Whether you’re doing a photoshoot, an event, or whatever project that requires help from other creatives, the age old question is, to ask my friends? Or to hire professionals? There’s pros and cons to both sides and it all depends on the outcomes you want to achieve. If you want to just have some fun, get your friends involved. If you want to boost your business sales, are you better off hiring professionals? Here’s some food for thought.
- They’re your friends!
Pretty sure your friends will go along with whatever crazy ideas you have and of course have a laugh about it. Maybe you have an idea to do ginormous fluffy hair in a photoshoot! They’ll do it! Or you want to do some aerial photography, how can they say no?
- They’re free.
If they’re good friends to you, money won’t even be part of the equation. They just want to help and support you on your venture and being a part of that would mean a lot to them.
- You can quite easily say no to them when they have an idea for you that’s totally in the wrong direction.
You want to have a pretty, girly, bubbly editorial photoshoot…but your friend who you’ve asked to model wants to have black nail polish and and dark purple lipstick. You can say no! This is your shoot and you’re asking a favour from them, this doesn’t mean they have run of the show. If they’re your good friends, they’ll totally understand.
- No awkward meetings.
When you’ve asked a professional, the first time you meet can be a little awkward and your just praying that you’ll get along with them. Not with your friends! You know full well what they are like, their personalities and their quirks!
- You already know their skills and quality levels.
If they are also a creative, you’ll already know what their make-up artistry is like, or what their photography (or selfie!) skills are. You will have a pretty good idea that you aren’t going to get amazing quality, but maybe it’s all favours for favours and that’s ok!
- Talk more freely about your ideas.
It’s so much easier to bounce ideas back and forth and explain fully what you’re trying to achieve with your friends. Because you’re more comfortable around them, you can say silly things, stupid ideas and not get shot down. Your friends are there to support you and lift you.
- Fall outs can happen!
So you have a friend that has a strong head on them, which is great for them. But not when you’re asking them to help you and you begin to clash. Fall outs can happen and sometimes catastrophically! Just be careful about who you ask as it’s not worth loosing a friend over.
- You may only get up to a certain quality.
Your friends aren’t the top notch, industry leading, professionals (unless you are majorly lucky!) so you’ve got to remind yourself that you aren’t going to get that level of quality. If you’re wanting better than that, really consider hiring people.
- Friends can ditch out on you last minute.
Because they’re your friends, they know they can be more slack with you and no, it’s not fair but they are your friends and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. If you told them you want to do something fun and need their help, it wont be at the top of their priority list if something bigger comes up for them.
- Could have low experience.
Maybe you’ve asked a friend to be a model for you, except they’ve never done it before! You’re going to have to guide them more, give more instruction and help them out. Always be aware of what they’ve experienced before because even a tiny bit can help you out a great deal.
- Guaranteed good quality.
You are going to get a great level of quality with them, they know what they’re doing and you can see with their previous work that quality is at the top of their service.
- They have the relative experience.
They will most likely have done it all before, and understand exactly what you’re after. Experience is a key component of professionals and it’s part of what you’re paying for.
- They can prove they’ll get your desired outcome with previous work & testimonials.
If they have a portfolio, a wesbite, social medias, testimonials, customer feedback, or whatever else, you can be reassured that they will know what they’re doing and that they can produce what you want. These are like gold dust to professionals and will want to prove to you what they can do.
- They have high level contacts and networks.
You’ve hired a professional photographer and you told them you are also looking for a hair stylist, they will have a list as long as their arm of people you can contact. Professionals always know other professionals, so if they then share the work they did with you, others will see and may also want to work with you.
- Reliable, reliable, reliable.
You book a date and time with them and they write in their diaries. Done. Unless some horrific thing happens and they have to cancel with you, you can rely on them to be there that day.
- You can learn things from them.
They will have a large bag of tricks with them and you will most likely learn things from them. Talk to them, ask them questions about their field, watch how they work. Picking up these little hints and tips will help you out next time and will reassure you in choosing professionals.
- You can explain your idea and they immediately understand what you’re after.
You could literally write your idea out in one sentence and they will immediately understand what you want to achieve. They will just get it. They will have spoken to so many people, they’ll know exactly what you mean.
- Costs, they charge what they want for their services (and sometimes rightly so!)
This is the biggy. Professionals will charge what they want for their services as they’re self-employed and work out the costings/hourly rates themselves. And so they should! That’s why they’re professionals! They are giving their time, services and products to you. They may be doing this full time and have food to put on the table. If they say they are going to do this, that and this, and charge X, Y and Z for them, if they fulfil all of that, pay them there and then. Simple.
However, always do comparisons with other professionals in the same field. And find out why others charge differently. Think of it as comparing your mobile phone tarrifs, different services for different prices and who offers a decent mid-range, etc. Always be careful and back up your choices.
- They may have more experience than you and could use that against you.
They might no that you don’t have a clue what the difference is between using MAC Make-up and Asda’s Make-up. They could swap them round and make it cheaper for them and make more money out you. Or maybe they’ve been around in the industry for quite some time and may try and bully you down so they get their own way in the project by baffling you with nonsense. These aren’t respectable professionals, so always be wary when contacting them and deciding who to hire.
- They could run away in their own style that they’ve built up over their career.
Many professionals may have a style and that’s what they’ve built their reputation on. You look through their portfolios and they always seem to be along the same theme. Maybe this is exactly the style you want, then perfect! But if not, you may have trouble trying to steer them towards what you want and could loose control of the project.
- Could put a time limit on how long they work with you, they’re busy people!
You’ve booked a hair stylist for a fashion show event, great! But then they say, I can only be there for 1 hour as I have another job on. This could still work but then it turns out you have 20 models and all need their hair doing. If they tell you this prior to the event, maybe switch the professional for someone who can commit more time to you. If they do this at the event, you have trouble! The thing is, because they’re professionals, they could have a solid booked diary and it might be down to where they can squeeze you in or could even book you in for months away. If they are worth wait, go on their time schedule. If not, look elsewhere but always find out that they can commit a decent time to you.
After all this, the best position to have yourself in is to make really good friends with professionals and then you can have the best of both worlds. I know we’re not all that lucky though, bare in mind these thoughts when you come across this dilemma. Do you have any stories of using friends or professionals? Or other pros & cons to add? Get in touch with your comments.