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19 Pro Tips for Booking a Photographer in Bali

@almazovadasha

There is no shortage of professional photographers in Bali – with prices ranging through both ends of the spectrum. Brands of all sizes from all over the world bring their teams and products to be photographed in Bali due to the availability of picturesque locations, uniquely beautiful faces, and the below-average cost of staff and logistics.

Photographers in Bali

Most professional photographers on the island, whether Balinese, Indonesian or foreign, have their own unique style. To clarify, I wouldn’t say they’re better than anywhere else in the world. However, the range of experience in Bali is wider than in most Western work environments.

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Photographers in Bali can be experienced in all sorts of niches of photography such as commercial, product, fashion, landscape, travel, and portraiture.  

What actually is photography anyway?

Photography itself is an art form, though many would debate this (probably due to the availability of camera technology in almost all of our daily devices.) With cellphones being launched every month with newer and more advanced capabilities, professional photography seems to have lost its appreciation. Even with professional cameras and equipment, most of us also seem to think that owning a DSLR (the big bulky cameras) alone can grant you the title of ‘Photographer.’ @almazovadasha

Let’s get down to the basics. Photography is the art of freezing a moment in time. It is the talent of knowing the right angle, light, depth, focus, color, and distance to create the perfect image. From National Geographic to Playboy Magazine, professional photography is not only greatly appreciated, but is also a major necessity in their work.  

Why should I hire a photographer in Bali?

You’re on an island everyone wishes they could visit within their lifetime. Bali is without doubt on everyone’s travel bucket list. And regardless if you’re here for professional or personal purposes, you should find every excuse to document the short period of time you will spend here before you dive back into your everyday hustle-and-bustle.

As I mentioned above, Bali is home to many skilled, passionate photographers, who can work with you to determine what exactly you need for your photoshoot and how you can go about doing it efficiently. The industry also offers a lower cost when compared to Western countries. You might end up spending half or what you would pay for a photographer in Australia or USA – and receive impressive results.

You can also use this opportunity to finally ditch the selfie pics. Sure, your latest Samsung Galaxy might have the most advanced camera technology, but a professional Bali photographer will understand photography way past the camera itself. Remember, it’s not just about the photos, you’re in for the entire experience. So feel free to go ahead, roll out the red carpet, and make yourself feel like the star you are.

What to look for in a professional photographer in Bali

It needs to be said. Owning a camera, no matter how cheap or expensive, does not guarantee the best results. And even though photography skills can be learned to a certain extent, a professional photographer will have an eye and passion for all things camera-related. It can be confusing to pick out a good photographer in Bali versus the average ones with camera equipment. Find the right photographer is similar to a match-making process. Once you meet the right one, it’s smooth sailing from there on. 

They can’t stop talking about photography/work
This is their life, work, passion, and bread and butter. The moment you speak to a real photographer in Bali about a potential photoshoot or general industry-related topics, they will never shut up. This is a positive sign and shows that they’re in it for indulging in the work itself and not just the money, (although most Bali photographers would argue that no sensible individual with a functioning brain would be in it for the money.)

Result oriented
A photographer will (sometimes almost instantly) have the final photo(s) in his/her head upon being told about the photoshoot.  He/she will be obsessed with attaining these final results as opposed to getting paid. Regardless of how long the shoot will take, and regardless of how long editing will take, these final images are what a true professional Bali photographer takes pride in. 

Comfortable to be around
Being in front of a camera is much harder than it looks. And during a photoshoot, this discomfort may have nothing to do with your confidence and everything to do with the chemistry between you and your chosen photographer. A good photographer will get to know you, understand where your comfort zones lie,= and play a huge role in bringing out the ‘true you’ during your photoshoot. A strong chemistry with your photographer will also get the job done much faster and lead to some amazing results – all while having a great time.

Takes the lead
Many of us think we know exactly what we want, but the reality is we actually don’t. Upon going into the details with your photographer, he/she will know exactly what you need and how it needs to be done. A good photographer will be able to take the lead from there and tell you what to do, what to wear, what to bring, and even how to look. And perhaps it may not sound like a good thing of hiring a photographer to be your ‘boss’ for the shoot, it’s 10x better than hiring a photographer who has no clue how to take the lead and leaves all the decision making entirely up to you. 

“No, not good enough” 
A real photographer has the ability and bravery to say no. High standards with one’s own creativity is a true artistic trait and hiring a photographer in Bali with these qualities is a blessing. A Bali photographer who has this trait will not stop until he/she gets that perfect photo. The ability to say “no” also applies to your own standards. Sometimes we may end up settling for an average result because we are tired or we had enough. Your photographer should have the ability to say no to you and push you to continue at your best.

They have a website and a portfolio
Depending on your project or photoshoot, some Bali photographers may be the best match for what you need, no matter how many years of experience they have or how diverse their portfolio may be. A website with a categorized portfolio will show the best of their work and may even mention some of the names or brands they’ve worked with in the past. If the photographer you’re considering does not have a website, ask to see their portfolio. It is also very common for Bali photographers to have a dedicated Instagram page for their work. Make sure this ‘look’ matches what you’re looking for. 

