Creating awareness about your business through videos and photos is a powerful way to tell your brand story. It brings your products and services to life with compelling visuals, and showcases the value you can truly bring to your customers.

However, the cost of producing the right video or taking product shots can be a challenge to some companies – especially if they’re just starting out. Yet, they still have a need to produce really good quality content. And so the search for the most budget-friendly photographer or production agency begins. If that’s you, we understand.

To help you in your decision-making process, here are a few important things to consider when you have a low video / photography budget but high expectations.

Value for money

Everyone who pays money out wants to get good value in return. Think about the last time you paid RM2.50 for a really delicious street food snack and thought to yourself, “Best RM2.50 spent!”  or the time you dined at a really fancy restaurant and paid for a pricier bill but had the best service, ambience, food and the most memorable experience ever. Likewise, whether something costs a little or a lot, parting with your company’s hard earned cash should bring returns that will really add value to you.

Value isn’t just about the final outcome of the video or the photos, it’s about the whole experience that you have. That’s what you’re really paying for.

Photo by You X Ventures

This means that when you pay a video production company or a photographer, you’re really paying for their time, their number of years and area of experience, their professionalism in seeing things through end-to-end, and then of course – the outcome and quality of a video or photo set. So when you’re choosing a vendor to work with, find out what value you’re getting for what you’re paying – not just the number of photos or how long or how nice the video is.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself, when you’re in the process of deciding if you’ll get value:

For video production:

Will this company be able to pitch a few creative ideas? or do I have to come up with them myself and brief them? 
Do they provide suggestions for suitable shooting locations which include research and a recce prior to the shoot, or will I have to do it myself?
How many years of experience does the team have in this craft, and what kind of industries have they worked with specifically?
Is their industry expertise aligned with my industry?

Also read: What Makes A Good Video?

For photography:

How many years of experience does this photographer have – specifically in the area I am needing?
Is their creative style similar to what I am looking for? Or at least are they able to be versatile and produce quality for the style I want?
Is this photographer able to give wardrobe suggestions and direct the shoot in order to bring out the best in a person? (for headshots or lifestyle photoshoots)
Is this photographer an approachable and enjoyable person to work with, someone who can truly understand what I want?

Also read: Brand Photography Tips for Working With Children

If the answer to questions like these are favourable, then you know that you and your vendor are a good match! The idea is basically for you to know that you can trust them to handle everything well. That peace of mind brings true value to what you’re paying for. Thinking through these things helps you avoid misaligned expectations and saves a lot of unnecessary problems in the process. After all, time is precious.

Image by inno kurnia

Why photographers charge so differently

Photographer A quoted you RM300 for a half day shoot while Photographer B quoted RM7,000 for a half day shoot. You might wonder, “Are these prices even real?? Why is there no standard price range?”. The answer to that is similar to what we discussed above. Every photographer has a certain value that they can bring to the table – and they know it (the same applies to video production too).

Amateur photographers are usually more keen to build their portfolio even if they don’t get paid much. This could also mean that their experience is limited – they may not yet realise how much time and effort it takes for the full process or how to troubleshoot well if unforeseen issues crop up. Everyone starts somewhere. That being said, it doesn’t mean that they can’t produce good photos, it just means that you need to be aware of what their services can or cannot cover.

On the other hand, experienced photographers will know how to think ahead and have a contingency plan. They’ll know how bring you to great locations and have the confidence to manage unforeseen circumstances. They are good visionaries who know what they want to produce and know exactly what they need to get there. They are good communicators who can explain how the shoot will be done and guide you in the preparation. They will of course, capture beautiful moments because they have mastered their equipment and the true art of photography. Basically it means that

you can trust an experienced photographer to produce quality no matter what happens.

This is the value that you’ll be paying for.

 

In conclusion, its important to know what value you’re getting. If the budget is very low, it probably means the person you can hire will know how to work their equipment but you may need to DIY anything else that’s needed and be actively involved in every part of the process. You may also need to forgo any extra benefits.

If you can afford to pay more for someone with more experience, you’ll still need to be involved to make high-level decisions but the difference is – you can expect excellent quality and be rest assured that the people you work with will smoothly deliver an end-to-end service.

It comes down to asking yourself, “How would I want to invest my time?” and to be clear about the value you’re getting for your budget.

You might also find this interesting: Four Important Things to Consider Before Creating Visual Content for Your Brand

 

 

Featured image by Andrew Khoroshavin