How to Find a Photographer for Your Fashion Blog
Before even starting a blog, the first thing you need to consider is how to find a photographer for your fashion blog. Truth be told, I had toyed with the idea of starting a fashion blog ever since I started studying fashion. But the one thing that stopped me all these years (5 to be exact) was the fact that I didn’t have a boyfriend or close friends who were photographers. I also couldn’t afford to pay photographers weekly for multiple shoots. But once I decided to start, I soon found out that finding a photographer with limited budget was actually the least of my worries. So today I will show you some effective and inexpensive ways to find a photographer for your fashion blog.
“The defining factor [to success] is never resources, it’s resourcefulness” – Tony Robbins
Ask Your Boyfriend
If you already have a boyfriend who is a photographer or enjoys photography then great! Good for you. But if you just have a boyfriend, that’s okay too. Neither my boyfriend nor I knew how to operate a DSLR camera when I first decided to start a blog. We didn’t even know that we can shoot on autofocus! So during our first shoot all the photos came out blurry!
We quickly found tutorials on YouTube and educated ourselves about the basics of operating a DSLR. Through practice and a lot of patience on my boyfriend’s behalf, we finally figured out how to take reasonably decent photos. He took the photos for my beginning blog posts (here and here) as well as our travel posts in Japan (Tokyo At Night and Shibuya Crossing). The photos from 5 Things to do in Asakusa were good enough that a Museum Volkenkunde in the Netherlands contacted me to borrow the dress I wore. (Read all about the experience here!) They will be showcasing the dress AND the photos taken by my boyfriend as well as crediting him and my blog! Trust me, if my boyfriend (who is NOT a photographer and does not have a single creative bone in him) can learn photography and take photos like this, so can yours!
“Practice and patience is key”
If your boyfriend has a lot of free time but isn’t willing to help you out sometimes, dump him. He’s not going to be there to support you through all your blogging endeavors and difficulties. And why would you want a boyfriend like that? ; )
What Camera To Use
In today’s blogosphere you really need great quality photos to stand out. It is worth it to invest a little in a DSLR camera. We use the Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Zoom Lens. If you have the budget, I would recommend getting the newer versions, either the 5D Mark III or the 5D Mark IV because the autofocus is better and improved.
Treat him well!
Ask a Friend (who loves photography)
Not all of us have a boyfriend but surely many of us have a couple friends or acquaintances who like photography. More likely than not they will probably need a subject to shoot at some point. This is when you can oh-so-generously offer to be the subject! My talented Aussie friend Owen helped me with some of my outfit shoots like the Burgundy Trend. My first ever blog post was taken on his fire escape! I was chatting with a fellow blogger friend Rachel and she said she has a couple friends helping her out with the photos. And the results are amazing!
P.s. the best thing about friends is that they’re usually very generous with the RAW files : P
Offer to do the post editing yourself (if they don’t mind) to save them the effort and time. And buy them a drink/meal!
Post on Craigslist
Yes, I’m serious. And, no, Craigslist is not just for missed connections, cheap furniture, rental scams, creepy men and casual hook-ups. A week or so after I started my blog I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for photographers willing to collaborate. I attached a photo of myself and explained that I had no budget for this gig. I admit I was hesitant at first and my boyfriend worried if I would get kidnapped. But this is actually one of the best decisions ever.
Within the first 2 days I received 20-30 emails from both professional and amateur photographers in the New York area (however, I do have an unfair advantage because I live in NYC). There are many photographers out there looking to add to their portfolio and need models to work with. Some like to do creative work, so if you can come up with interesting outfits, ideas or locations for shoots, even better!
I met 3 photographers from Craigslist and they were all very professional and friendly. This is where I found Austin who is super talented, has an amazing artistic eye and is so fun to work with. We have since traveled together all over Europe, Morocco and Turkey.
Here is a post about tiered dresses Austin and I did together on our Europe trip:
*UPDATED SEPT 2017*
I have also found success finding photographers in Tokyo and Kyoto during my recent summer travels (2017). Sometimes I offer pay, but explain that I don’t have a large budget. Whether the photographer will accept your pricing is up to them and based on their usual rates. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. Here are some posts from that trip (I have credited each photographer at the bottom of each post):
Ask to see their portfolio/website and google their name to make sure it is a valid domain name and they have various legit-looking social media profiles.
Meet in public places, particularly for the first few shoots.
