughts.

Hiring a photographer shouldn’t be a painful process, and I hope these tips help you find the right 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 tips for finding the perfect photographer for an event? 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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A man walks in front of a window inside the European Parliament in Brussels

How do I find a photographer for my event?

You have decided to get a professional photographer for the event you are organizing, awesome! Now, how and where do you find it?

There are several options on how you can get some photography profiles for your event. Let’s check them out.

Looking inside, known circles

Check your contacts

If you organize events regularly, then there is a high possibility you have already worked with a photographer in the past, and her/his contact details are known to you. If you are happy with their work and had a good experience overall, get in touch with them as soon as you can to see if they are available.

One of the good things about working with a known photographer is that they probably know your events and how you work as a team, removing friction from first-time engagement.

Ask colleagues and friends

If you have exhausted your contact possibilities, then you may want to ask your colleagues if they know a good professional photographer or someone that has worked with your team in the past. Who knows? Maybe they have the perfect person for your event. Referrals are always an excellent way of finding the people you need. Remember to ask your reference about their experience with the photographer and try to understand if she/he is the right person for your event. Last but not least, be sure to check their portfolio before getting in touch with them. I will talk more about it below.

Hopefully, by this point, you found the photographer you were looking for, and they are available to cover the event.

Looking outside, online search

Let’s imagine you didn’t find someone, so now it’s time to head into the internet and look in the ocean of choices out there. With such a vast array of prospects, how do you even begin? Let’s start with the basics, using a search engine.

Use an online search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo)

Let’s imagine you are looking for a photographer in your city. I’ll use Brussels as an example. Then, on your favorite search engine type anything like: “event photographer in Brussels,” “photographer near me,” “Brussels photographer,” “professional photographer in Brussels,” or something similar. The way you input your search sentence may vary the results you obtain, of course. So if you are not happy with the results, maybe try a different variation.

Go through the options offered by the search engine and try to open every page that sounds appealing to you on a new tab, even ads if you find them relevant. Leave the search page open, as you may want to check the second page if you didn’t find anything interesting yet.

Use the Google Maps search engine

Google Maps offers a neat way to find a business in a specific geographical area. To do this, open Google Maps and write “photographer” on the search bar. You will get the local listing and will immediately see the rating they have on Google. You can easily access their website from there. Remember to open each site on a new tab on your browser, so you can always go back to the search results. If you want different options, you can move to another area on the map, and the results should get updated.

Check out the websites

Now it’s time to check each website you opened. Some small tips to understand if you are viewing the right person:

  • – Do you quickly recognize if they do event photography at all? Sometimes a profile pops-up, but the services offered have nothing to do with what you are looking for, so maybe it would be best to look for someone else.
  • – Can you navigate their website with ease? The website should be user-friendly and remove friction and bad navigation experiences. If you find yourself wandering around without getting any information, that’s a no sign.
  • – Can you find information about their experience? Ideally, you will be able to understand the level and experience they have by looking at the biography, the portfolio(s), and references. Finding work cases and previously done work is a positive sign.
  • – Can you easily spot their contact details, and see their social media profiles? Finding contact information should be super easy; this involves being able to navigate to any linked social media profiles, as you can often find relevant information about them there.

If you answered yes to all my questions above, it is time to move to the next step, checking the portfolio.

Check the website’s portfolio(s)

I will write a different article to talk specifically about this topic; however, let me start by saying that this is a gray and subjective area. A portfolio can leave a very different impression on people. We are all different and have different tastes, so it isn’t straightforward to know what works well and what doesn’t. There are, however, some signs that should help you understand if the portfolio is up to your standards:

  • – Do you like what you see? It might seem obvious, but if you find it difficult to like the pictures, then maybe you should move on and check another profile. Don’t waste time looking at pictures you don’t enjoy as you will probably end up getting something similar.
  • – Do you see pictures similar to what you would like to get? Maybe you don’t necessarily know what you are looking for, but if you have an idea, and see pictures similar to what you want, then you know you are in the right place. Otherwise, you can always contact the photographer and ask if they have examples resembling what you want. Photographers are creative individuals and could be capable of creating what you like.
  • – Check other galleries. You might be surprised. Get curious and investigate a bit further, you might find that extra gallery that allows you to understand if you want to work with them or not.
  • – Do you want to see more? Check out their social media profiles. Most often than not, photographers are engaging via social media profiles, giving you the possibility to see more of their work and understand how they interact with their audience and clients. It might sound like a silly thing, but trust me, it can be revealing.

