Forums > General Industry > Before Hiring a Photographer Ask These 8 Questions

Model

Aaron Marcus

Posts: 31

Baltimore, Maryland, US

If you need a headshot or commercial test shots, always ask these 8 questions to make
sure you are hiring the perfect photographer. https://youtu.be/_Fh3CU_K-w8

Jun 07 22 08:06 am Link

Photographer

Rhea Monson

Posts: 28

Walnut Grove, Alabama, US

might be interesting, if you could hear the guy.
tried 2 computers, hadn't heard him yet.

Jun 07 22 09:55 am Link

Photographer

AndysPrints

Posts: 521

Falls Church, Virginia, US

Same. There looks to have been an issue with the sound at the time of filming. More frustrating than helpful. I couldn't make out one word.

Jun 07 22 10:52 am Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11344

Olney, Maryland, US

I had no problem. I always use ear phones, I don't know if that made the difference.

Jun 07 22 06:40 pm Link

Photographer

LightDreams

Posts: 3420

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The sound was there for me, just very quiet.  It's at a much lower volume than most random YouTube clips that I compared it to.  So it's possible that it may just be luck of the draw as to how someone's sound is set up for their typical YouTube viewing, and what their surroundings are like, etc.

Having said that, it's certainly enough of an issue that I would seriously suggest looking at the issue, when it comes time to produce some more YouTube videos.

Aaron Marcus, I hope that helps!

Jun 07 22 08:30 pm Link

Photographer

Shadow Dancer

Posts: 9507

Bellingham, Washington, US

I turned my speakers all the way up and I could hear the advice given - which was straightforward, common sense and will be very helpful to many.

My turn to help. If your microphone is part of your camera that is taking the video, it is too far away.
You need more gain. A separate microphone placed out of sight below the subject, maybe a foot back and angled upwards will increase volume. Some mics have more output than others, that can be a problem as well as a solution depending on ambient noise in the location.

One of my favorite high gain mics is the Blue Encore 300. Used they can be under $100 if you shop carefully. It does require phantom power and does not accept a battery so you may need a separate phantom power supply, those are affordable also.
An Aston Element is another great high output mic, those are harder to find used and a bit more expensive.

If you are going to continue making videos, a higher gain on the voice is an absolute must do. You may have local sources for sound advice and equipment, by all means utilize those if you do. Good luck!!!!

On thinking about it, if you just want a simple dynamic mic the Heil PR40 is excellent for your purpose. Used $200-ish if you are patient.

Jun 07 22 09:18 pm Link

Photographer

Mark Salo

Posts: 11344

Olney, Maryland, US

Yes the sound is rather quiet but is not distorted.

I find myself constantly adjusting the volume for individual YouTube videos.

Jun 08 22 04:32 am Link

Photographer

Studio NSFW

Posts: 501

Pacifica, California, US

Jun 08 22 07:32 pm Link

Photographer

Curt at photoworks

Posts: 31811

Riverside, California, US

Aaron Marcus wrote:
If you need a headshot or commercial test shots, always ask these 8 questions to make
sure you are hiring the perfect photographer. https://youtu.be/_Fh3CU_K-w8

I learned something new. Until now, I had no idea that a perfect photographer existed.

Jun 29 22 11:36 pm Link

Photographer

G Reese

Posts: 830

Marion, Indiana, US

Couldn't help but notice  none of you left a comment for the guy. That's ok, I toke care of that  :-).

Jun 30 22 06:04 pm Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 486

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

Usually it's the photographer who hires the model, perhaps after the client has hired the photographer, in commercial photography. But there you go.

"Don't pay out a lot of money for a set of headshots" is good advice for prospective fashion models. The model agencies don't want headshots, they want full length pictures. Check their websites.

Jul 01 22 06:54 am Link

Photographer

SayCheeZ!

Posts: 20380

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

JSouthworth wrote:
Usually it's the photographer who hires the model, perhaps after the client has hired the photographer, in commercial photography. But there you go.

I dunno 'bout that.

Almost every commercial gig that I've shot the model was hired by the company that hired me.  They pay the model to pose and the photographer to shoot the photos and that's about it.

The VERY FEW exceptions are some small businesses that don't have the connections or resources to obtain model on their own, then they'll leave it up to me to find and hire a model.  Once again, these are small (meaning tiny) 'mom and pop' companies and I can count the times I've done that on one hand.

Ask any REAL model agent the percentage of photographers that hire models through them compared to the percentage of ad agencies, manufacturers, retailers, and DMC's that hire models through their service and you'll most likely come up with a number that's close to zero...

... but there ya go!

Jul 01 22 11:34 am Link

Clothing Designer

veypurr

Posts: 429

Albuquerque, New Mexico, US

Aaron Marcus wrote:
If you need a headshot or commercial test shots, always ask these 8 questions to make
sure you are hiring the perfect photographer. https://youtu.be/_Fh3CU_K-w8

I'm not going ask any of those questions because I don't like people telling me what to do.

Jul 01 22 04:50 pm Link

Photographer

JSouthworth

Posts: 486

Kingston upon Hull, England, United Kingdom

SayCheeZ!  wrote:
I dunno 'bout that.

Almost every commercial gig that I've shot the model was hired by the company that hired me.  They pay the model to pose and the photographer to shoot the photos and that's about it.

The VERY FEW exceptions are some small businesses that don't have the connections or resources to obtain model on their own, then they'll leave it up to me to find and hire a model.  Once again, these are small (meaning tiny) 'mom and pop' companies and I can count the times I've done that on one hand.

Ask any REAL model agent the percentage of photographers that hire models through them compared to the percentage of ad agencies, manufacturers, retailers, and DMC's that hire models through their service and you'll most likely come up with a number that's close to zero...

... but there ya go!

