Finding a Commercial Photographer.

May 28


Andy Nickerson

Andy Nickerson

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If you suddenly find yourself in the position of needing the services of a commercial photographer where do you begin your search? Printed directories, online search engines, professional bodies and word of mouth; which technique will give you the best results and why?

There are countless ways in which to find a list of local commercial photographers but below are the main techniques that I would consider using:

1.  Local Printed Business Directories.  Under the category of 'Commercial and Industrial Photographers' you are almost certain to find a few suitable and local photographers.  Unless of course you live in a particularly rural region where you might need to search a bit further a field.  Many commercial photographers opt out of paid printed directories since the proliferation of online directories that often prove to be a far more fruitful investment,Finding a Commercial Photographer. Articles therefore I highly recommend that you conduct an internet search as well so not to overlook these photographers.

2.  Internet Based Directories.  Where once we all had a shelf stacked high with great thick printed business directories, these days most people will prefer the convenience of searching through their online counterparts.  Here you will find an overwhelming list of photographers so be sure to really narrow your search by specifying photographers that are 'commercial' or 'commercial and industrial'.  The best online directories will have a link straight back to the photographers home page so you can review their portfolio etc.

3.  Search Engines.  Understandably, the most popular method of locating any local business is to simply use a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN or Bing.  Again be sure to enter the correct search term and not just 'photographer in yourlocation' as you will be inundated with wedding and general photographers.  Normally a simple 'commercial photographer yourlocation' will suffice, however you may want to change your location to your nearest decent sized town or city as most commercial photographers will naturally locate themselves nearer main centres of commerce.  Don't be tempted just to pick the first entry in the list, try to browse at least the first two pages of results as you may be missing a real gem.  Just because the photographer has mastered the knack of search engine optimising doesn't mean they'll be the best at photography.

4.  Professional Photographic Bodies.  AOP (Association Of Photographers), MPA (The Master Photographers Association) and the BIPP (British Institute of professional Photography) to name a few here in the UK.  Most web sites of these professional bodies will list commercial photographers working in your local region and might provide you with some useful information on all aspects of finding and commissioning photography.  Be aware that although lots of photographers understandably like to be a part of these clubs and associations, many don't.  Not because they aren't professional or acclaimed in their field but simply because they don't like or feel comfortable with such memberships.  Also being a member of such bodies does not guarantee quality, reliability or any professional code of conduct; it just suggests that those photographers listed subscribe to it in principal.  So don't ignore or be unconvinced by non-members!

5.  Word of Mouth.  Surely the oldest form of marketing in the book is a personal recommendation and you can see why. Before the widespread use of online search engines and directories this was probably the most popular method of finding any tradesman.  Ask friends, family members, neighbours or work colleagues about who they've used in the past and most importantly their experience either good or bad with local commercial photographers.  Still go online and check out the photographers portfolio, as remember that the photographer can be the nicest most reliable person in the world but if you don't like their style of work it's pointless booking them.  The advantages of a personal recommendation are obvious and in many ways an ideal solution as you are in effect eliminating a large proportion of the risk.  However the disadvantage might be that there is an even better photographer locally, one that shoots in a style that you absolutely love!

In conclusion, whether you are looking for an architectural photographer to shoot your new state of the art premises or a product photographer to capture the wonder of your latest gizmo, finding commercial photographers need not be a tiresome task.  I would recommend that you employ a selection of search techniques and draw up a short list of photographers you like, that way you can carefully compare and ultimately select the one that is right for your project.