August 2016

Unseen Elements of Hiring a Professional Photographer

There are lots of photographers in the world. The ubiquitous GWC (Guy With Camera) is everywhere offering a “really good deal” on what they assure you will be the photographs or video of your dreams.

So if there are so many people available to shoot your wedding/business/advertising, why should you pay a professional? What are the benefits to you?

Obvious Answers

There are a million blogs out there that will regale you with all the top reasons to hire a pro. Things like:

  1. Quality
  2. Consistency
  3. High-grade equipment
  4. Experienced creativity

And yes, all of those things are important. But there are also some background reassurances that go into being a professional. Things that, while invisible to the customer, are part and parcel of providing professional services in the digital world.

Not-So-Obvious Answers

  1. Redundant backups: This cannot be stressed enough. Here at Stenbakken Media your digital files are backed up multiple times on separate hard drives. Your files are safe no matter what.

Yes, those extra drives cost us money, but preserving a client’s product is part of being a professional.

  1. Insurance: This includes
  •             Ÿ Equipment insurance
  •             Ÿ Workers compensation insurance
  •             Ÿ Professional liability insurance

If something goes wrong on a shoot and people or equipment are damaged, the fallout can be expensive. It is the professional’s responsibility to insure their own staff and equipment so that in the event of a snafu, no one comes to you with their hand out, needing you – the customer – to pay for something that happened while shooting your project.

Yes, these policies cost real money that the professional has to pay whether they are doing jobs or not. But a professional photographer or videographer carries the insurance anyway, and can provide you with certificates of insurance (COI) before any shoot.

  1. Licensed Software: Digital photography and videography requires software to manipulate and perfect it. And a professional photographer or videographer will have licensed software to be able to complete that work. Don’t risk your files getting caught up in a software audit. When you hire, hire a photographer or videographer that works above-board.

Yes, the licenses are ongoing and expensive, but they are part of being a professional in the field. Expect it from any professional you hire.

  1. Speaking of above-board… Everything a company does should be ethical and transparent. They should be able to explain to you why they charge what they charge and what you can expect for your money. Contracts should be up front and easy to read so that both parties are clear on expectations.

At Stenbakken Media, we are here to produce great work that we are proud of. We want you to be excited with the results too. Just remember, there are lots of important parts that may go unnoticed at first – but add real value and protection for our clients.

We maintain all of the things listed here (including the Obvious Answers listed above), and yes indeed, those amounts do go into our overhead, but they also go into our value. All aspects of a professional shoot are covered, from the smallest camera cord to the final work we produce. We work hard to make your job as safe as we can and still be competitive.

Having the Right Voice in Marketing

When marketing your business to a world that could pretty much care less, your brand is crucial. It must be unique, catchy, and memorable. Ideally, your brand presents a strong impression of who you are and what you’re about.

And then there’s your company’s voice. That voice continues your message past the first blast of branding and into your blogs, Q&A, and advertising.


Want to buy a revolver?

Glossy photo of revolver

Oh boy…that’s sexy! What voice is transmitted here?

  •             Ÿ I am gorgeous
  •             Ÿ I am classy
  •             Ÿ Start saving your money
  •             Ÿ I’m worth it

How about this one?

Low quality revolver photo

How about this voice? Can anyone say sketchy?

Two photos of revolvers. Very different voices!

Don’t Take that Tone with Me!

Statistically, you have 10-20 seconds to convince people to stay on your site – that’s your branding and web design’s job. After that, your voice must keep your visitors there.

You’ve put a lot of care into your logo, tagline, and website design. Continue that care with your ongoing voice to maintain resonance and eliminate dissonance. One business blogger describes the reaction from an audience to a dissonant voice as, “Don’t take that tone with me!”

When your voice causes your audience to draw back like that, they will vote with their feet – or maybe more accurately, with their mouse finger. They will disappear to shop elsewhere faster than you can say, “But wait…”

Elements of Voice

Forbes defines the elements of a business’s voice as:

  •             Ÿ who you’re speaking to,
  •             Ÿ what you’re saying, and
  •             Ÿ how you’re saying it.

One writer put it this way, “Online, your voice is who you are. Readers take that voice and construct their sense of your identity around it.”

Better make sure yours is accurate.

Stenbakken Media

When you hire Stenbakken Media to do a shoot for you, you can expect us to ask a lot of questions. Questions about your company, its history, its goals, its audience. We need to really understand your voice so that we can capture it accurately and let people really understand what you have to offer.

There are a lot of commercial and creative projects out there for a professional photographer and videographer. The ones we like to spend our time on and the ones that are the most successful are the projects where the vision is clear and the voice distinct. Give us a good target like that and we’ll hit it every time. You can browse our client feedback and portfolios for evidence of the quality we deliver.

There are plenty of voices out there waiting to be heard. Make sure yours reflects your business as it should.