Photos capture unforgettable memories and quality is important. Hiring a photographer on your vacation can give you the greatest souvenir of all. While you may think it’s out of your budget, you might be surprised to find that vacation photographers are often less expensive than at home.
Finding a photographer
In addition to family travel, I enjoy children’s fashion. I have found a great community online of other like-minded parents and small shop owners who buy, sell and trade clothing online. On our travels with Lucy I sometimes plan which outfits would photograph well in certain places. Not only do I enjoy it, but Lucy loves playing dress up. As a result, an idea occurred to me before a trip to Asia. What if we hired a professional photographer to follow us around on a day of our travels and take photos of (mostly) Lucy and a few of our family together?
I started a search for a photographer on Instagram using hashtags for the city we were traveling to (Bangkok) by searching [city] + photographer and similar tags. After only a small search, I found a potential photographer and passed the details over to my husband, the salesman, so that he could handle the business side of things and negotiate rates. It was only a few communications back and forth and we had booked a photographer in Bangkok with a plan in place.
Hiring a photographer in Bangkok on our own was a dream. While we paid a premium for a city like Bangkok, the cost was a fraction of what we would find at home. We met “K” in our hotel lobby and headed out on a journey through the city we know and love to snap some photos in key spots.
While “K” offered his services for around $200 for the half day, western competitors would have charged more than 5x that amount and imposed a number of restrictions. The digital copies and rights to our photos were also included in our rate but he also edited the photos, sending us completed copies via a dropbox a week later. Dealing with the photographer directly was personal, commission-free for him, and avoided limitations on number of locations, outfits, time and quantity of photos.
Hotel Conceirge Can Help
We had such a great experience with “K” we decided to do it again on a trip to China. However, instead of seeking out a photographer on our own through Instagram or Facebook (blocked in China anyway), this time we contacted the hotel concierge at the Park Hyatt Ningbo.
The concierge arranged for a photographer to spend two hours with us walking around the property, picturesque on its own. For this service we paid less than $90 plus tip to the photographer directly, a tip for the translator and of course the concierge for his excellent service. Again we walked away with all of the digital copies and rights to the photos that were taken.
Speaking of Asking at the hotel…
During a trip to the Park Hyatt Sanya, we asked a manager during a tour of the property about hiring a photographer locally with the same concept in mind. It is important to our family that we capture these moments as they happen. The property was stunning and we thought it would be another opportunity for photos of Lucy from this trip.
The manager offered us the in-house photographer, a gesture that was unexpected and turned out to be very special. One thing that stood out to Lucy during this stay was the picture on our key card. It was a photo of a statue that sat on the resort grounds near the pool. Lucy loved taking her key over to the statue and examining the image on the card side-by-side. As it turns out, the in-house photographer took the photo that appears on the key and all of these things lead to this wonderful shot of Lucy, her key and the statue.
This was a much more abbreviated experience but nonetheless provided excellent high quality photos at this beautiful property.
AirBnB Experiences is a service offered in some cities which is also quite reasonably priced. While you don’t need to be an AirBnB guest to utilize the service, it makes sense as an easy add-on to your stay. Friends of ours hired a photographer in Paris for $150 for a couple of hours and a few dozen photos. There were some limitations on the number of shots the couple were allowed to have, but they certainly found it to be a fair value. Most importantly, they wouldn’t have done this without AirBnB offering it, but because it was affordable, the trip was special and they wanted to capture it with a professional, they were able to do so. They highly recommend the service and after seeing the photos I wouldn’t hesitate to use the service.
I fully understand that photographers are unique and talented professionals, in fact I could not agree more with that sentiment. Understandably, their services are not inexpensive and when it comes to memories of our trips; I am not looking for a cut-rate experience. However, Flytographer is far too rich for our budget even though their prices have come down by about 40% in the last couple of years. Their professional photographers offer high-quality photos, but by comparison the same package in Bangkok that we got with “K” would have run us 8x the money with loads of restrictions. His work was stunning and I just can’t imagine what Flytographer could offer that would improve my experience 800%.
Had we chosen a package through Flytographer or any similar service, we certainly would have had less time and received fewer photos as a result. It’s important to mention that Flytographer takes a percentage of the price for their marketing and processing services, where as working directly with the photographer cuts out the middle man and delivers more money directly to the photographer.
I would love to be able to endorse Flytographer but their prices are unreasonably high for most travelers savvy enough to ring the concierge or reach out to someone on Facebook.
If you are considering hiring a photographer during your travels abroad, I recommend doing a little research online and making contact with a photographer directly to negotiate terms and rates. While I haven’t tried Airbnb Experiences personally, I look forward to giving it a try. Having a professional photographer follow you around while you explore a different city may be one of your favorite souvenirs.
Have you ever hired a photographer while traveling? Have you tried services like Flytographer or Airbnb Experiences?