Hiring a Photographer : 7 things you’re REALLY buying (7)

7 – License to use the images

And finally, the one no-one considers.

When you commission a photographer, you are paying for them to create images, edit them and a license for you to use them in your business.

You don’t own the images – the photographer retains the copyright unless otherwise agreed.

It’s a bit like commissioning a musician to write music. Paul McCartney wrote “live and let die” for a bond film. We assume he was paid for it, and that he still gets royalties from it being played. The same copyright laws apply to photography – we are paid to take the photo and we grant you a licence to use the photo, but the copyright remains with the photographer (unless agreed otherwise and a larger fee charged).

The licence is usually based on:-

  • territory – e.g. your local city, country, continent, worldwide!
  • time – 1 year, 3 years, 5 years – forever!
  • usage – promotional like on websites, social media, press, print adverts, Instagram, billboards, back of buses
  • usage – commercial like on you sell to make money, like mugs, posters, album sleeves, calendars… the list is endless

It can get complex and confusing, so at McFade we’ve streamlined it all into packages, which covers the costs of the licence. It just makes “doing business” easier to understand. 


So it’s a bit more than just the shoot day

So that’s why photographers will seem expensive – the contact time is the tip of a big creative iceberg! 

A photograph is a difference between clients visiting your website and buying, or moving on to the competition – who have better looking photos. 

Photos are often the first thing clients see of your business – if they’re not right – it’ll probably be the last too! 

AMAZING Panoramic Photos Made Easy with LIGHTROOM

Gone are the old days… 

Stitching panoramic photos used to be a pain. you’d have to do all kinds of prep on each photo in LIGHTROOM first, then export them as high res files, then create a stack in PHOTOSHOP and merge them…. and it’d probably go wrong at some stage!

The panoramic world has moved on

Happily, this has all moved on and you can stitch photos in seconds using LIGHTROOM and no other program. 

If you start off with 2 photos like these:-



Merge panoramic in seconds

Then open up Photo Merge (as shown in the video below) – Lightroom will do the rest for you. 

You end up with a large shot, pretty square in this example, which you can then use in many ways – how about a tall portrait crop, or a square, or a traditional landscape orientation… 

With the file never leaving LIGHTROOM, you can create dozens of versions if you like!

Examples of the finished shots

See how it’s done

Hiring a Photographer : 7 things you’re REALLY buying (6)

6 – Time to edit the images

This is just as important as shoot day, and in many cases, has more influence on the final look of the photos. 

The signature of a photographers style is often in the edit.

The sort of things we do at this stage are:-

  • Look at every shot and flag the ones which we like – this takes ages on a big shoot!
  • Do a “part edit” on the shots and send you previews to choose from – we part-edit them so they look a little more “stylish” or “punchy” – the RAW files in the camera are actually pretty flat and boring before they’re edited!
  • Blend any HDR or Panoramic shots for you – this takes a while believe me
  • Correct the colours – so they look real, the light in a room can make images look really strange – we can sort that AFTER the event.
  • Sharpen the shots – this is where we sharpen things like eyes, food, bubbles in champagne and other key features to make them stand out
  • Contrast – this makes things really “jump out” of the screen and grab the attention
  • Crop – this is chopping off bits we don’t need in the photos
  • Creative effects – if you like a slight vintage look, or textures adding to a shot, we do that too.
  • Size the shots for you – I usually deliver high res, and web-res – so you get a set for printing, and some smaller ones for websites, so they don’t kill the speed of the internet.

There are many more things that can be done, skin retouching (or airbrushing as most call it) is popular – removing things from backgrounds (bins and crisp packets on the pavement, “To let” signs on buildings, cranes on the skyline… )

I usually estimate that this all takes the same length of time as the shoot in my quotes, which shocks most people! 


Hiring a Photographer : 7 things you’re REALLY buying (5)

5 – Time to take the images

how to hold your camera properly

So this IS the time we spend with you shooting, the contact time, the time on site – it’s where the magic is started, but by no means complete. 

When people ask “what is your day rate”, I assume this is the thing they are expecting to pay for. 

On the shoot day, it’s all systems go, you’ll see us:-

  • Setting up lights and tripods if needed
  • Hooking up a laptop
  • Creating the look – so moving lights around, moving people around, adding ingredients to food shots etc.
  • Test shots – getting the lighting right, showing clients to see what they think.
  • Meeting people and putting them at ease – bad jokes and getting them to do “stuff” to take their mind of the camera
  • Shooting (finally!)
  • Moving to the next location (e.g. from Bar to Kitchen) and repeating all the above.
  • Packing up

It’s a pretty full on day for a photographer – lugging kit around, thinking of all the camera stuff, all the flash stuff and managing people – especially those who say they hate being photographed (98% of people).

We leave with a camera full of RAW files, and part 6 starts… 


Hiring a Photographer : 7 things you’re REALLY buying (4)

4 – A 3rd Party view of your business

Following closely from point 3 – business owners are often too close to the wood to see the trees…

Getting someone from outside into bounce ideas off is a great experience. We “see” things differently, the yellow stripe on the carpet above actually isn’t that big, but with a photographer’s eye, a 16mm lens and low tripod, we created something which really jumps out of the screen and brochures it’s used in. 

In fact, many things you walk past every day will look amazing to us, we think in terms of lighting, textures, emotion…

You CAN have great images… if you let us loose!