The Commercial Photography Process
What To Expect From A Photo Shoot With Dane Gregory Meyer
Architectural and People Photography | Greater Seattle
If you've never worked with a commercial photographer before, here's what to expect.
1. First, call or email me to discuss your commercial photography needs. I like to help people and will try to help you, no matter what your budget. Initial consults are always free. Some of the ways I can help you make a shoot as affordable as possible are to book projects during slower times of year (generally early spring); reviewing your shot list with you to narrow it down to the truly essential; determining if there are shots you can take yourself; streamlining shoots to get the maximum number of images in a given period of time; and grouping locations for maximum efficiency. I will give you a written proposal or estimate if you wish, including the job details, the product you'll receive, and a close approximation of the final bill or a range for the final bill. (If the estimate is a range, whenever possible I will make the final charge in your favor.)
2. If we decide to work together, it's time for you to get really specific about your needs. I value cooperation, collaboration and communication and it helps you get exactly what you want. Essential information for me includes location(s), purpose of shots, how the images will be used, orientation of shots (horizontal or vertical), essential shots and timelines/deadlines. We'll discuss possible views and angles to create the best images and come up with a shot list. Based on your intended use, I will specify your license to use the images from the shoot.
You can find my intake form here. You can fill it out, or just use it to help you put your thoughts together prior to our discussions of your job.
3. We'll set a mutually workable schedule.
4. Before the shoot date, you should make any necessary arrangements so that the shoot is successful. Depending on the nature of the shoot, this might include ensuring that I will have access to the site on the scheduled day(s) (and for any pre-shoot scouting that's required), ensuring that visual clutter has been cleared and ensuring that necessary interior and exterior lights are on. When photography is being done for commercial purposes and people in the images are identifiable, model releases will also be necessary. (You can download my standard model release as a PDF by clicking here.)
Assigning a knowledgeable staff person (e.g. art director or marketing representative) to accompany me at the shoot can often be helpful as well, especially if we haven't worked together before. This allows for dialog and interactive collaboration about the project as it unfolds, which helps me get the best possible results for you. However, I am also used to working independently if you are not able to provide someone from your organization.
If the shoot is outside, as the day approaches I'll keep you informed of any schedule changes required by the weather. Reschedules due to weather don't incur any additional charges.
5. I will arrive at shoot location promptly at the determined time with all necessary equipment. I'll take the specified images, plus any more that catch my eye. (This usually entails taking many, many more photos than the desired final number.)
6. I go back to the studio and pare the full set down to a manageable number. Depending on the situation (and your preference), I may send this "best-of" set to you to select the final images to be edited, or I may proceed directly to post-production on images I select on your behalf. I do considerable post-production (computer) work on the finalized set of images (the shot list agreed to in our pre-shoot discussions).
This can include balancing exterior and interior light, removing minor unsightly objects when necessary, color correction, building alignment, etc. I don't outsource this part of the work, although it can take a good deal of time. This is because post-production is an art form of its own and I believe it takes the photographer's own high standards and meticulous eye to produce the images that are both stunning to the viewer and useful to your business. (Note: really extensive image editing such as removing clutter or adding people, or edits required because a client didn't prepare the location properly, may require us discussing an additional fee.)
7. I will convey the final images to you via Dropbox or disc. I meet your deadlines. (I have never missed a client deadline in over 30 years in this business.)
8. You review the images. If there is any additional retouching you would like on selected images, I am happy to do a reasonable amount without additional charges. I am also happy to consult with your graphics team about cropping, lightening or darkening images, etc.
9. When all your final images are delivered, I'll send you an invoice, which will be due within 30 days.
10. When we are all done, I very much appreciate feedback on the images and/or on the overall project process. I strive to build long-term working relationships that get more and more productive over time, and I want you to be very happy with both the product and the process.
Feel free to call me if you have questions. I’m a friendly guy and I like to help people!