Be professional, be punctual and be prepared. Always bring your A game and make sure that people enjoy working with you. Contribute ideas for where and what to shoot and create a Pinterest board to communicate with your photographer.
I created a board called The Handmaiden before Austin and I did a shoot for the posts Reimagining Erotic Fantasies Part 1 and Part 2 so that we were both on the same page. I also printed out some of the key imagery I wanted to recreate and brought it to the shoot.
Ask what the photographer would like to achieve from this shoot and if they have any type of imagery in mind that they want create. It’s a mutually respectful and beneficial collaboration, so make sure you are adding value for your photographer as well.
Use the Search Tab on Instagram
There are many ways you can search for a photographer on Instagram. The most instinctive way may be to enter “Photographer” in the search tab, but it won’t actually give you very accurate search results. Here are my tips for optimal results while looking for a photographer on Instagram:
Search for #hashtags that photographers use. Forget about the common hashtags like #portraitphotography or #photographer. There are millions of those out there and it’ll be too difficult to narrow down. Instead, try (Your location) + (Photographer), e.g. #nycphotographer or #chicagophotographer
Also, here is a list of specific hashtags to help you find photographers:
#pursuitofportraits #agameoftones #justgoshoot #portraitpage #portrait_shots #portraitmood #portraitgames #agameofportraits #moodygrams #featuremofh #shoot2kill #fashionphotography
Go into a photographer’s page and look at the #hashtags she/he is using and check out the results for those! It will lead you to other photographers and their work.
Look at the comments of popular photographers that have +10k followers. Many of the people commenting are also photographers and some might be open to collaborating!
These pages feature portrait photography by photographers around the world. Click into each photo to see the photo credits and which photographers might be in your area.
If you want to find more similar pages, simply go to the bio of these pages and click on the triangular button next to [FOLLOW] (See below)
DM (Direct Message) the photographers that are in your area and don’t have a ridiculously large following (because those probably get hundreds of DMs per day). If they do not follow you there is a high chance they won’t see your message because it will get filtered to a “Message Requests” page. In this case, DM them first then follow up by leaving a comment in their most recent photo. Compliment their work and politely ask if they might be interested in collaborating.
You can also search #hashtags for locations in your area. I once searched #chinatownnyc and found several accounts of photographers in my area who are open to collaborations.
By the way, follow me on Instagram!
Find Out Who the Local Bloggers are Collaborating With
If you’re a fashion blogger you’re probably following several other fashion bloggers in your area. Find a blogger with a similar following to you in your local area. Often they will tag the photographer they worked/collaborated with in their photos at the top left or right corners. Tap each of their photos to find which photographers they’re working with. Often they’re working with more than one. Those photographers are likely interested in working with new faces and are also experienced in photography for fashion bloggers!
Look at bloggers who have a follower count of about 1500-10k. I find that these bloggers are the ones that are most resourceful and collaborate often with local photographers.
Use the Influencer Search Tool in Iconosquare
Iconosquare is the ultimate tool to use for everything related to Instagram. Not only can you get analytical data, schedule posts and manage comments, you can also do a customized search for users that fit your criteria. So you can easily search for the Bio keyword “Photographer” in your city. You can specify how many followers or followings they have, how much media they’ve posted, which hashtags they’ve used, and so on. (See below)
If you haven’t signed up for Iconosquare yet and you are serious about growing your Instagram account, you ABSOLUTELY should! Click here to get $20 off Iconosquare, or just start with a free 14 day trial!
Join a Local Facebook Page
I was speaking to John, a photographer I worked with recently in Las Vegas (I found him on Craigslist!), and he said that he used to find models to work with via local Facebook pages for photographers and models. Try searching on Facebook for photography pages in your city.
Disclaimer: I have not personally used this method to find a photographer yet.
Join a Photography Meetup Group
Meetup is a website for like-minded people to meet and host activities to further their common interests. Some of the events require a fee to participate, so search around and see what you can find. There are many photographers (likely amateur) on Meetup looking to improving their photography skills and would love a subject to shoot with!
Disclaimer: I have not personally used this method to find a photographer yet.
| Photography: Austin Donohue |
Black Beaded Cardigan by Alice and Olivia (Similar here)
Booties by Valentino
Sunglasses by Carin Glasses
I hope these tips and tricks have answered your question on how to find a photographer for your fashion blog. Did you try any of these methods? Leave a comment and let me know! And definitely comment if you have any other ideas to add! : ) Happy blogging!
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