Why hire a professional photographer? This is a question I here a lot, especially since the rise of digital photography. I recently found two articles (not written by photographers!) that explain how the use of quality photography is integral to your business.
This first excerpt is about hiring a professional photographer for a political campaign, though it could apply to any business's advertising and marketing endeavors.
Photography can be the key to a successful direct mail campaign. When it comes to direct mail, you get approximately five seconds of a voter's time between the mailbox and the trash can so you need to make those five seconds as eye catching and powerful as possible. In a misguided attempt to save resources, many campaigns skimp on one of the most crucial aspects of direct mail--photography. It's akin to building your dream house on a dirt foundation. All of the work you put into your mail program--the research, writing and strategy--won't be as effective if the piece is dragged down by low resolution, amateurish, overtly political photos taken by a well-meaning volunteer.
A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in political mail. A compelling and unusual photo can leap out of the rest of the clutter in the mailbox and get you those precious seconds of voter attention. A few tips on getting the right image to make your point:
Hire a professional photographer, not your neighbor who has a new digital camera (unless he or she is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer in which case I hope they have better equipment). Spend the money on a real shoot with a real photographer....
Chadderdon, Liz. "Don't Skimp on the Visual - It Seals the Deal." Politics (Campaigns and Elections). May 2010.
This second excerpt is about using photos that best illustrate your brand.
The right picture truly is worth a thousand words. It can tell your story, showcase your products, and intrigue, interest or excite your audience. But the wrong picture--well, there's a whole other phrase that describes that: Not worth the paper it's printed on. Problem is, how do you tell the difference?
A good photo or illustration communicates more quickly and leaves a longer lasting impression than words alone. It's the old left brain/right brain thing. There is an emotional and a rational aspect to every communication, and you want to enhance both. The right picture can make people read the words. The right words can make people internalize the message. The visuals you use will create a perception of your (company) in the minds of the people who see them. Make sure it's the perception you want.
There's no way to tell you exactly how much you should pay for professional photography, since so much is dependent on the specifics of your job: How many pictures? Of what? Where? When? Even where you are located geographically makes a huge difference in photo costs. The best advice is to check around. Look at photographers' portfolios, find a few whose work you like, and get several quotes. Often photographers negotiate based on use.
Before you send any image off to a publication, ask yourself if that image would stop you, engage you, interest you. Then answer yourself truthfully.
The bottom line is, the better your photos, the better you'll look. It's worth the time and trouble to get it right.
Muhleman, Janet. "Picture Your Brand." Franchising World, February 2005.