If you have ever been curious about what the process of hiring a professional commercial freelance photographer is like, then look no further! While I cannot guarantee that my particular steps will be identical to other photographers, I am confident that our strategies are, by necessity, quite similar.
Suffice it to say, one of the most requested services of mine is commercial photography, especially for e-commerce products.
My most recent client was a small business who needed some product shots of a shower head that they would be marketing on Amazon.com.
The client provided the product along with very specific parameters regarding what they required for the photos, more interestingly than just basic "still-life" product shots, they also needed shots in which a model was using the product too which I was able to provide for them as well.
Basically, here is the process from beginning to end:
- The photographer is approached by the client, or the client is approached by the photographer (popular avenues for this type of work generally tend to be Craigslist.org, Thumbtack.com, or word of mouth/repeat customers).
2. The client explains to the photographer what is necessary; this generally includes details such as: how many shots of the product are required (and from what angles, if known), what edits will be required to make the photos conform to whatever their preferred platform requires, whether or not a model is required, what type of background is desired, what size the photos need to be (if known/if necessary), whether the photos will be sued for web or print (or both), and a deadline.
3. The photographer will take all of this information and use it to draft up an estimate, or a quote.
4. If both parties agree to the price, then a contract is drawn up where the number of final photos desired is specified, along with all other pertinent financial and technical information. Both parties sign the contract, and then a PDF copy of the signed contract is uploaded to the client's page for downloading or printing. Payment buttons for the exact agreed upon amounts are created and also added to the client's page so they can make their payments for this project online and at their leisure.
The first payment (an initial deposit of 50% of the quoted total price) is made by the client in order to trigger the work to begin.
5. The photographer then takes as many shots as necessary to fulfill the previously agreed upon amount of photos to be used for review.
6. The photographer then uploads these photos to a password-protected webpage made especially for the client, UN-edited (except in that they are of a low resolution and will be watermarked to protect them until the project is completed) to their website for the client to inspect and choose from.
Also, Photoshop samples of "before-and-after" photos are uploaded to visually aid the customer with selecting the images from the shoot that will work best to suit their needs.
7. After the client chooses their favorite photos, they inform the photographer which ones they would like to have edited. The photographer then edits them, and uploads the edited photos (still low-resolution and watermarked, but with the requested adjustments applied to them). The client then reviews these new edited photos for adherence to the parameters of the project.
8. If all of the new, edited images are satisfactory to the client, they will alert the photographer and remit the final payment. This payment is indicative of 2 important things: a) that the images are correct and final (that no further edits are required to be made to them), and b) that the client is now ready to receive the final product (which will be high-resolution, non-watermarked, and edited-as-desired) photos in all of their shiny, new glory. The photos are now ready for the client for them to use as desired, and are then digitally delivered to them (either via the photographer's website, Dropbox, or other popular file-sharing platforms).
To see an example of this process, please check out this page: