We often hire photographers at PictureGroup for shoots all over the United States. In order to find the appropriate ones, we use a combination of tools. Our number one remains recommendations. To us, there is nothing more valuable then when an editor, or another photographer that we like and trust recommends another photographer. There is not only a certain guarantee of quality but also very important, a guarantee of professionalism and business knowledge. Because, regardless of quality, if a photographer doesn’t deliver the proper files at the right place at the right time, than it is useless. It might sound ridiculous in the XXI century but there are still many photographers who hardly know how to properly FTP images.

Regardless, our second tool for hiring photographer is the almighty web. Contrary to what many would like you to think, we try to avoid Google. Why ? Because the results are very of poor quality. The photographers that surface to the top in a Google search are not the best, the most talented or the most relevant to what you are looking for but those who have spend many hours on building a SEO. And the most talented in this are the Commercial/ Wedding photographers. They are also helped by the fact that Google will advantage them because they are the most searched for. Google has recently added most click results after a search in their ranking. Nothing against these, but they are certainly not the type we are looking for. So, based on our experience, here are the do and don’t does of a photographer if they want to be found and hired on the web.


  1. No Music. I have music in my office, thank you, and I really do not need you to supply yours. It is very annoying, especially if you are trying to browse in a public place and suddenly your computer starts playing some crappy RF song. I am here to find a good photographer, not a radio station.

  2. Keep the flash and slideshow at a minimum. I have nothing against flash but when a whole site is just flash based, I move on. Although I have a very fast connection, I really don’t have the time to wait for some flash animation to load. You are not the first or the last website I will visit so please help me in my job. If you slow me down, I will hate you forever. Also, thanks for the slideshows but I prefer navigating at my own pace. Some images, I would like to study more, others, I couldn’t care less. I am an adult and know how to click.

  3. Make it simple. I love cool sites for what they are : Cool sites. But when I am looking to hire a photographer, I have neither the time nor the will to try and figure out riddle navigation. It is distracting and not useful. I just want to see images, not great navigation tools.

  4. Portfolio : Have many for your different interests. I don’t mind if a photographer has a people, architecture and animal portfolio for example. I will look at the one that interests me and not the others. Just don’t mix everything into one.

  5. List your  clients. Very, very important. That will tell me that you have done work for similar clients and it will boost my confidence in your ability to deliver by 100%.  Please don’t lie.

  6. Contact info. It should not be an afterthought. Put it in a very obvious place where I can easily copy and paste it. I understand you are afraid of spammers, but I am not one. If you make it impossible for me to add your contact info into my system, I will get frustrated and that is not what you want. I don’t mind if there is a few phone numbers and one email, as long as any of those allows me to reach you immediately. All our jobs are rush and I need to know if your available or not. If I can’t reach you, I will move on.

  7. Be everywhere. Don’t stop at just your website. We use Photoshelter, Sportshooter, Photoserve, Lightstalker, Blackbook, WorldAssignment and other database to find our photographers. You should too. Google is neither the beginning nor the end of a search. Be where your clients are. Most of these sites are inexpensive or free so why not post some of your best images there and linked them back to your site ? Help yourself be found.

  8. Location. For us as well as many other people looking to hire you, location is one of the first search terms. With these crunch time, we , like many others, need to find a photographer in a particular city because we have no travel budget. So the city where you work must be very clearly visible . It is your second most important asset after your photography skills.

  9. Bio. I like to know who I am dealing with. No, not your personal life and religious affiliations, but a short, well written bio that speaks of your photographic direction. Make it so I can feel that we have briefly met and you seem like a nice person to talk too.

  10. Update it. Please, please. Don’t build a website and leave it orphan. If the latest picture on there is a bad scan from something you shot in the 80’s, however great it is, that is a complete turn off. You are only as good as your last three jobs. It can be six months old, that is fine, but not 6 years. Same goes if you have a blog. So many times I see blogs with three sparse entries a few years old. If you can’t update it than please don’t have a blog. It is not are requirement. No blog is much better than an unmaintained blog.

Hope these tips help a little. Of course not everyone looking for a photographer online will have the same requirements but these are certainly very, very common. Remember, you website should be like a seductive introduction to yourself, a bit like a speed dating exercise where you are not aloud to talk.


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3 Thoughts on “Tips to be hired as a photographer

  1. jacobpritchard on November 18, 2009 at 11:28 am said:

    Thanks for that. All great points. But I wonder about the point about ignoring any full flash sites. Does that mean you automatically exclude anyone with a ubiquitous Livebooks site? It seems to me you would really be excluding a lot of potential photographers.

  2. It’s not about the back end used for the website, it’s about the experience.If it’s fast to load, I don’t mind.
    Flash as a sideshow : I really do not need someone to hold my hand while looking at pictures. I am not taking a leisure relaxed ride on the internet , I am looking to hire.

  3. Thanks for your advice on this subject as well as all the other posts you have been blogging.
    I have been reading for some time and wanted to thank you for offering your perspective. It is illuminating. As someone who is in the process of overhauling a 1999 vintage website it is helpful to have the thoughts of the needs of a potential client incorporated from day one.
    Keep on trucking.

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