Best Photographer Melbourne - Nik Epifanidis

Best Photographer in Melbourne

Things to keep in mind when searching for the Best Photographer in Melbourne

Regardless of the service we always want to find the best people for the job. Finding the best photographer for your project can seem like a daunting task especially if you have never used one before. With a bit of research and the right strategy, you should be able to find the best photographer for your project.

Remember to follow some basic rules, and you should be able to find the best photographers in Melbourne that have the right skills for your job.

1: Do your research

The value of doing research is that you can check as many photographers as you like and rule out those you think are not suitable. Check their websites and social media accounts to get an idea of the work they do and their style. Ask colleagues for referrals or even ask some of their previous clients for their opinions. It is unfortunate that in these times there are a lot of people running around with cameras calling themselves professional. This is one of the reasons why the AIPP ( Australian Institute of Professional Photographers ) created a database of all their accredited professional photographers. You can go straight to the AIPP website and search for Pro. At least here you will be sure to find a photographer whose status has been formally validated and recognised by a professional body. See links below

Like most professions, there are specialists within the profession, and this is also very true of most professional photographers. Generally, you will find the best photographers in Melbourne will have an area that they specialise in and where they have gained most of their experience. This might be wedding photography or portraiture, interiors, product etc. When searching for a photographer for a particular project you need to keep this in mind. There is no point finding a wedding photographer and asking them to shoot some product for you. They may be willing to do it, but this should raise some questions about how experienced they are in this area. I’m not saying there aren’t photographers out there that are well versed in a lot of different genres but the photographer who is willing to do anything at the lowest price is usually a red flag.

2: Ask the right questions

Once you have found someone that you think you are happy with, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

How long have they been in business? Check that they are the full-time professional photographer and not just a hobbyist. The difference is usually chalk and cheese. Also, don’t sell yourself short by basing your decision on the cheapest price. Would you go to a trainee doctor???.

Who are their clients? Ask if it is ok to contact one of their existing clients to get some feedback. If they have a good solid client base, they won’t mind.

Do they belong to any professional organisations like the AIPP ?. This is a good indicator to see if you are working with a professional who is bound by a professional code of practice.

Do they have Professional Liability Insurance? This is a question most people don’t even consider. Most Professional photographers will have some form of liability insurance especially if it requires them to work in public places or on clients sites etc. If you hire a photographer to work at your place of work and they or their equipment cause an accident, who will be responsible ???

3: Be prepared and be specific about what you need

Although many photographers may have different fees based on the type of work they do and their level of professionalism there are some basic questions that any should be able to answer quickly.

How do you charge ?? Is it by the hour, half day rate or full day rate? How fixed or flexible are these rates? Do these rates include any post production/editing/retouching work and will you require any?

A good starting point is to consider how many final images you would like to end up with. A seasoned pro will have a pretty good idea of how much time the job will take based on how many final images you will require. It’s no good saying as many as I can get in two hours for $500. You are not paying a photographer for quantity but the quality which takes time to produce and is also dependent on the type of photography. Be wary of a photographer who says he’ll give you all the images on a USB stick.

4: Meet the Photographer

Once you have decided on a photographer that you’d like to work with then set up a meeting so you can see if they are someone you will be happy to work with and also have the right attitude for your project. If you find that there is a personality clash or that they are unwilling to listen to your ideas etc. then find someone else. Like any service, you have to find someone that understands your needs and makes you feel confident about the outcome.

5: Check fees and delivery time

Part of getting the right photographer is having someone that delivers on time is clear about their fees and deliverables and understands any budgetary constraints that you may have. These are things that should be discussed and agreed to before you start any job. If you like the Photographer and the work that they do but feel that their fees are too expensive, then don’t be afraid to ask them how they might be able to work within your budget. Sometimes its as simple as just reducing the scope of work and remember, always go for quality over quantity.

If you have a project that you’d like to discuss feel free to contact me HERE. I’m always happy to have a chat.

Business Branding Photographer - Melbourne

Business Branding

Using Professional Photography to define your Visual Style

No matter what type of business you are, whether that be a service or product it is really important to try and define a brand aesthetic for your business. This not only separates you from your competition but also provides a strong visual identity that will attract potential clients who identify with your aesthetic. It is a known fact that most people make buying decisions are based on the visual information they are receiving. Creating a strong visual style to begin with also provides  you a with a very clear idea of the type of images that you need to create to effectively market your business in the right way. Your visual style should also inform your logo , business cards , packaging , your personal style and your portrait/headshot  … basically YOU! If you are the face of your brand this is even more important. If your potential clients can’t connect you visually with your brand, then they instantly lose confidence. Imagine if you were selling leather handmade dress shoes and potential clients only saw pictures of you in jeans and thongs. Anyway I think you get the picture. The question you really need to ask yourself is. Am I visible in my brand and if I am how do I fit in. Are my images headshots/portraits etc captured in the same visual style as that which I am trying to sell and is this also reflective of my personal style ?

Below as some suggestion to help you define a visual style and also how to use photography effectively in creating your brand identity.

 

A good starting point to help you define your visual identity is to start a Pinterest board of the things that you like. This doesn’t have to be restricted to images that relate directly to your product or service but rather to anything that inspires you on a personal level but also visually represents your aesthetic choices. It could be interiors, places, fashion, poetry, quotes, colour palettes, people, portraits, etc. etc. You should find that after some time you start to develop a theme or style to your choices. This in itself is a great starting point  when speaking to a branding agency or other creatives in that it will give them a pretty clear picture about your visual aesthetic and should inform them on what direction you should go.

The importance of investing in professional photography when you start your brand

There are some reasons you should consider the investment.

