While building career materials projects throughout the years, one key component is typically missing from them: excellent photography. The kind that can showcase just how great your course conditions can be. Very few guys have quality when it comes to this most important area, maybe one or two nice shots taken by amateurs.
Hiring a professional photographer is a fantastic way to instantly create a bigger and better impression of your work. The difference in quality of images can be quite dramatic, even at courses with lesser budgets and conditioning. All of the big, famous clubs have professionals for imagery so a sort of "leveling the playing field" can be achieved with this tactic to an extent. It really is incredibly important and few utilize this potential asset. The cost is more than worth the finished product to both your career and club.
Hiring a professional photographer is a fantastic way to instantly create a bigger and better impression of your work...
Why is it important to mention now? This is when to hire a professional photographer. Summer is the time that your golf course looks its best and that golf patrons see every day. They can relate to those pictures much better than any cultural practices or project pictures. They see the finished product.
Who to Hire?
There are many photographers out there in every area of the country, and most of them could do a decent job for you. However, there are a few golf-specific professionals that should be used due to their experience with this specific market segment and because of their network in the industry. Spending the day with one of them could give you insight into other courses and provide you with another partner for your career. Three guys that I know of that do very superb work with courses include:
In the process of writing this article, I spoke with James Krajicek and was allowed to show you a couple of his images here. I have selected some images from places that are not iconic or well-known holes, like Pebble Beach and the like. This is to specifically show you that whether you have a typical parkland style, links, prairie, etc., a professional can make them look iconic.
James does excellent work and you would be very happy to work with him. Several of my clients have, which is why I can speak from experience here.
One thing I haven't seen yet that could be used well is to have the professional work with you to create specific conditioning photos. Something like taking closer-up shots of the actual turfgrass to show density, uniformity, etc. Or how straight the mowing patterns are, tee box edges, even changing hole locations, etc. This could be taken to a new level if done properly.
In addition to you being able to use the images for your career, the club can also use them for their website and other marketing collateral. If you approach the subject properly you could get the GM or Pro to share the cost or even pick up the cost. Again, very few courses have the high quality imagery that can be utilized by all departments.
With a typical cost of $1,500-$3,000, it's not necessarily cheap but not out of most club's price range. When you factor in the value it can provide to club marketing, member communications and most importantly -- your career -- there's no reason you shouldn't take advantage of this asset while it is still underutilized by your peers.