Posted April 30, 2013 by Steve Young

professional photography

When it comes to photography, everyone’s a professional right? Not quite…

Trust me, a few years ago I went with an affordable photographer friend for our family holiday photos. I regretted it. I didn’t like any of the photos and decided to just pay her the hourly rate she asked for.

An easy way to tell if a photographer is a pro or a budding amateur is to see if the main subject of the photo is centered in all the images. Pros know how to frame the subject; amateurs always frame the subject the same way – in the center.

So when it comes to photography hire a real professional not your friend of a friend who just bought a fancy camera. It can make the difference between closing a sale and losing a sale.

In fact, one research that tracked the eye movements of subjects who looked at online home listings found that home buyers spend about 60% of their time on photos.

“Without an eye-catching photo, the battle is lost before it begins. You have to grab people’s attention within two seconds. Do it the way a billboard does.” says Michael Seiler, founder and director of the Institute for Behavioral and Experimental Real Estate at Old Dominion University at Norfolk, Va.

Don’t have a big budget? Don’t worry. Here are three simple ways you can save on your next photo shoot.

1) Schedule Multiple Types of Shoots in One Day

BarCamp Vancouver - Wall-O-Love
Creative Commons License kris krüg via Compfight

At SmartShoot, we see plenty of photo requests ranging from birthday parties to weddings to head shots.

Here are a few of the most request photo shoots from businesses:

  • Product shots such as food, jewelry, clothes, electronics, etc.
  • Shots of the business (ie restaurant or medical office)
  • Live events
  • Head shots/portraits
  • Photos of customers

Can your business benefit from one or more of the above photo shoots?

If so, consider bulking the shoots. Rather than just shooting photos of your food, have your photographer take shots of the chef preparing the food or take head shots of the owners. You can even get shots of your favorite customers so you can accompany their testimonial with a nice looking portrait.

The bulk of the shoot cost is the photographer’s time so rather than having him/her come out multiple times for a photo shoot plan to have many types of shoots occur on the same day.

But make sure you’re prepared. More on that later.

2) Shoot at your location

Think your place is a mess? Or it’s not an ideal location for a professional photo shoot? Don’t worry that’s why you’re hiring a pro.

Here are a couple of photos to help illustrate the point:

Here is one of the photos from a conference where we shot head shots. That’s me, btw!

Food shot for one of our local business customers.

Whereas anyone can capture beautiful pictures of an ocean view backdrop, only a true professional photographer can capture stunning shots in odd, cluttered, and sub optimal places.

3) Create a Shot List

Coffee Shop Study
Mark Grapengater via Compfight

As I stated in tip #1 the less time a photographer needs to be on-site, the less you’ll have to pay.

So make sure you’re extremely prepared. 

Here are a few tips using the popular photo shoots from tip #1.

Product shots including food, physical products

Tip: Prepare the food just in time for the shoot. If you’d like product photos make sure you have them separate from the rest of your products. Lastly, make sure you’ve prepared a location for the product shots.

Shots of the business (ie restaurant or medical office)

Tip: You want to make sure to tidy the place up a bit. Also think about the type of shots you’d like such as photos of the outside of the office, shots of the reception area, your bar area, etc). Knowing exactly what you want shot will immensely save the photographer’s time.

Live events

Tip: Do you want close-ups of the speakers? Are there any presentations that you’d like to focus on? Do you want action shots of the attendees, sponsors, panel discussions, etc. Think about all this and let the photographer know a couple of days before the event.

Head shots/portraits of team or customers

Tip: Make sure you have a schedule of who will be shot and in what order. Also, remind team members and/or customers of the shoot and scheduled time so they can dress appropriately. Lastly, stick to the schedule. Don’t tell anyone cause a delay.


Remember, amateur photographers frame subjects in the center of the photo whereas professionals frame according to the backdrop. It pays to go with a professional photographer.

Don’t lose sales going with an amateur. Let a professional capture you and your business in the best possible light (pun intended). By applying these three simple tips you won’t need to spend a fortune on professional photos.

Did I miss anything? Add your own tips in the comments.

Photo Credit: wili_hybrid

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing at SmartShoot. He enjoys writing about marketing, design and product development. Although he shares the same name as a famous quarterback he unfortunately does not share the same bank account, so please throw him a bone and share or comment on his posts. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Keep in touch: @stevepyoung

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