If by this point you are convinced about what you are seeing, the next obvious step is to get in touch with the photographer and tell them about your event.

Online search, other methods

Alternatively, you can use other methods to find photographers. Here are some quick tips:

  • – Go to the second and third page of your search engine; your preferred option might be a page away from you. Some photographers are not on the first page, but that doesn’t mean they are not good, they are just not on the first page.
  • – Check out online listings that group photographers in your geographical area. These listings are like another search engine, but you might find different profiles.
  • – Use your favorite social media platform as a search engine. If you use social media for your organization, you may be able to find more profiles there.
  • – Try another search engine. Not all search engines are the same, so there is a chance you can discover someone new.

There are plenty of techniques to get the person you are looking for, and hopefully, after having exhausted all of these methods, you were able to find some impressive candidates for you and your event. Now you can get in touch with them and tell them about your project. Good luck!

Do you know other ways of finding a photographer? I would love to hear your methods! 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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A group of people being portrayed during the 70th Anniversary event of Queen Paola

Do I need a photographer for my event?

You are organizing an event for your company, or a client, taking care of all the details so everything goes well and as planned. Then that question arises: “Do I need a photographer for my event?”

Before answering that, let’s look at other questions that could help you better organize your thoughts around this.

Why do we need pictures of our event?

Photographs are an essential visual asset for communications and marketing. Pictures help us to better engage and connect with past events by creating memories that we can revisit and share. If your organization finds it relevant to talk about the event, then you should take pictures.

Maybe I can take the pictures myself?

If you feel you are quite good at taking pictures and have a decent camera or cellphone, you may consider doing it yourself. You will save some money, and manage to get a couple of shots here and there for communications. Remember, though, that doing all this takes time, and as an organizer, you also have other tasks to take care of, maybe even be on stage or engage with guests. More often than not, you will be involved in the organizational details of the event. The least of your worries will be to snap a photo.

How about having a team member taking pictures?

Definitely, and they can probably do it quite well, given that they have the time, knowledge, and right material to take the pictures needed. If you prefer using someone internally, my recommendation is for you to have them take photos throughout the event, and not interrupt them with other organizational tasks. If an internal person is not something you have, and you need pictures of the event, the best is to go for a professional photographer.

Is a photographer the right solution? 

You can get by and use an internal person or snap away from your cellphone for quick social media communications. However, getting a professional photographer for your event should be the right solution when looking for high-quality pictures that represent the event in its entirety. Some photographers could also offer to give you some photos during the event itself for your communications if that’s something you find valuable.

What is the added value of using a professional photographer?

A professional photographer, in short, should understand how to document the event in the right way, able to follow the schedule and stay out of your way. You, as an organizer, will be able to concentrate on the event itself and not worry about the pictures, thus, removing a burden off your shoulders. At the same time, you will end up with great photos taken by a professional.

What is the role of the photographer?

The role of the photographer is to visually catch the most important moments and help those who were not there feel like they were present. The right photographer will know how to move around without annoying your guests and document everything smoothly and professionally. I believe an event photographer should be an active observer rather than an active participant.

So, do you need a photographer for your event?
  • – If you want to have longlasting high-quality visual memories of your event for communication and marketing purposes, and
  • – If, as an organizer, you value your time and want to be worry-free throughout the event.

Then, the answer should be YES, get a photographer, and enjoy yourself!


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