Advice On Commissioning Commercial Photography
We are keen for them to be able to make an informed and like-for-like choice for their particular photography project Inside Out Photography (IOP) therefore aims to give free no-obligation advice to help them compare on a balanced footing.
To that end, on this page you will find some questions, answers and advice you may find useful in your pursuit of a successful photography project.
If there are any questions that you would prefer to ask us directly, please contact us. We like to chat and are happy take the time to discuss your needs without any obligation on your part.
Why Do You Need a Professional Photographer?
Now; if the images are for internal use only, that might be sufficient.
However, while Fred might be an ace warehouse supervisor that your company depends on. Do you really want to rely on his his creative skills to successfully promote your business over your competitors and ensure your commercial future.
To quote 'Red Adair' “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”. Your promotional material is likely to be the first impression a potential customer has of your business. If you really want to make a positive statement about your business quality, use a professional photographer.
Can’t I just use images from the internet?
However ‘BE AWARE’ many of these images will be copyright protected. It is a criminal offence to use these images without permission and potentially makes you liable for payment of a fee or compensation to the copyright holder.
This may sound dramatic, but as with being ‘found in procession of stolen goods’ this liability is not mitigated by ignorance of the law or, perhaps more crucially whether the image was received by you in good faith, for instance supplied by your web designer!
The bottom line is that it pays to ’do your homework’ and ensure you have a right to use all images on your website and if you don't recognise an image, check where it came from.
For your own protection ensure that your designer can prove that the images are either 'copyright free' or that permission has been granted by the copyright holder, otherwise it could end up costing you a lot more than if you had simply paid a modest image-usage fee. Remember it will be YOU the web owner that will be legally deemed to be in breach of copyright and legally responsible for all website content, not your advertising agency or website designers.
What about stock photography?
The first type is called ‘royalty free’. Typically, you purchase a disc of images on a particular subject, which you can then use as many times as you wish for no additional fee. The problem with this type of photography is that they are usually bargain-basement generic images, similar to buying cheap one-size-fits-all clothing from a street vendor.
The second type of stock photography involves paying a fee! These are higher quality and available on a wider range of subject matter, to be likened to better quality off-the-peg clothing. However fee-paying stock photography can be expensive, especially at the ‘quality’ end! These images will also certainly carry restrictions in regard to, for how long(One, Two years), in what form (web use, brochure, poster, exhibition, TV), and where you publish images (UK, Europe, USA, World-Wide)!
Unlike commissioned commercial photography, both types of stock images are by their nature, generic and widely used, possibly even by your direct competitors. These images can not represent your company in the same way as tailored-to-fit bespoke images.
Do photography qualifications mean anything?
We all live in the real world and have met qualified professionals in all fields who ‘fall-well-short of the mark’. Nether-the-less if a photographer holds qualifications from a recognised professional body* and has won awards competing against other professionals, it has to mean something!
However be warned there are some photographic organisations who allow their members to use ‘letters after their name’ by virtue of simply paying a membership fee, these are NOT recognised qualifications bodies!
The two main UK bodies that assess standards and grade professional membership are the British Institute of Professional Photography BIPP* and The Association of Photographers AOP*.
Do professional photography awards mean anything?</h2>
However professional awards administrated by qualifying professional bodies such as the BIPP, FEP, and IOP are usually judged by established members of the profession.
Awards such as these should carry more credence, for a list of the awards won by Bernard O’Sullivan the proprietor of IOP, visit our awards page.
How long will the photography take?
Will my deadline be met?
As with everything in life, quality work takes time!
Please remember that there is also an onus on you the client, to allow sufficient time for the photographer to do the job to the highest standard, this includes allowing for bad weather, or delays in your supply chain.
Do I need a photographer experienced in my industry?
Will standards be maintained on future commissions?
Unfortunately; we have all experienced a wonderful first visit to a restaurant, followed by a disappointing second visit, usually after you have sung-their-praises to all your friends.
Inside Out Photography is passionate about constantly pushing our professional standards, we treat each shoot as if it were the most important client and commission we have so far dealt with. We truly believe if we are not moving forwards, then we are DEFINITELY moving backwards!
To us each job is an opportunity, and reflects on us personally.
Does it matter what equipment a photographer uses?
However that said; it is reasonable and vital, to expect a high professional standard of equipment. Whilst images for web use, do not require high-resolution equipment, it is worthwhile remembering that at a later date, you may want to use those same images for reception display prints or exhibition panels.
Ensure your chosen photographer has a suitable high-resolution professional camera system with the high quality camera optics, you need for BIG images with plenty of sharp detail.
Aren't camera phones good enough?
If the ’claimed’ resolution of mobile telephones and consumer cameras actually produced top quality large scale images, working photographers would not invest many thousands of pounds on high-resolution cameras and a wide range of expensive professional lenses, including specialist perspective-control optics.
Are photography lights needed these days?
Almost all subjects benefit greatly from sophisticated lighting techniques using a myriad of light shaping accessories coupled with the knowledge of where to add lighting to control what people notice and really ‘make your products come alive’.
It is therefore simply unprofessional to turn up to a shoot at a high tech factory with a hand-held camera and using on-camera flash, it will not help to showcase your company at its best.
IOP always carry supplementary lighting, using up to Eleven lighting heads (approximately 6600 watts) coupled with over Forty years of professional experience.
What sort of work can you do?
How many people work at Inside Out?
