Thursday, January 16, 2014

Important Facts: Hiring a Commercial Photographer

1. Equipment: When hiring a photographer equipment can or cannot tell you how well the images will come out. Such as if any person who buys $10,000 worth of photography equipment does not mean they will produce very high quality images. It only means they have the opportunity to create high quality images. You will need to know based from the portfolio images presented that is the quality you want to hire for, so you will need an experienced eye to help you hire the right commercial photographer. 

2. Education: Honestly in the photography industry we have “officially” educated and the “non-officially” educated, both are irrelevant because it comes down to skills shown in a portfolio. It is only relevant when photographers hire other photographers for some photography studios. 

3. Rights: 

                  a. When hiring a commercial photographer it is understandably assumed you’d “own” the images as you hired them to do a job. Unfortunately that isn’t true unless it is clearly mentioned in a written contract before the production of the photos. But in most cases is you hire for the labor and production of the photos and then talk about rights. Automatically when a photographer clicks the button on their camera they own the copyrights to that photograph. That photograph, either worthless or worthy images, is considered intellectual property (IP). Just like every other uniquely designed pieces in the world, like car designs, buildings, a person’s face, a logo, or sketch and many, many other types of art. Some photographers could care less about their IP, but the serious photography businesses in the photography industry takes rights very seriously when its mishandled especially when it’s their own work being abused. 

                     b. Rights if mishandled or misinterpreted it can spell extreme consequences‎ or warnings of copyright infringement. Please only work with those photographers that have clear, and spell out every detail of what is allowed and not allowed with the copyright licenses you purchase. 

               c. Purchasing Copyrights: It is not recommended to anyone to purchase a copyright unless secrecy and lifetime ownership without limitations on the photos is the goal then it is recommended. But most of the time most commercial companies will not use a photo after 5 or so years to ensure they are modern and up-to-date to the world they will hire and renew their photo library for marketing and other purposes. The cost of a copyright will generally cost many times more than copyright license would. A license is something like a lease or rental of property, but with limitations mentioned and discussed in a contract. Such as for example, you can get a very broad use license to just all advertising use, or a more narrow use to advertise in 1 magazine. These 2 types of licenses will vary in costs photographer to photographer but it could be a huge difference from broad use licenses and narrow uses depending the photographer’s style in licensing their images. d. Royalty Free: Not all licenses will be royalty free, some photographer’s or pre-packaged designed licenses may add royalties requires, just ensure to read the contracts regarding copyrights and licensing, if there is one, if not be very worried of the photographer as it can cause some potential issues of not knowing what to do and not to do with the images. 

4. Post Production and Editing: After a production generally people, who are not in the photography industry will assume, that’s it… No need to edit as the back of the LCD screen of the camera you saw images “Looking Perfect!”. But in reality it is not. Generally when you look at that same image on a bigger monitor you can see a lot more details plus technical errors that cost the reputation of the photographer and your company if they are not caught in post production to either attempt to fix that error or discard that photo entirely. All subjects from people, products, or even buildings, they all need editing in post production. Depending the photographer and their team (if they have one) it can take some time (also depending the amount of images they are delivering). It could easily be a week to even 6 months or more!

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