How to choose your next advertising photographer

Posted on Nov 20th 2014

Choosing the right advertising photographer can be a daunting task, not least because there are so many photographers out there. Many of them claim to do exactly what you need at a very reasonable price and have stunning glossy portfolios available online – so how do you choose the right one for your advertising campaign?

Check their portfolio

When choosing the right advertising photographer to bring your campaign to life, start with their portfolio. Normally, these are available online so you can sift out the ones that aren't suitable with a simple Google search and a flick through their online works.

If you have found a photographer which looks like he or she does work you are impressed with, have a look around the rest of their website to see if they have won any awards for their work or have any testimonials from clients you recognise and respect.

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Check their portfolio image

Professional photographers usually use social media to promote their work so a quick look at their work on Google+ or Facebook is another good way of seeing what type of work they have been doing outside of their uber-glossy website portfolios.

Create a tight brief

It is essential, when employing the services of any supplier, that you know exactly what you want. Make sure you have a tight and concise brief written before you start looking at different photographers. A clear idea of the objective your advertising photographer has to achieve will help you, and them, produce the results you are looking for.

When you are creating your photography brief, it is a good idea to give your advertising photographer some background of the product or service being promoted and some context of the advertising campaign can be really useful to spark the creative juices.

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Create a tight brief image

If you have any prerequisites for your photography, it is useful to flag these up in the brief, too. These can include specific colours which have to be included (or excluded) due to brand consistency, or your products being used in a particular context. This can avoid you and your photographer wasting time on scenarios and ideas which aren’t going to work.

It is also a good idea to think about the cultural implications of your advertising photography. Different cultures around the world react differently to certain images. For example, when advertising women’s skin foundation, cosmetic brands need to portray a range of skin tones representing different cultures using their products. Showing their products on Caucasian models only would have far less impact in Africa and Asia.

Meet them in person

It is always a good idea to meet any potential new supplier in person as this will give you an idea of how well you will be able to work with them throughout your advertising campaign and possibly beyond.

There is every chance you will be spending quite a bit of time with your photographer as you attend shoots, direct him or her through your catalogue of requirements and liaise with them throughout the post production process.

When spending this much time with a supplier it is essential you can communicate with them effectively and get on well. Assuming they have all of the right credentials and a smart portfolio, a compatible personality is essential as you work together to bring your advertising campaign to life.

Ask the right questions

When you do meet your potential photographer in person, make sure you know what questions you would like to ask before you go into the meeting.

Some key questions to ask your potential advertising photographer are:

  • Why do you think you will do a good job for my advertising campaign?
  • How will you make my products stand out in the market place?
  • What contexts do you think would work well for my products?
  • Have you photographed any other similar products to mine?
  • How successful is your previous advertising photography?

Ask them about extras

As with any supplier, it is important you are clear from the start and know exactly what you are paying for and what is included in the price. This will avoid any nasty shocks along the way.

You may require additional shots of your products from different angles or in different contexts if your original idea is insufficient. Ensure you talk to your photographer about this possibility before you commit to anything so you can gauge their flexibility. There are a number of reasons you may require more shots than originally discussed but you need to know, upfront, how flexible your photographer can be and how much any additional work may cost.

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Ask them about extras image

If you pre-warn most photographers of any potential issues, they will normally try to work around them as best as they can.

Talk to them about post production costs

Similarly, post production costs can spiral if they are not agreed in advance.

Post production editing can be a lengthy and time consuming process, especially if there is any miscommunication or misunderstanding about what is required. For this reason, we would always recommend clarifying exactly what is included in the price you are quoted. If you feel you may require additional editing or reworking, ensure you and your photographer know what may be required and ask for a price for this additional work so you know what you are budgeting for upfront.


Choosing your advertising photographer can be a really personal decision because they are bringing your advertising campaign to life and if they don’t see in their head, exactly want you want, they aren't going to do your campaign justice.

The three golden rules for choosing the right advertising photographer for you are;

  1. Don’t rush into making a decision – do your research
  2. Write a tight brief – be clear and concise
  3. Regular communication - avoid any misunderstandings

We hope you found this post useful and if you would like any more information about how photography can help bring your advertising and marketing activity to life, get in touch.