How to Hire & Work With Blog Photographers

D.C. blogger Alicia Tenise shares tips and tricks on how to collaborate with blog photographers - How to Hire & Work With Blog Photographers by popular Washington DC blogger Alicia Tenise

Ah, blog photographers. When I first started this blog, my boyfriend at the time was taking my photos. However, even though I had a DSLR, neither me or my boyfriend knew what on earth we were doing. After we broke up, I connected with a student photographer at my college, and my content improved ten-fold. 

Even though I have a DSLR of my own and occasionally get my friends and family to help me shoot content, it really is a lot easier for me to team up with blog photographers to produce high-quality content for the blog. I’ve had a few learning curves over the years with blog photographers, and I wanted to share some tips and tricks so that you can make the most out of your blog photography sessions!


Ask other bloggers what the average blog photographer rate is

This is a huge, huge huge one: blog photographers’ prices vary in every area, and it’s great to know what the average price is so that you don’t end up overpaying. Some (not all!) blog photographers will offer a special blogger discount if you tag their social handles/link to their website on every post. I like to start out by researching photographers that have shot with bloggers before: they tend to understand what kind of shots we need, and tend to charge accordingly. Make sure to chat with your local blog friends in the area to get a ballpark figure of what you should pay for these sessions.

Always sign a contract with blog photographers

You know me: I love me some contracts. There are a ton of reasons why you need to sign a contract with your photographer. Sometimes, the photographer will even have a contract for you to sign. Cathy from Poor Little It Girl has an awesome post that breaks down contracts even further. When you’re preparing a contract for blog photographers, here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Rate: I like to include the rate per session/outfit/hour in the contract that we’ve agreed upon so that there aren’t any surprises down the line.
  • Copyright & Usage: Typically, your photographer will be the copyright holder and will give you a limited license to use their work on your website/social platfoms.
  • Use of Images: When I work with brands, I give them permission to repost images on their social outlets only. If brands want to post your images on their website, print ads, or any other marketing materials, you need to work this out with your photographer — often times, the photographer might require a licensing fee.
  • Make sure you’re posting the images first: This is a clause I always include in my contracts — before the photographer can upload any photos from our session to their portfolio/website/social networks, I have to deliver the photos to the brand and complete my postings first. This is super important to me, because when I work with brands, sometimes it is a violation of the contract for a third-party to share images from the campaign before I get brand approval.
Agree Upon a Deadline

I’ve worked with some blog photographers that can send me photos in 24 hours, and I’ve worked with some that took a full week. Ask them what their edit time is beforehand, so that you aren’t missing any of your deadlines. If you are working on a sponsored post, I request that the photographer gets me the photos back at least 3 days before I have to send them over to the brand: you might have to request re-edits or additional frames, and you should allow yourself time to do so. 

Let the Blog Photographers Know Before The Shoot What You Need

If you’re working with a photographer for the first time, it’s super important to communicate with them the shots you need. My goal is to end up with at least 20 frames from each session since I usually put 5-8 photos in every post. I also know that I prefer vertical photos over horizontal, so I request more of those photos. Lastly, I create a “shot list” and send it to my photographer before the shoot: I’ll share what the objective of the photo shoot is, and sometimes I’ll include inspiration images and examples of shots that I want to try. Let the photographer know from the get-go what types of shots you need to avoid any issues in the long run!

Prep before your shoot

Blog photographers don’t have all day to shoot — so you’ll want to use your time efficiently. I usually pack and steam items the day before so that I’m not running around an hour before my photoshoot looking for a pair of earrings. I also location-scout beforehand; since I typically shoot 3-5 looks per session, I like to choose locations that have easy parking, multiple backdrops to shoot at so it doesn’t look like I’m shooting in the same block, and I want to make sure the location compliments my outfit.

If you’re staging a lifestyle shoot — set everything up before your photographer comes. It’s a waste of the photographer’s time to sit and watch you stage a tablescape or a flatlay. When they arrive, your area should be completely ready to shoot!

It’s ok to ask for re-edits (or reshoots!)

Disclaimer: do NOT do this all of the time. The local blog photographers might grow to dislike you if you constantly ask for reshoots/re-edits. In my case, I’ve had a really hard time with photographers editing my skin in the past, and I will not hesitate to ask for a re-edit if my skin looks too dark in photos, or a re-shoot if I spot some major technical errors on the photographer’s end. I’ve only had to ask for a reshoot a handful of times in my 5+ year blogging career, so again: don’t get too trigger happy with these. Make sure to include a clause in your contract that guarantees a complimentary reshoot under extreme circumstances!

Leave a Comment


  1. Sarah Jean wrote:

    I also have a good camera and my husband now takes my photos! Haha. I have been wondering if it would be helpful to invest in a photographer though

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  2. Sarah wrote:

    This is so helpful! I’ve been looking for this exact post – I really want to up my photo game, and I’m no photographer. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  3. Dzeneta Cavcic wrote:

    Been thinking of hiring someone for a while. I have an instagram husband now lol, but he’d be happy to give his job away to a pro 🙂 Thanks for posting, I will have to look further into this.

