7 Mistakes To Avoid

When Hiring A Commercial Videographer / Photographer.

1. Engaging with a photographer / videographer that you’ve never spoken to.

Ask yourself: Does this contractor really understand my brand and business objectives?

There are so many things, both subtle and grand, that separate media production companies. One of the more important qualities that you should be looking for when finding the right fit for your business is the value that they provide. Value is not judged by how many free or additional products they throw in, but rather how have they helped your business outside of providing exactly what they are contracted to do. Did they collaborate with you to find your specific needs so that they can be met and exceeded? How have they helped you in ways you didn’t think a photographer / videographer would or could? What else are they experts in that they have openly shared with you? Is it obvious that they truly care? All of these things play a huge role not just in your final product, but also your overall satisfaction in working with the people helping take your business to the next level.

2. Believing that quality comes from camera skills and forgetting about people skills.

Ask yourself: How would you like to spend days working hand in hand with a negative, self-righteous, and unfriendly person that produces great work?

What would your days and the overall project feel like if you worked hand in hand with a knowledgable, friendly, open and positive person that produces great work? Each individual will provide every job with a drastically different overall feeling, and in turn, different results as well.

3. Hiring a jack of all trades.

Ask yourself: Are you expecting a masterpiece from using someone who produces work in an array of styles and niches?

If you want a beautiful piece of custom made mahogany furniture that will perfectly bring your whole room together, can a handyman build it to your specs? Maybe. Will a master furniture maker who has a passion for fine detail not only meet but exceed your expectations? Most likely. Much is the same with photographers and videographers. It’s nice to get a fresh perspective from someone who doesn’t focus all of their work on a certain genre or style… but, the subtle differences in the entire experience of working with that person will differ greatly from working with a master of the craft. It is worth working with someone who is passionate about your niche and knows it like the back of their hand.

4. Hiring based solely on the size of the company.

Remind yourself: The smallest companies can create the greatest impacts.

This is largely dependent on the size of your project. If you find the right person to captain your ship, they can make nearly anything happen, with the right team in place. Sometimes a small production does not fit your brief, and other times having a small crew adds to the intimacy and overall look and feel of your end result. The message you send through your visuals is paramount. Don’t take a company out of the mix just because of how big you think the company needs to be.  More people on set does not always elevate your project in an equal amount to the results of the finished product.

5. Making your decision based on price alone.

Remind yourself: Pick up the phone (if they haven’t called you already to go over your quote) and ask any questions you have.

This should go without saying, but still needs to be said. So many things dictate pricing for each individual project, which are then subject to an individual company’s creative expertise, expenses and offerings. Day rates and creative fees, licensing and usage terms, and fees for everything from scouting, data management, equipment rental, talent, travel, meals, etc. can make up a quote. Quotes between companies can still vary drastically based on a few key line items. The best way to approach this is to pick up the phone and ask questions. Don’t dismiss a quote just because the price seems higher than what you’re willing to pay. Ask questions regarding anything you need clarified and make an informed decision from there. You might learn a few things in the process as well for your next project!

6. Not doing your research and comparison of other companies.

Ask yourself: Do Tiffany’s and Walmart provide a different experience for buying a diamond?

You’ve either read stories or lived through them firsthand, and know that although they may sell a few similar diamond cuts, they are two vastly different experiences and end results. You wouldn’t know that without having done proper research and comparison, and only then can you make a decision about the type of company you are looking to do business with. There is an abundance of healthy competition in the commercial photography and videography landscape, and after a bit of research the type of experience that fits best with you should become clear.

7. Hiring based only on the sizzle reel / portfolio.

Remind yourself: Ask to view full length projects, as well as the promotional pieces.

The best of 10 years in 60 seconds / 15 photos!
It’s an awesome way to show what a company is capable of and illustrate their style and talent, but to gauge what your project might closer resemble, dig deeper and ask to see a few projects on their own if they aren’t already available for you to see. Sizzle reels and portfolio pieces are an amazing attraction and give you a glimpse into the recent projects that each company is proud of or passionate about.

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