In all the photo shoots I've done, I was the person who selected the model. And they were all recruited through model photography websites, not model agencies. But I don't do fashion work in the usual sense. If I did, I would at least expect to have a say in the choice of model for a shoot.

Jul 02 22 03:15 am Link

Photographer

Dan Howell

Posts: 3416

Kerhonkson, New York, US

JSouthworth wrote:
In all the photo shoots I've done, I was the person who selected the model. And they were all recruited through model photography websites, not model agencies. But I don't do fashion work in the usual sense. If I did, I would at least expect to have a say in the choice of model for a shoot.

You know that fashion shoots are more than just models who are wearing clothes, right?

Again this is another thing that I will explain without the hope that you will understand. I have been a professional fashion photographer for a couple decades now. Mostly catalog and some magazines. In addition, have shot hundreds of glamour/mens' magazine layouts. Over that breadth of experience, I have worked with models I hired and models I was assigned to photograph which were hired by my clients. On the majority of fashion projects, the models were hired by the client, generally in a process that included a live casting and in some cases an additional fitting for the specific wardrobe for the shoot.

What I have found is that being knowledgeable about the current state of available models across all agencies and websites is very nearly a full time job. It is generally time that a freelance photographer can not monetize except by holding castings for a specific project and billing the client for that time. I find those occasions rare and generally only covers expenses. However, art directors, fashion editors and marketing directors are salaried employees and can spend a portion of their work day dealing with models and agencies. Additionally, I don't know any photographer who is experienced in dressmaking to the level they are more capable than their clients or stylists in fitting wardrobe to the model.

Only the smallest of fashion projects, I have found, leave casting of models up to the photographer. Fashion clients, whether they are designers, magazines or catalogs, have particular needs for their specific marketing objectives. That means more than just fitting into their samples, even though that is not as simple of a proposition as many people thing. Their objectives can be influenced by their intended market, their past marketing efforts and their budget. It is easily conceivable that a photographer hired for one day or one project would not be privy to all of that information. In those cases, do you really think that the photographer is the best one to make a decision as to which model to hire?

Jul 02 22 03:48 am Link

Photographer

SayCheeZ!

Posts: 20380

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

JSouthworth wrote:
But I don't do fashion work in the usual sense. If I did, I would at least expect to have a say in the choice of model for a shoot.

I was not talking JUST about fashion shoots but commercial projects in general as was your original message.  I typically don't do fashion shoots because that's a whole different field of it's own and except for a few small boutiques and a trade show the need for fashion photographers in my area is nil.

My original answer was much longer before I shortened it and was almost identical to Dan's but from the commercial product perspective which I have experience in.  Commercial product meaning shooting photos of models eating and drinking, sitting in a comfy chair, playing a slot machine, holding a new electronic gizmo, and photos involving models interacting with or using any one of millions of products that are seen in advertisements, catalogues and press releases.

In projects that have the biggest budgets (which I've worked on as a technician, not a photographer) there is NO WAY they'd allow the photographer to choose the model.  In most of those cases there's teams of advertising and marketing people that have been working on a concept for months or even years.  They often use market research companies to get public opinions on details like which shade of a certain color should be used in any particular element of the image, and they do it over and over using people that fit their target demographic.

Those campaigns are usually cloaked in secrecy to insure a competitive advantage.  A slight leak regarding the product or even who's involved with it can KILL the whole campaign if a competitor finds out about it and beats the company to the punch with a similar product or ad.  For that reason people are hired at the appropriate time.  Photographers, models, and other people aren't hired until the end of concept development which is when the shoot happens. 

It's done that way for many reasons, mainly having to do with secrecy.  An NDA is a strong document that most of the people involved must sign, but it's still NO GUARANTEE against leaks that could cause the company to lose everything that they've worked for.  Because of that the people selected to actually shoot the ad are figuratively the last people on the list to be hired.

In those cases the photographer is there just to 'shut up and shoot' and the model(s) are there to 'shut up and pose', and neither gets to call any of the shots because the creative team has already spent a boatload of time developing and shaping the concept according to what their research finds as the best for their target demographic and not some middle age photographer.

It may sound kind of stodgey that the photographers and models get very little if any input involving the shoot, and many art directors are stereotyped as such, however in reality most of those type of shoots that I've experienced (as a tech) are still fun and everyone is friendly with each other and comments from photographers and models involved are declined with respect. (yes, there's some intended sarcasm in that last sentence).

While the previous stuff I stated pertains to high end huge budget shoots most of the elements hold true for most commercial shoots that don't have nearly the amount of funds to produce.  (I have worked as a tech on big budget shoots and as the photographer in a few that were low/no budget to medium budget).

Don't even get me started on the difference in paperwork and legal situations that develop if a company doesn't hire both the photographer and model on a 'work for hire' basis.

Dan Howell explained very well how commercial fashion shoots work and quite frankly it seems the two types of shoots are identical (except I just now learned that there's even more headaches to deal with in the fashion world than the product shooting world).

It's also the same way in the TV/Movie industry.  The camera operators are just there to shut up and point the camera where the director tells them to aim it.  The camera operator has NO SAY in which performers are hired and the camera operators are work for hire employees that have no copyright claims to the images they capture.

JSouthworth wrote:
But I don't do fashion work in the usual sense. If I did, I would at least expect to have a say in the choice of model for a shoot.

That's probably why you don't do fashion work in the usual sense (if you've ever actually done commercial and/or fashion work at all). 

Your expectations are totally out of line with reality, therefore your original statement that is pretending to be said with authority "Usually it's the photographer who hires the model, perhaps after the client has hired the photographer, in commercial photography. But there you go"  should not have been made because it's false and has absolutely no basis on reality.

Jul 02 22 06:22 am Link