I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

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When to DIY a brand photoshoot vs. when to hire a branding photographer

August 5, 2020

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I get it. It’s confusing. You’ll hear people screaming from both ends of the ether:

“Hire a photographer!! Outsource it! This isn’t your zone of genius, so why are you spending time on it?!”

Or, on the flip side…

“DIY ALLLLL the way. Don’t hire ANYONE until you absolutely have to, it’s a waste of your money. You have an iPhone – take your own pictures!!”

Well, what if I told you that you should be doing both?

I hope this blog post can serve as your compass to determine when you should be hiring a photographer and when you should be DIYing your photos. Let’s get to it!

When to DIY a brand photoshoot vs. when to hire a brand photographer 

There is DEFINITELY a time and place to book a professional branding photographer. Branding photographers aren’t just photographers – we’re also brand strategists and content specialists. The job of a brand photographer is to learn about your mission, goals, and big picture, and then create photos that reflect the core of you and your business.

But, there is ALSO so much room to DIY your photos. I mean, you can’t take your photographer with you wherever you go. (Well you could, but it would cost a boatload of money, and it’s kind of creepy lol.)

Here are a few scenarios that could happen to you:

  • You booked a dream travel gig, and want to share photos while you’re traveling.
  • You got a dramatic haircut, but your next photoshoot with your photographer isn’t for months.
  • You had an unexpected change in your business that you want to share on social media.
  • People have been asking you about your behind-the-scenes process, but you don’t have any photos to showcase your workflow.

See what I mean?

When you hire a photographer vs. when you DIY will depend on what kind of business you run, but here are some guidelines.

When you should hire a photographer

Hire a photographer for the big things:

  • Product & new offering launches
  • Rebrands & website redesigns
  • Professional headshots for your website & social profiles
  • Events and workshops that you host

Social media coach personal branding session

When you should DIY your photos

DIY your photos when:

  • You are a blogger, or someone that needs to constantly be creating content. Additionally,  you need quick turnaround times on your photos.
  • You are still establishing your brand and figuring out your brand voice.
  • You want to capture everyday behind-the-scenes, like: working in your space, meeting with patients and clients, packaging products, before and after shots, your work from home setup, your everyday routine.

In general, if you’ve JUST started your first business – DIY your photos. After you have established yourself, you have a steady income stream, and you have a clear vision and direction of where you want your brand to go – THEN hire a brand photographer to take your brand to the next level.

Woman wearing a white shirt and gold headband sitting on the floor. Her laptop is on the couch.

Real-world examples

Below, I’ve compiled a list of a few different professions, and when you should be DIYing vs. hiring a professional photographer.

Maker/artisan:

  • Hire a photographer to capture your studio space and behind the scenes. Maybe follow a single piece from conception to production and have the photographer capture all of the in-between steps.
  • DIY your everyday social media content, new pieces in between photoshoots, craft fairs, and deliveries (if that’s something you offer).

Blogger:

  • Hire a photographer for your most popular blog post types and big events (birthday blog post, anniversary blog post), big brand sponsorships and collaborations.
  • DIY for your everyday social media content, outings and collaborations with local stores and restaurants.

Hair stylist:

  • Hire a photographer to get photos of your salon, headshots of your stylists, and working with clients.
  • DIY for every day before & afters, social outings with your team, when your team is out at trainings and workshops.

Coach:

  • Hire a photographer for your service and product launches, your speaker headshots your process about how to get clients from point A to point B.
  • DIY for client wins, your daily routine, and everyday behind the scenes.

Physical trainer:

  • Hire a photographer to capture a “modeled” behind-the-scenes of you working with a client, your meal prep routine, nutrition-based photos, headshots, and your signature program.
  • DIY for everyday client work, your at-home workouts, on-the-go activities.

See what I’m getting at here? There is a time and place for a professional, and a time and place for DIY.

But, do I need a fancy camera?

Unless you’re looking to get into photography as a hobby, I’m gonna strongly recommend that you DON’T buy a fancy DSLR or mirrorless camera. Think about it – to use this camera effectively, you’ll also have to invest in a good lens. Then, you’ll need to learn to shoot in manual to take advantage of the camera’s capabilities. Which means, you’ll have to spend hours upon hours researching how to use a DSLR – ma’am, that is not in your zone of genius.

But what if I told you, you’ve already got a fancy camera on you – your phone? 

On top of that, what if I also told you that you only need to spend a short amount of time to learn how to use it as effectively as possible?

And, what if I told you that I Have a phone photography course that teaches you EXACTLY what you need to know to DIY your brand photos, efficiently and effectively? 😂

Introducing: Brand Your ‘Gram

Brand your 'Gram - DIY Phone Photography course for content creators and business owners

Brand Your ‘Gram is a DIY phone photography course for content creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners. I teach you practical skills, with no fluff or filler, because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Through my easy-to-follow instructions, achievable tips, six info-packed modules and one private Facebook group, I’ll teach you how to DIY brand photos from the comfort of your own home, and phone. 

To see all that’s included in the course, visit www.brandyourgram.co. I hope to see you there!

About the writer

Hi! I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

If you’re ready to take your social media presence to the next level, enroll in Brand Your ‘Gram at www.brandyourgram.co. To book a brand photoshoot with me, hop on a free, 30-minute brand consult call here so we can chat about your business vision and goals.

Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Alice says:

    Very interesting post! Thank you for your opinion, I think most people that want to start a business are not sure if they should hire a professional photographer or not.

  2. […] a row before you consider booking a brand photographer. I’ve outlined a few of those ducks in this blog post. But if you’re conflicted about booking a photographer vs. DIY-ing your brand photos, go […]

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I’m Emily, and I’m a brand photographer for passionate small business owners who are ready to scale and want to stand out online as local industry leaders.

I, my (dog) daughter, and my fiancé are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here at Emily Kim Photography, I provide creative, strategic marketing imagery that are in line with your business goals.

tell me more...

crowd faves

on the blog

Color Psychology for Photoshoots

5 Dream Bay Area Studio Rentals for Your Next Shoot

5 Tips for Optimizing Images on Your Website

How to Plan Outfits for Your Brand Photoshoot

goodies you'll love

Access My Free Resource Library

Branded Stock Photography at the EK Stock Shop

Free Preset for
Lightroom Mobile

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