How to Find and Work with Blog Photographers
Updated: Sep 18, 2019
Calling all bloggers! Isn't one of the toughest parts of your job (especially when you're just starting out) figuring out how to get quality photos for your blog and social media? Lots of y'all end up forcing your roommate or boyfriend to snap a few pictures of you in exchange for snacks. Even then, the photos aren't quite up-to-par with your fellow bloggers.
Your image is everything, so if your photos aren't driving engagement, it's time to think about outsourcing some help!
So, why should you invest in professional photos in the first place?
As a former blogger myself, I cannot tell you how many hours I spent outside with my camera on self-timer on a tripod. I'd take 5,000 pictures to get just ONE good one (okay, maybe not that many, but you get the point). It was a total time-suck and I could never get my photos to look as good as those bigger, high-influence bloggers. Plus, standing in my back yard or some random side street looked tacky. It made me look less serious than I actually was, and it was hurting my credibility as a professional blogger.
Although investing in a photographer might seem like it's way out of your budget, I can tell you it's actually not. When you count up all of the time you save, it's so worth it. If that's not enough for you, I can promise the quality of your photos will turn heads. Seriously, brands will want to work with you so much more when you have high-caliber photos on your site and social media. Not only will they want to work with you, but they'll want to feature your work - which means more traffic and more followers for you.
When your a blogger, your image is everything. Invest in your photos, and I promise you'll see the return!
Okay, so how do you even find a good blog photographer?
Start locally. I'm sure you're connected to tons of local bloggers just like you. Go onto their Instagram pages and look at who they're tagging in their photos. Most likely, you'll get the names of several high-quality photographers.
If that doesn't work, search through some of the popular blogger hashtags for your area. For example, if you're in Seattle search #seattlefashionblogger or #seattleblogphotographer.
Since blog photography is so niche, many of these photographers might also do weddings or portraits, but don't be discouraged by that. Reach out and chat with them about their experience working with bloggers, or better yet, ask your fellow bloggers what their experience was like working with that photographer.
How do I work with a photographer to get the best photos for my blog?
Blog photography is pretty nuanced, so it's important to set specific expectations with your photographer early.
When working on brand collaborations, there's often very specific features or products you need photos of. Before shooting, make sure you make a list of all the "must-have" shots and communicate this to the photographer. For example, if you're supposed to be showing off the comfort of a particular pair of running shoes, you'll need to have some close-up action shots of the shoes in use.
Additionally, most bloggers have a unique aesthetic or vibe to their social feeds and overall brand image. Do you have a light and airy look or a dark and moody vibe? Do you want super candid action shots or more posed, model-y images? When your photographer understands these expectations, they can direct, shoot, and edit accordingly.
Discuss payment options with your photographer as well. Sometimes I find it's more economical for bloggers to pay per outfit, but other times it's better for them to pay per hour. It depends on how quickly your photographer can snap photos and how quickly you can change outfits.
All in all, communication and research are key. Make sure you're setting expectations with a photographer on what's right for your brand.