How to Commission a Photographer to Work
As a client, there are many things you can do to commission a photographer to work for you on a project. There really are no secrets on how you can make this happen. Some of the work involved in getting ready to work with a photographer is prepatory. Not only is it important to find someone that you can work with but it is also important that you find someone you trust and that can follow your directions. Here is what you need to do in order to get a photographer to work for you.
Tools and Materials You Will Need
- This how-to guide
- Pen and Paper
Step 1 - Find a Photographer
The first thing that you need to do is find one or more photographers that you think will represent your work and your needs clearly. The photographer ideally should be located in close proximity to where you want to have the photographs taken or to where the assignments are. Pick two or three of the photographers and write their information down on a piece of paper.
Step 2 - Develop a Scope of Work
Clearly define your scope of work. What are you looking to achieve? Outline the type of photographs you expect to have taken and detail out any deadlines you wish to have met. Detail the purpose for the project and your ultimate goals.
Step 3 - Develop Pricing and Payment Guidelines
Next, develop your pricing and payment guidelines. These guidelines should clearly outline what you expect to come out of the pictures. Your ultimate goal will be to sell the photos, for example. You need to price out how much you think you will charge for each type of shot. Then you need to decide how much commission (usually discussed as a percentage) you are willing to pay your photographer when a picture is purchased. Generally commissions range anywhere from 20 percent all the way up to 60 percent.
Step 4 - Interview the Photographers
Now that you have outlined the plan, it is time to interview the photographers. Interview them based on the types of skills they have, the types of experience they have. You will need to tell the photographer up front that you are looking to solely pay based on commissions. You will need to outline what those commissions are and how the photographer will get paid. Sometimes it is helpful to pay the photographer a base day rate along with the commissions.
Step 5 - Sign the Contract
While it would be nice to think that we live in a world where contracts can be ratified by a handshake, we are in a society that is generally a little more complicated. Pull out a simple independent contractor agreement (or have your attorney draw one up for you) and have the photographer sign the contract. Make sure the photographer receives a copy of the contract and make sure the contract clearly outlines who retains ownership and copyright to all of the photographs that will be taken during the assignments.