The double helix staircase in UTS Central

How to help procurement to get you the best imaging services


This article is for marketing, communications and project leaders within businesses that are the users of photography, imaging and other creative services. It aims to help you fully engage in the procurement process and achieve the quality and value you need. It also includes a handy checklist to help you identify your needs.

Procurement’s role

Procurement has grown in significance within business over the past two decades. It is now an indispensable component of the governance and cost control of large corporate and government enterprises.

The procurement profession works best when it empowers the business to buy from the supplier that’s the best fit for your business at the right price. For commodities, in particular, this summary is obvious.

Let’s use a major construction project as an example. For primary inputs like concrete, steel and glass, the target products can be specified and identified as a known quality or performance standard. This allows like-for-like comparisons that can be legally enforced.

Procurement will also seek to understand the actual costs that the supplier incurs in providing their products. By understanding the cost, procurement can assess the supplier’s efficiency and negotiate the optimum sustainable price.

Procurement will also help you to identify risks that could hinder reliable supply and cost stability.

However, when it comes to services, it is more challenging to procure objectively. And creative services are possibly the most difficult of all. After all, the quality of ideas, images, and how the job gets done can result in very different business value outcomes.

Nevertheless, objectivity remains the aim.

How to Procure Imaging Services

Start by building a list of all aspects of the imaging service that will affect the creation of value and impact the business’s cost. When viewed through this frame, value is measured against the total cost of working with the supplier, including your time, not the price alone. Plus, the potential value created for your business by the service.

Provision of the required services is essential but not sufficient to ensure the best value. What about the standard of service and support you will receive? Will the supplier be difficult to manage? Do they understand your business and how to make life easier for you? After all, a supplier that can be relied on to solve problems and deliver results has far less impact on your day-to-day management.
When it comes to cost, hourly rates are only one part of the value equation. How long does it take each supplier to complete the task? Is unit pricing available? And how creative is the supplier in developing solutions that make the most of your budget?

As a user of imaging services, the items in this checklist are likely to matter to some extent. There will be others that are important to your business that you can add.

As well as having items in your checklist that are most significant to your business, you should also identify how you’ll measure them. For subjective areas, use indicators on a three to five-point scale to aid your scoring.

Imaging Procurement Checklist

Service Area Measurement examples 
Image quality


  • Previous work examples
  • References from credible, authoritative sources
Imaging formats
– Still images
– Motion video
– Time-lapse sequences
– Aerial and drone
  • Previous work examples
  • References from credible, authoritative sources



  Industry experience


  • Your industry
  • Ask the supplier to describe the most important aspects of working in your industry
Subject matter experience



  • Think about all of the things that you most need and could need to be captured in any image format.
  • Previous work examples
  • References from credible, authoritative sources
Capacity and scalability


  • What is the structure of the supplier’s business
  • What percentage would your business be within the supplier’s business
Understands our business


  • Can the supplier demonstrate that they understand what you’re aiming to achieve with the images?
Easy to do business with


  • Can the supplier be relied on to get the job done with minimum supervision and hands-on management? Are they adept in helping you to manage stakeholders?
Project management expertise


  • Can the supplier demonstrate the ability to define timelines, milestone dates and responsibilities?
Creativity and solutions capability


  • What capability does the supplier have to develop problem-solving solutions that help you lower costs and make the most of your budget?


  • The total cost of doing business measured by an hourly rate; time to complete; suitable first time/fewer rounds of amendments; management overhead required.


For more information on images of all formats for your business, contact Images for Business.