It's a sunny but breezy day and I just had to sit down, soak up the last of the summer sun, and type out this quick budget 'how to' for y'all :) If you haven't noticed already or are new to my blog (welcome, so glad you're here), I love a good photoshoot!
Any chance I can get, I want to take memorable photos that I can always look back at that can spark some of my favorite laughs, restaurants, and people I experienced on my trip. Instagram will showcase the best parts of someone's stay through professional photos, drone shoots, or video footage. But how do people take these amazing photos on their trip affordably?
I know you're wondering....if a photographer in my area costs $xxx amount for one shoot for one hour....how much is it abroad? Is it the same price? Is it cheaper? And are these people REALLY spending $xxx on every single trip for some photos?
Keep reading to find out how I find photographers and experiences for less than $100 no matter the international destination! That's right, you all can be winners and get professional photos on a budget!
I've traveled to 18 countries, and 100+ cities and love booking a photography experience that allows me to see the city and get amazing photos in some of the top areas or neighborhoods. My most recent trip to Colombia was one of the BEST photography experiences that I've ever had. My mouth practically dropped when I received the Google Drive link with nearly 300 photos. Every single photo was phenomenal and not only captured me wonderfully, but the colorful streets of Cartagena as well. With some credits, I only paid $55 out of pocket!
In addition to Colombia, one of my other favorite photoshoots was with my sister on our FREE trip to London which also cost us $100 each. I later found out after following the photographer on Instagram that he is a major photography influencer and has amazing lifestyle and landscape shots. What a deal.
So where can you find these great deals?
MY TOP CHOICE: AIRBNB EXPERIENCES
Local photographers and videoagraphers will host airbnb experiences that can charge between $50-200 per person or group. What I love about these experiences is that they are usually combined with a city walking tour. You receive professionally edited photos while also learning about the culture and seeing some of the best sights along your photo walk. Plus, depending on your budget, you can find a variety of experiences that are affordable for you and your friends or family.
Trust me, whether the price is super high or looks oddly low, the price won't always reflect the photos and overall experience you may receive. I say this because even though I may have chosen more affordable photographers, I was beyond satisfied with their work, experience, and talent that shone through the edited photos.
I've paid nearly $400 thinking I was going to receive photos and drone footage that was unique and creative but after some reflection, ended up disappointed with the overall experience. Look at the example photos they provide on the experience, but also go a step further and look at their social media profiles to get a sense of their photography and editing style. Each photographer has a unique way of capturing people, so find one that fits and resonates with you. Read the reviews as well to see what other people are saying about their experience.
"We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone" -Katie Thurmes
No matter the experience, all of my photographers were warm and inviting people that were excited to capture me, guide me into different poses, or provide great photos. Which means even if you think you're awkward in front of a camera, don't know many poses, or may not even be as confident; they will bring this energy out of you in a natural way that will produce photos you can't wait to share.
Let's check out some of my favorite affordable photoshoots below - and if you're ever visiting one of these locations I highly recommend booking their experiences.
*Click on any of the main titles to bring you directly to the Airbnb experience to book*
I cannot rave enough about my experience with Rafael. I was so satisfied and excited to work with him the entire experience. It was truly a breath of fresh air. Rafael is incredibly warm hearted, creative, and full of excitement. His experience combines a photo walking tour with learning the history of the Colombian African heritage. He shares valuable information on the Afro-Colombian culture, music, and people throughout the entire photoshoot. The 1.5 hour city walk is colorful and vibrant which is clear in the photos. It was so easy working with him because he knew exactly where to place and guide me to capture the best shots. I mean my skin was GLOWING, the sun hit me perfectly, and the lines and shadows aligned perfectly in every single shot. I received my photos that same evening and even bonus edited photos and a reel, which was way faster than anticipated! If Cartagena is on your list, don't forget to get some photos captured of your beautiful self in the city. Book with Rafael here.
Another top favorite experience of mine was my winter photoshoot in London! After winning a free trip to London, it was only best that my sister and I have a fun photoshoot. Han was our Airbnb experience host who guided us on a 1.5 photo walking tour of the Nottinghill neighborhood. This neighborhood is one of the most expensive areas in London marked by their colorful homes and unique shops and cafes. I loved seeing all of the local Christmas decor and we had fun working with Han. This was one of the first experiences I booked for photos so he set the bar high. From then on I used Airbnb experiences to continue finding local photographers that loved their city, and had a passion for capturing tourists and meeting new people. He is definitely the photographer to book if you want some Instagram worthy fashion or city fashion shots that focus on you. Check out his experience here.
My sister and I planned a cute valentine's day shoot for our trip to Spain and even got coordinating outfits. When our trip got cancelled due to me getting COVID, we went a couple of week's later and booked an experience with Josue. Now it obviously wasn't Valentine's day anymore, so we probably looked silly to the Spaniards in our super pink heart jackets and jeans (LOL) but oh well you only live once! This was a unique photo experience because we walked along Barcelona's busy and unique streets. We visited the Gothic quarter, Gothic Bridge, and got unique photos between the alleys of their vintage stores. Josue will make you shine throughout this session. We also happened to be grouped with a young couple our age who had been traveling throughout Europe. We shared the photo time with them and had fun exchanging conversation and taking photos. Check out Josue's experience here.
THE RUNNER UP: INSTAGRAM HASHTAGS + PROFILES
Outside of finding local photographers that host a photo walking tour on Airbnb, you can dive a little deeper if you can't find one that suits you. On my spring trip to Utah, my other travel blogger friend and I (@marissadaily) wanted to do a fun flying dress shoot in the Utah Salt Flats. My oh my was it hard to schedule a photographer that wasn't already booked out and wouldn't cost us a fortune! But behold the powers of a little research....I found an amazing gem. I searched various hashtags religiously for a week. I also would find similar photoshoots with the dresses or with the specific location and found other photographers or freelance artists. I probably sent messages to nearly 30 people trying to coordinate the pickup of the dress rental, the photoshoot location + time, and the return of the dresses. But I'll write another blog post on that later....let's get to some of the photos shall we?!
Booking Betsy was the best decision I made. This 2021 shoot cost us $115. TOTAL. She's a freelance photographer now currently studying in Hawaii. I was so surprised to learn that she was just a senior in highschool at the time because she was perfect behind the lens. She has so much talent and our photos were even better than I anticipated. Check out her Instagram here.
I love love love taking photos and having amazing professional images to document my stay abroad. I'm so glad to have taken the time to write out this quick 'how to guide' so I could share this love for photography with you. I hope you saved some of my recommended experiences in the Airbnb app so you know to book on your next trip!
Did you already know this hack and have a abosulte favorite photographer abroad/experience you want to recommend? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org