There are numerous techniques you can employ when needing to source out a local commercial photographer. Below I’ve listed five of the main search methods that I would recommend to try.
- 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 afield. 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; therefore I highly recommend that you conduct an internet search as well so not to overlook these photographers.
- Online Directories. Online you’ll find a wealth of both specialist photography directories and more generic business directories. The good ones will have a handy link to the photographers own home page which is a major advantage over the printed directories. As with the printed versions always try to narrow your search to only include ‘commercial photographers’ else the bulk of these results will be wedding and family portrait photographers. A great convenient search method if carried out well.
- Search Engines. Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, Bing or whatever you favour will sure to present you with a comprehensive list of local photographers. As with all searches in order to try and narrow down your search to mainly include commercial photography I would recommend that you try typing in ‘commercial photographer your location’.
Failing that, try replacing your location with a nearby city or large town. Don’t make the mistake of just clicking on the paid listings, or for that matter only browsing the listings on the first page. Just because the photographer invests a fortune to be listed number one, either to Google Ad words or to a smart SEO (Search Engine Optimiser), doesn’t necessarily make them the right person for your project.
- 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!
- Personal Testimonials. ‘Word of Mouth’ is a still a powerful marketing tool for any business and one that I would certainly employ if searching for any local trade. A personal recommendation is like gold dust. Ask them as many questions as you can and then witness the photographers imagery first hand by flipping through the portfolio section of their web site.
This will give you a good idea as to whether or not you really like the style of the photographer, as you won’t want to just book a photographer because there are reliable; you’ve got to love their work too! Working on a personal recommendation is always a great starting point and is a good way of trying to side step as much risk as possible. Do still check out their web site and don’t just simply dismiss other less known photographers in your area, as you may just be missing out on a real gem.
To conclude I would thoroughly recommend employing a healthy mix of the above search techniques, draw up a shortlist and then carefully compare and ultimately select the one that is right for your specific project.
Abran Rubiner Photography
Add: Los Angeles, California, 90001