5 Steps to Working With a Photographer For Your Fashion Brand

As social media and digital platforms continue to evolve, the need for fresh visual content as as fashion brand continues to increase. Whether your looking to work with a photographer to curate content for Instagram or shoot a lookbook, Candace Molatore shares 5 key steps to working a photographer to make for the best results. 

As a photographer who’s had experience working with with brands, bloggers, and designers in the industry for a couple of years now, I’ve seen quite a lot. Choosing the right photographer can have a massive impact on your brand because, in a sense, they are helping to create your brand’s image. Looking to hire a photographer to shoot your next lookbook or social media campaign? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

01. Find a photographer that fits YOUR brand image.

All photographers are not created equal. It’s important to seek out a photographer whose images align with your brand. Instagram is a great tool when looking for photographers and searching hashtags like #(yourcity)photographer is a foolproof way to finding great photographers in your area. Take a look at their profile, do you like their images? The images they post are an accurate representation of what they could do for your brand. If you love them, reach out. If you don’t, move on.


02. Identify your needs and have a clear concept in mind before contacting a photographer.

Remember, this is your brand being represented, not theirs. If you’re open to ideas or have questions about details like lighting or location, say so, but know that the photographer is really there to take photos. Having a disorganized concept can be a red flag to photographers, so it’s always better to have an idea of what you want, before reaching out.


03. Plan accordingly.

Some photographers schedule sessions farther in advance than most of us plan our vacations. I know some wedding photographers who are already booked up for Summer 2017. While not every photographer’s calendar is that crazy, most probably won't be able to schedule your lookbook and deliver the photos by tomorrow. Pick a few dates to send over far enough in advance that the photographer can surely accommodate.


04. Communicate with mood boards.

Just like you, photographers are visual people. They understand a concept most when you show it to them. If I say the word "Fall" a million concepts come to mind. But if I show you imagery and then say "Fall" you and I are immediately on the same page as to what the concept may be. Websites like Pinterest are a huge help when creating mood boards. Add your photographer to a private board and let the concepts flow.


05. Work with them on a shot list.

Shot lists are the most effective way to keep track of what photos you’re getting, and to make sure a shoot is done as efficiently as possible. Photoshoots take a lot of time and effort, you want to make sure the time you put into is rewarding. It’s extremely disappointing to everyone when a shot is missed. There are many ways to communicate a shot list, you can use imagery or simply write one out. I highly recommend working with your photographer on a shot list as a way to communicate exactly what you need from them in the most seamless way possible.


Top 3 Questions to ask your photographer BEFORE booking:

  1. What is your hourly rate or fee for a project like this and what does this include? (Some photographers don’t include editing time in their rate, others may not store your photos for longer than a few days. It’s important to know what you’re getting before choosing a photographer)
  2. What is your approximate turnaround time? (When can you get the photos back to me?)
  3. How do you select the photos you will edit and is this something we can do together? ( If choosing the right photos is important to you, this is a very crucial question to ask.)


CHEAT SHEET: Here’s an example of an email to a photographer that includes everything you may want to know and that they will love you for.

My name is _______ and I own a (business/fashion brand) here in ___________. I came across your work and thought you would be a great fit to photograph for our _____(upcoming lookbook/social media/fall collection)_____ I’m looking to shoot for __#__hours and have them ready to go live by ___(date)____ Would you be interested? If so, what is your hourly rate or fee for a project like this? Here is a link to my website/social media to get a feel for my brand __________(website link)______________
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, _______________