Why Hire a Professional?

Talent is crucial, but it does not mean professional.

We are dealing with a challenging era for the photo & video industry. To enter the profession, it used to require years of honing craft, competency in chemistry and math, significant capital investment (#shootfilmstaybroke), and building relationships with really great mentors. It seems in modern times those traditional barriers/ institutions have nearly been eliminated. So what really separates a proficient amateur from an experienced professional

I attempt to answer that question in a presentation I regularly lead for the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) called What Makes US Professionals. In it, I outline the best business practices necessary to truly be considered a professional photographer. A few key points include establishing a legal business entity, having a vendors license, carrying liability insurance, drafting project agreements, pricing by the usage value of the delivered image, and understanding the Copyright Act of 1976. I also take into consideration personal work, marketing, and how to remain relevant in changing times.  

These days, after watching hours of YouTube tutorials, less than a $1000 worth of decent gear, and a lot of ambition, it is easy to start making fantastic images. Careers can be built with just an iPhone and Instagram account. Entire marketing efforts have been simplified to free apps that are literally in the palms of our hands. While incredible, this ease of accessibility + connectivity introduces a new hazy layer that can be confusing for photographers and potential clients alike.

Many aspiring creatives want to believe Talent + Luck = Success but it isn't that easy in most cases. Eventually, those who last long enough come to realize how essential it is to build a foundation based on strong business principles (both in general and regarding intellectual property). It's also important to mention there is an entire X factor based on Character. These attributes are essential for long-term success in any industry. Ultimately, a professional will abide by the aforementioned qualities while also bringing confidenceexperience, and guaranteed results to any project they work on.

Our Approach

Great planning and an all-star team will deliver exceptional results every time. This is true in building an agency or firm and it also holds true in media production. Our projects always consist of three phases. We begin with Pre-Production, this is where we work with you to determine every detail of the shoot. Production is the actual shoot -- efficient and fast-paced but structured to be a great experience. Once we reach Post-Production, our team will take all the selects through the necessary steps to prepare them for final delivery within your timeline.


Pre-Production is the planning stage of the project where we gather information, determine what it will take to bring your vision to life, and set the plan in motion.  

The conversation begins by learning more about your needs:
- Creatively, what will we be shooting?
- Expected number of final images?
- How will the images be used (web, print, advertising)? Any additional uses?
- What is your deadline? 
- Approximate budget? 

Next, we discuss the production specifics:
- Will we be shooting on-location or in-studio? How many days?
- How large of a production do you have in mind? 
- Will we be working with talent (real people, actors, models, etc)?
- What is the goal of these images?
- Do you have a shot list prepared?
- Is there a mood board? Any mockups of the usage? 
- Was there something about our work in particular you thought would be a good fit for this project?
- Will someone (such as an art director) be on set to approve final images? 

Based on the input from these initial questions, we can provide critical feedback on the project and talk through any considerations to ensure our production is successful. From there, we can draft an estimate and project agreement. 


Production is the actual photography phase of the assignment. We hit the ground knowing the shots we are going to create, when and where to get them, and how. If we haven't already done a walkthrough of the site in advance, we immediately assess the conditions upon arrival. We check in with the on-site contacts and make sure we have access, electrical power, and permissions. On the day of the shoot, we move quickly and efficiently, following a carefully developed schedule.

When the inevitable challenges arise, our years of experience come into play. There are very few issues that can not be solved with creativity and know-how.

Location Scouting & Prelighting

Lighting is a large part of what separates excellent photography from mediocre snapshots. Take note of the interplay between light and shadow in all of the images in our portfolio. While light reveals color and texture, shadow reveals form and dimension. The placement of light is critical to communicating and revealing the character of the subject. It's the unspoken voice in every image. 

Most photographic lighting involves four basic sources: sun, fluorescent, tungsten, or strobe. The challenge is in knowing when to use each, how to combine multiple sources, and how best to accentuate and interpret the elements in the photograph. Often, the trick is to know when not to use specific lights or techniques. We own an impressive amount of equipment (including strobes, continuous lights, modifiers, grip tools, and professional audio) suitable for most large productions, but more can always be rented as needed. 

Crew & Talent

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The Producer

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The final stage in the process, Post-Production encompasses the steps involved in transforming digital images into beautiful photographs. In this phase, we "process" or computer-render the digital images.

The final images are then delivered to you in a DVD package. The package includes a Read Me document reiterating license and usage spelled out in the estimate and invoice, a DVD with folders containing 50mb tiffs and 1mb jpegs of each file, as well as a set of contact sheets showing each file delivered with its file name for your convenience. We can also deliver tif or jpeg files for download via FTP. Small jpegs can be delivered via email.

Digital Art Services

The goal is to always 'get it right' in camera. With that said, every image presents its own unique set of challenges. Power lines, concrete stains, dead landscaping
other elements are usually present, which can distract from the ideal portrayal of your property. We give every image a basic clean-up, such as removing small marks from walls, leaves from lawns and objects from streets. But based on your requests, we can go much farther. Given that retouching is time-consuming work, please note that it will be estimated separately, based on the time required.

Copyright Ownership

Contrary to popular belief, the copyright and ownership of still and moving pictures remain with their author, the photographer/ filmmaker, who then licenses usage (same as music, software, and other intellectual property) to the commissioning party. This is in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law.

Therefore, Matt Reese Productions, Ltd. retains ownership and copyright of the images we create. Our clients are granted rights to use the images as outlined in the terms agreed upon in the project agreement.

The value of a photograph is often determined by its intended use. The more the image will be used or seen, the greater its value. This is one of the reasons why we ask, "How will these images be used?" This ensures that clients do not pay more than necessary for the photographs.

Licensing fees are quoted on a case-by-case basis. We use industry resources such as fotoQuote, BlinkBid, Getty, and a network of trusted colleagues to determine a fair rate. Standard usage granted by Matt Reese Productions, Ltd. for commercial clients often include the company/ organization's web site, digital newsletters, and social media (excluding paid advertising). Licensing for use in advertising can be negotiated separately. Fees for potential future uses can be negotiated in advance.

Multiple parties may share the costs of commissioning photographs when possible. Your organization can save a significant amount of money by partnering with other benefiting parties that might also have uses for the photographs. However, sharing, selling, or transferring images in any form to any party that has not participated in commissioning the images is not allowed. Parties who wish to license images after the fact must negotiate separate agreements with Matt Reese Productions, Ltd.

Please don't hesitate if you have any questions.  Contact us for additional information.

Professional Photographer

Downtown Columbus Ohio

Qualified downtown Columbus Advertising, Editorial, and Commercial photographer.

199 South High St., STE 5
 Columbus, Ohio 43215

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