  1. Primarily because you want to create the most eye-catching images that are representative of you and your brand. A lot of people often ask well cant I use stock imagery? Well yes, you can but it will not be specific to you, and there is a good chance that someone else in the same line of work is also using the same images. Remember you are trying to create a visual language that is specific to you, so you stand out. People are also often surprised by the cost of licensing stock images especially if they are of a more professional standard. I say why pay a premium to look like someone else. I well considered and well-planned photo shoot should not cost you an arm and a leg as long as you are clear about what can be achieved with your budget.
  2. A professional image of you on your website bio page speaks volumes. It says that you are serious about what you are doing and that you care about your business and brand and that you are well invested in it.
  3. There will come a time or opportunity for some publicity via other media channels. The first thing that they will ask for when running a story about you is do you have a professional photos you can send to them. Having professional photo means you wont have to sit there deliberating if the image your friend took of you behind your desk is good enough or that you have to run off to quickly have one done by your colleague. Both of these scenarios rarely lead to a favourable result.

Some basic ideas around what photography to consider

  1. An Office shot – this can be sitting behind your desk on your desk or somewhere in your office where you conduct the business side of things. It should be a reflection of you on how you might go to a meeting.
  2. At work shot – If you sell a product then this would be a shot of you with your key products, key messages in the frame. If you are a designer, it might be images of you at the drawing table or fabricating something etc
  3. A headshot / Portrait – This can be fairly straightforward and should capture you regarding how you see yourself in your business. It is about you and the focus should be on your face and not in your surroundings. How you express yourself in these images will definitely inform how your potential customers/clients perceive you. Make sure you are happy with the final images before you let the photographer go. A good photographer will collaborate with you through this process.

Some final thoughts

Having a clear direction and visual aesthetic means that it will be a lot easier for the photographer to help you create the images that you require. It will also mean that you best utilise the time that you have together. Planning is as important as shooting. There is nothing worse than a client that says to the photographer “can you please just take some nice pictures of me and my business“. If this is you, then take the time to define your style/brand before you invest in photography. Also, remember that the photographer is there to offer you solutions to what you are trying to achieve and this is where an experienced photographer makes the difference. They are not simply there to point a camera and click the shutter. As I said earlier the process should be collaborative and yes the photographer should also have a style that you like but you should also be able to tell them if you are not happy with something or ask for direction should you need it. Finally, think about engaging a stylist or hair and makeup if you feel that it will give you more confidence on the day of the shoot.

Happy Shooting

Hiring a Professional Photographer

Finding the right photographer for your business can often be a daunting task especially if you have never engaged one before or are not familiar with the process. Unfortunately the profession is not governed by any regulatory or licensing body which means any Joe can pick up a camera and call themselves a photographer. This in turn means there isn’t a guarantee on the quality of work that a photographer will produce which leaves you, the client at risk.

Fortunately those photographers looking to give the industry some credibility created organisations like the AIPP ( Australian Institute of Professional Photographers ) as a way of creating regulations governing professional work practices and codes of conduct for the industry. Aside from this they set about to create some kind of standardisation of the quality of work that should be considered professional. Any photographer wishing to gain professional accreditation through the AIPP needs to submit work that meets with those standards. There are also standards governing how they run their business. One of these standards is the requirement of  having liability insurance. Remember that if you are hiring a photographer to work at your place of business you should ask if they have liability insurance in case they are responsible for an accident. This is especially true if your place of business is also shared by other businesses or you are using a public foyer etc otherwise you may end up being liable for any accidents. A professional photographer should always have public liability insurance. I am not saying that all professional photographers belong to the AIPP and have public liability but at least these points are good references for you in helping to distinguish between the good, the bad, and the ugly. A good body of work with many years in business along with a large client base are also a testament to being considered a professional photographer. Many pros also have completed tertiary qualifications in photography or visual communication of some sort.

Not many photographers specialise in all photography

Like most professions there are specialists within the profession and this is also very true of most professional photographers. Generally you will find that most good photographers will have an area that they specialise in and where they have gained most of their experience. This might be wedding photography or portraiture , interiors, product etc. When searching for a photographer for a particular project  you need to keep this in mind. There is no point finding a wedding photographer and asking them to shoot some product for you. They may be willing to do it but this should raise some questions about how experienced they are in this area. I’m not saying there aren’t photographers out there that are well versed with a lot of different genres but the photographer who is willing to do anything for anyone at the cheapest price is usually the Jo that we mentioned before.

Anyone can take a photograph

Like any other service you are hiring a photographer for their expertise. You are using them to help you create your vision through their knowledge of lighting , composition , expression , posing and post processing  as well as their technical ability. A photographers  job isn’t simply to point the camera and press the button. In fact the equipment in most instances has little bearing on the end result.

Anyone can take a picture, a professional photographer will MAKE a picture.

A brief word on copyright and ownership

Who owns commissioned images ? In most cases the photographer that is commissioned to produce commercial work for a client owns the work , unless the photographer and client agree otherwise. The client will generally be licensing the images for specific purposes like company web use or a marketing brochure etc. The client does not have the right to on sell the images or pass them on to a third party without the consent of the photographer. Usage can become a contentious issue if it is not made clear at the beginning how the images will be used. Photographers fees may vary depending the types of usage rights a client is asking for.

In Summary

  • Find a photographer that specialises in the area you are interested in. Ask to see their work
  • Ask them about their experience , qualifications , accreditation’s and insurances.
  • Don’t look for the cheapest but at the same time don’t assume the most expensive will be the best option.
  • If you can meet with the photographer first to see if you click on a personal level. There is a quote coined by the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt that I have adopted as my motto which goes like this.

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter”