In my career as an art and creative director in various advertising agencies I’ve done more photo shoots than I can count and every single one was different. I have worked with many photographers, and like in any industry there were really great ones and really bad ones. These are the qualities an art director must consider when deciding for a photographer.
Visionary – What can be added to the table that no one else could bring? Bearing in mind the vision of the campaign, a photographer must take an idea from an art director and make it even better. A great photographer is one who has a good eye supplemented with a vision.
Master of Light – A masterful photographer loves light, knows how to take it to his advantage and can control it. It’s the single most valuable thing that he can bring to the table to give an image the oomph it deserves.
Technical Proficiency – Photography is an amazing bond of art and technology. Photographer must be a master of his tools and equipment on top of his/her expert understanding of colour, light and composition. A well composed, accurately exposed, and perfectly focused image is necessary.
Problem Solver – Expect the unexpected. There are a hundred things that can go wrong on a shoot at any time. While detailed planning is key to a successful shoot, readiness and spontaneity in the face of adversity are needed as well to get the most out of the session. Believe me, I have seen it all.
On the Dot – A photographer must be on schedule as promised. Without exception. Without excuse. Every time. All the time. Shooting will not start without the photographer.
Leadership – Being able to act intelligently and instinctively at times of pressure and stress offer a much better means of getting the right job done. A photographer is responsible for getting the people involved in making the image happen the way the photographer and art director envision it to be. Effective communication with everyone else while on top of the camera and lights is essential.
Personable – Personality is a very important asset. A photographer must be able to balance creative conviction and diplomacy. Creating wonderful images is one thing but putting together a winning shot is another particularly when there are people involved in the process. When dealing with models, assistants, stylists or makeup artists, an amiable, fun and respectful personality will make it easier for everyone to complete the job.
Passionate – Finding beauty even in the most simple things is an inherent psychological need of a photographer. A dedicated photographer is not just in it for the money but for his love of beauty and desire for creating and capturing gorgeous light and images.
Photography is an integral part of any marketing effort and the photographer must be able to enhance your efforts and contribute to the success of the project.