Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Bands and Photography" a quick interview with Photographer Will Knowles

Question 1 - How should indie artists go about starting their search for a photographer? 

The first thing an artist should do when starting their search for a photographer is figure out an ideal budget and what they want their end product to feel like. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for... If you pay your friend to take your pictures for a $100, it wont have the same polish if you hire a photographer that requires his rate + a budget for rentals and a(n) assistant(s).

As for finding a photographer, you can google around for photographers, but the best thing you can do is ask and take recommendations from friends. Look through portfolios and find which style best represents who you are as an artist. It'll pay off in the end to hire someone you can trust and who naturally communicates your style.

Question 2 - From your perspective is it better for an artist to know exactly what they want or in your experience has it worked better to let you be more spontaneously creative?

This comes down to preference for the photographer... Its a good thing to feel out in an introduction. As for me, I generally like someone who has an opinions and/or concepts, but isn't pushy about ideas and trusts me when I suggest something different. With that said, some people don't really have ideas/believe that's why they're hiring me... and at the end of the day, they're right. I just like to give people the option of being involved.

Question 3 - What are things that are red flags for artists to look out for when searching for a photographer?

Photographers should be part artist and part business person... If they lack the business acumen, they might leave you with an incomplete project, stretched over a ridiculous time frame, and ultimately leaving you wishing you had gone with someone else. 

Communication is key. If they don't respond promptly the first couple times, you'll probably have a hard time getting in touch with them post-project.

Question 4 - What should an artists expectations be coming into the shoot? Does a photographer fix collars and roll up sleeves or should they bring along a makeup artist and stylist?

If you trust your photographer, they should come in expecting to have a good time... Having your picture taken can be tough... the more you can stay loose, the better the end product will be.
Its odd, the more you pay for a photographer, the less they do... production wise. If you have your friend take your pictures, they'll probably be more than willing to help out in any way possible: styling, make-up, etc... However, if you hire out a legit photographer, they'll want to hire a team. The thought being, hire experts and let people do what they're great at: A make-up artist does a much better job with make-up than a photographer. Feel free to hire your own stylist/make-up artist, especially if that's who you feel comfortable with... just ask first.

Question 5 - How does artist photography differ from standard ad photography?

There isn't a huge difference on the photography side. Its more the business side. Most ad photographers have a day rate and then make you rent the images for a specific period of time. Artist photographers generally bill you once and just make it count.

Question 6 - What is one piece of advice that you could give artists that may not have a large budget for images?

         Look hard. Ask around. Eventually you'll find someone that fits your budget. 
         Using a student or a friend can be a crap shoot, but with all forms of gambling and
         ... sometimes it pays off.

Question 7 - What comes in a standard package? (How many images do i get? What do I have the rights to use? etc.)

        There isn't really a standard package... it depends on the photographer. Some photographers would burn you a disc of all the pictures and call it a day... Some will charge you based on how you use the images. The most basic package you could end up with is one that gives you x amount of images with rights to use it with print and web.

For more information on Photographer Will Knowles please visit

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