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  4. hal wrote:

    this is really great advice – super helpful! when i have used a photographer my content was SO much better – so when i have gotten one i’ve tried to group things to make sure i had a few projects to shoot at one time to make it more worth it

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  5. Really great tips! I’ve never felt the need to hire a photographer but who knows if that doesn’t happen in the future. Thank you for this post!

    Marta –

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  6. Heather Gullett Denniston wrote:

    Really great info. i had not thought of the one about getting the right to post the photos first. Great tip.

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  7. This is great! Hiring a photographer really does take your blogging to the next level.

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  8. Joanna wrote:

    These are actually really great tips! I am getting ready to work with some photographers, so this is super handy:)

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  9. Miss ALK wrote:

    Great post Alicia!! Since I’m preparing to move next month, I’m in the process of interviewing new potential photographers right now, so this was quite helpful!!

    xoxo A

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  10. This is an awesome post, what a great resource. I think a lot of people have these questions and don’t even know where to start.

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  11. Veronica @inveronicascorner wrote:

    Great article! Definitely saving for future reference:)

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  12. When I need a professional photographer, I’ll be using your tips.

    Posted 3.14.17 Reply
  13. Alicia Romelia wrote:

    I was just asking my friend about this earlier. Thanks for writing this!

    Posted 3.15.17 Reply
  14. When I first started friends of mine would take photos for me, and while I’ll always appreciate it – they had no idea what they were doing, haha. I’ve finally figured out my DSLR, but taking photos of myself isn’t all its cracked up to be. So glad I decided to invest in a photographer!

    Posted 3.15.17 Reply
  15. Allison Gallagher wrote:

    This is so helpful! Thank you! I’ve been needing to find a photographer and this is awesome!

    Posted 3.15.17 Reply
  16. This is awesome! I’ve been wanting to find a local photographer, because I’m just not very DSLR savvy!
    Alexandra Christine Blog

    Posted 3.15.17 Reply
  17. Ruthie Ridley wrote:

    I’m struggling big time in this area. Thanks for the tips. I’ll draft up a contract stat!!!!

    Posted 3.16.17 Reply
  18. Becca Hawk wrote:

    I needed this so badly! I have my first photo shoot on Friday (I usually use a tripod) and I’m so nervous! Do you have any tips on how to act natural in front of the camera and get the best poses?

    Posted 3.20.17 Reply
    • The key is to definitely move! Get your photog to have you walk towards the camera, walk away, etc. Photos with movement look a lot more natural that static poses. It might take a few sessions to get the hang of it (I was HORRIBLE my first time!) but you’ll get the hang of it!

      Posted 3.20.17 Reply
  19. Ooh this is such an interesting topic – I do photography for some bloggers in NYC and have never thought to put together a contract for my services. And I wasn’t aware that some photographers ask their clients to tag them in each photo that they post (not sure if I would ask that of my clients, though I guess if they were on a really tight budget then that would make sense). Thanks for the tips, Alicia!

    Posted 4.7.17 Reply
  20. Tanisha wrote:

    I love this post. So informative especially for newbie bloggers

    Posted 8.23.17 Reply
  21. Kacey Cole wrote:

    As a photographer – I have to say this is a really excellent and informative post from the client viewpoint. Well done!

    Posted 10.17.17 Reply
  22. Kent Johnson wrote:

    These are all excellent points though I think it would be more useful to ask for usage rights than copyright. And be clear about the usage – you do mention that. Top photographers will not part with actual copyright. Unless large sums of money change hands. A usage licence is a whole other thing, flexible and fair for all parties.

    Posted 10.29.17 Reply
    • And you make excellent points here — but I only work with photographers that give me a full copyright due to sponsored post obligations. This does not mean that I’m giving these photos over to brands to put up on a billboard or anything crazy like that, but due to the sponsored post requirements I receive, I need to own my own photos. Despite this, I always credit my photographer when reposting on social media and at the end of each blog post as a courtesy.

      However, as I stated in the post, I say to always discuss this with the photographer because not everyone is willing to do that! That’s perfectly fine if you do not choose to do so, but this post was written from a blogger’s perspective and what we need to fulfill sponsored post requirements.

      Posted 10.29.17 Reply
      • Kent Johnson wrote:

        I hear you Alicia; of course all the aspects you mention for usage have been worked out between photographers and clients using Licencing agreements for campaigns for years and years, without need for copyright ownership. When you go to the next level; do keep the idea of licencing in mind; it will really help with your negotiations. Cheers, Kent.

        Posted 10.29.17 Reply
  23. Great informative post to all newbie bloggers even photographers too. For so long I didn’t find any ideas to get photos my upcoming blog post, these tips will help me a lot undoubtedly. Thanks a lot for sharing with us. Cheers!

    Posted 1.27.18 Reply