When you commission a commercial photographer for a shoot, there are certain things you kind of take for granted and perhaps don't even think about when you decide who you are going to trust to shoot the images
you need for your latest highly expensive product campaign or for headshots of your new MD to feature in your soon-to-be-published company report. However, if the photographer utters these words to you at just
the wrong time it could spell disaster for you, your shoot and who knows what else as a consequence. Lets look at what they are..
1. The camera that's stopped working is the only one I have.
If there's one thing that brings a shoot to a grinding halt and leaves everyone looking at each other for someone to blame, it's a camera that's stopped taking pictures. A professional photographer will always have a second camera body in case their first camera stops working. That same pro knows how important it is to be able to keep on working if the worst happens. If you've put a lot of time and money into setting up a shoot and you are left to pack up and go home because your photographer has not covered for a failed camera, that's not going to look good when you return without the images. Before booking a photographer, check they take at least two cameras on a commission.
The same goes for memory cards or even batteries. Don't take enough on a shoot and you're stuck without them, it's always better to have too many than not enough. Nobody ever got sacked for taking too many batteries on a shoot but I could see a problem if a camera, flash or trigger stopped working because the batteries ran out and there are no spare to replace them.
2. I can hand-hold it, I don't need a tripod.
If there's one thing an image must be is sharp. Blurred images are next to useless. Nobody will want a blurred image. (Unless of course a blurred image was called for then you are on to a winner and you can ignore this.) The number one cause of a blurred image is hand-holding a camera at low shutter speeds. To sort that, a tripod anchors that camera and removes the risk of blur right there.
3. Public liability insurance? Nah, I don't need that.
Nobody means to cause an accident when they are out working but these things happen. If something serious happens to a third party because of an incident on or around a shoot, that is deemed to be the fault of the photographer or a member of their team, it's highly possible they are liable for any costs that arise as a result of that incident. However if they aren't covered for this liability, how does this effect you and your business? Perhaps you are liable? Of course I can only describe in general terms what could happen but it's important that the photographer has taken precautions and is covered by public liability insurance.
4. I only work with natural light.
In other words, I'm not very confident with using flash. As much as we all love to work outside with the Sun as our main light source, there are many shoots that require the use of flash. Inside, a shoot is almost always going to need flash and very often even outdoors flash is used. This means a photographer has to be as practised and confident with using artificial lights as they would be with shooting outdoors with only the Sun as the lightsource. When selecting a photographer, ask to see examples of work that show the use of flash both indoors and out.
5. Hang on a minute, I need my camera manual.
Today's professional cameras are packed with features, many of which will only be used every now and again. However the photographer should know that camera's most used settings inside-out, being able to make changes almost without thinking. If that photographer suddenly finds they're expected to make a shot using a feature they rarely use, this is probably a sign that some part of that shoot is out-of-the-blue and unplanned. Another bad sign. The photographer should have a very good idea about what they have to shoot and how they are going to do it before any pictures are taken. This comes down to the photogarpher and the client planning a shoot beforehand to avoid any surprises on the day.
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