When you book Inside Out Photography you get the benefit of Forty years award-winning professional experience from Bernard O’Sullivan IOP personally.
How much do you charge for photography?
There is no simple answer to this one, every job varies in complexity: from site characteristics to lighting requirements and project logistics and budget restrictions. We therefore prefer to supply an accurate bespoke quote based on as much information as the client can supply about their specific needs.
Having said that, IOP do have a starting-point day rate for photography between £650.00 & £750.00 (+ VAT). This rate can be modified for larger projects.
Is post-production and re-touching included?
More complex digital re-touching such as ultra high-resolution product composites, laying Tarmac, replacing skies, digital landscaping, or digital product finishing, will be itemised separately.
Do you charge for travelling?
However as travelling uses increasingly expensive fuel and takes potential photography time, we do have a lower hourly charge for travel, but we are flexible and reasonable. We also take into account the overall scale of the time on site.
How far will you travel?
What about hidden charges?
However, if extra shots are either requested or present themselves, we will inform you of any additional charges before proceeding.
How much input do I have in the photographs?
However, photography is subjective and its often a case of "How would you like your steak cooked?".
IOP strongly believes that a photographic project approached on a 'Think-Tank' basis makes for a better tailor-made result, ultimately the only opinion that matters, is the client's.
How many photographs do I get to choose from?
However; we do NOT ‘hedge our bets’, our Forty plus years experience tells us that the message if more effective if we prioritise costly site-time and concentrate on a smaller number of carefully chosen images, and only providing meaningful creative alternatives.
The above not withstanding, we are not prima-donnas we will give you the shots you want!
How are my images delivered?
What about copyright?
For our full terms and conditions please follow this link. IOP will automatically grant full image-licence of supplied images as long as the invoice(s) are settled in full!
We do not, however, allow for our images to be passed on to third parties such as fellow contractors, unless agreed in advance in writing.
Will you sell my images to others?
IOP will not re-sell your commissioned photography to any third party, or include the images in an image library, without your permission. This is conditional on the relevant invoice(s) being settled in full.
However we request the right to use any non-confidential images for our own publicity purposes.
What about confidentiality?
As commercial photographers, we are regularly privy to sensitive information, such as new industrial processes, client’s future business expansion plans, product releases, or new contracts. It is essential that this privileged information remains private.
If your chosen photographer is willing to impart information about your competitors to you; it is likely that they will also discuss your plans with your rivals!
IOP usually shoots through a laptop and will always ask if there is anything in the shot that is commercial sensitive before we save it.
IOP respects privileged information, and all industrial or commercial processes observed, and agree not to publish or use in competition, any images which are deemed to be confidential.
What insurance do you have?
In addition to PLI IOP believes that it is also wise to ensure that your chosen photographer has Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).
Life is unpredictable, and often the delivery of a completed photography project is time sensitive. On those ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ occasions that something does go wrong, you the client might incur expenses such as industrial fair exhibition stand booking fees or missed brochure printing deadlines.
IOP have never once missed a deadline in Forty years and although PII cannot guarantee your project will be delivered on time, but it will financially protect all parties in the event of late or non-delivery, etc.!In compliance with UK law.
Accordingly IOP have public liability insurance to £5 million. In addition to this we also carry professional indemnity insurance of £70,000.
How do I commission you?
We are quite happy to visit our regional clients in order to discuss the shoot in greater detail without any obligation.
Will you keep me informed on my projects progress?
How long do you keep images on file for?
IMPORTANT: If you DO NOT wish us to retain said image(s), you MUST inform IOP by clearly worded email, instructing us to erase/dispose of all files, in this instance.
Note: IOP will not be liable in any form for the subsequent lost of the images by the commissioning client or their agents.
Are you a member of any professional body?
How do I prepare for a photoshoot?
In IOP's experience any early reservations are always dispelled once clients start to view results, see the quality of the resulting images and begin to understand why so much time and effort is worthwhile.
However there are certain things you the client can do in advance to ensure you get the most out of our time on the shoot day.
Exteriors: If you require exterior photographs, please plan your deadlines to allow for possible sustained poor weather. This increases the likelihood of the photographer being able to shoot under optimum lighting conditions.
Site Preparation: Ensure as much as is practical that machine, or areas to be photographed are tidy, and remove anything in the subject area and background that to prefer not to show.
This will help to avoid time-expensive delays waiting for areas to be cleaned and ensure that photography time on site is as efficient as possible.
Staff Availability: When of site IOP's aim to be as independent as possible, however it is vital that any staff with essential knowledge of the processes to be photographed will definitely be present and available on the shoot-date.
This will avoid any tensions if the photographer requires input or-co-operation from busy staff. Advanced planning by you and your staff will the photographer to give you the best results possible capturing exactly what you need to show and will help to keep costs down
Deadlines: In a similar vein, ensure you let your photographer know as early as possible about any deadlines you need to meet as well as any logistical time restrictions regarding when a particular process or person is best photographed.
Having said all of the above IOP is professional to the core and will work within any necessary restrictions.
Your image is your future: trust it to a true professional!
Inside Out photography are award-winning commercial photographers operating from
Manchester and Tideswell, serving the North West, Midlands, UK wide and central Europe
T 07831 344 722 - E firstname.lastname@example.org
Pen-y-Ghent, Manchester Road, Tideswell, Derbyshire, SK17 8LL
151 Braemar Road, Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6PN *
* Office and image-restoration drop-off only.