They’re already making money from photography
This is perhaps debatable. But the mere fact that they’re have gigs, getting scheduled, and getting paid, shows that they’re valued in the industry. You will come across Bali photographers who seem to know what they’re talking about and have some nice equipment but still doesn’t get hired. This could be due to bad experience from past projects that lead to less-than-satisfactory results. Though this is not always the case, you’re probably better off working with a photographer who is already getting gigs in Bali.

They are more excited for the photoshoot more than you are
When an artist has a vision that they see themselves a part of, there’s a huge burst of endorphins. Working in the field itself may be satisfying to a photographer but working with the right people is the icing on the cake. A photographer who is pumped to shoot your photos may be the perfect one for you. 

How much do photographers in Bali cost?

As with most other professional services – it depends. There are several factors that affect how much you would pay to get your photos taken. Some photographers will charge an hourly rate or even a daily rate, while some may give you a rounded figure for the entire session. Other Bali photographers may also offer packages for you to choose from. The final cost will depend on these factors:

Type of photoshoot
The type of session or photoshoot itself will be a primary factor to the overall cost of your project. Wedding photography, fashion photography, and maternity photography will all have different rates to begin with. This is become some a more difficult more than others or require more skill.

Length of photoshoot
Will your photoshoot only last a few hours? Or will be spread over the course of several days? Photography is not as easy as it looks and can be (sometimes literally) back-aching. Your photographer will be bending and twisting in any possible angle to get the perfect shot, so length of photoshoot will definitely come into play with the final cost. 

Experience level
You get what you pay for. Professional photographers in Bali will charge more than the rookies and you can see it clearly in both the photoshoot and the edited final product. If you think you can cheap out and hire a rookie and send the photos to a friend to edit them for you, I wish you the best of luck. In my experience, hiring a professional photographer in Bali is worth the money and time. You’re not paying for a digital file or physical photo. You’re actually paying for a well-documented memory, a first impression of your business, or potentially getting hired for something. Think about this before you set your own budget. 

Logistics
Depending on the demands of your photoshoot, the question of logistics might come into the discussion. Especially because most people rent scooters in Bali, you might get discouraged after the first backpack or two. If you need to lug around bulky equipment like a smoke machine or studio lighting, then renting a car will be the better option. You will have the freedom to bring more props and outfits with you and even a few more friends. A professional photographer in Bali will most likely have experience with this and have her own drivers / car rental businesses that he/she works with – possibly leading to a cheaper car rental cost. 

Equipment
Your photoshoot may require additional equipment that your photographer may not have. Although it’s not uncommon to find that many Bali photographers have their own collection of gears and whistles.

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As I mentioned before, lightboxes, fog machines, additional flashes, or coloured lenses, can sometimes be an extra cost. Normally Bali photographers won’t bother to mention this because it is already calculated into their quote so you don’t have to worry about extra payments. However, equipment may come into the discussion if necessary.

Props
Depending on the concept of your photoshoot, you will need to gather some props that suit the look/style. If you’re posing as a sexy construction worker, you might need some sledge hammers and hardhats, or if you’re shooting with a punk/metal look, you might want to get your hands on some spiked accessories, a guitar, and maybe even a drum kit.

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Photoshoot props can be rented in Bali but can also be quite limited. Again, photographers in Bali know their way around these obstacles should this shouldn’t be a problem.

Location
Some locations such as photo studio or private area may require you to make payment to use the space. Photo studios in Bali normally charge per hour or a packaged rate (such as 4-hour or 6-hour packages.)

If your chosen location is a place of business, you may not need to pay because it’s free publicity for the business, so most don’t mind at all. If you’re shooting at a temple or a religious/traditional location, I urge you to give a donation to the groundskeepers. It shows a sign of respect and gratitude.

What information should I give to the photographer?

Your budget
This is probably the first thing to come up in the conversation with your photographer. Going into your shoot with a set budget in mind will help put your mind at ease so you don’t stress about spending too much. When determining your budget, consider the impact of the photoshoot and who will see it once it’s done.

Just because a photographer charges more or is cheaper, doesn’t necessarily mean he/she cannot work with you. A professional photographer can adapt to your budget, and would recommend cutbacks on your preferences if they exceed expenditure. Don’t be uncomfortable or shy when discussing your budget. Establish what you want and how much you’re willing to pay for it.

Purpose of your shoot
Clearly defining the purpose of your photoshoot with the photographer can help create a precise agenda to make things run smoothly. The photoshoot will basically become a collaborative project between you and your photographer, and anyone else who is involved, if any. This way, everyone will be on the same page and work together towards the end result. Be clear and detailed as possible with this discussion. Gather as much reference imagery as possible if you have any, and as for their input based on their experience. (Hint: Create a Pinterest mood board!)

Your preferred date and time 
Letting your photographer know what date and time of day you prefer can help with the organisation pre-shoot. Your photographer will set out to mold everything around that day and time of your photoshoot.

What props and items you can already provide
Letting your photographer know what you can provide for the photoshoot can save tons of time that would’ve been spent searching and reserving. Make a list of props, outfits, and other equipment you can throw into the photoshoot. If you don’t have anything to include, then don’t worry too much. Bali photographers have lots of work with.

What NOT to ask/tell a photographer

This point isn’t to get too deep into psychology, but to take into consideration how some people may feel.

Too often, photography is considered a simple hobby or side-gig and disregarded as a professional field. This can lead us to say/ask very inconsiderate things. To help you start off on the right foot with your Bali photographer, here are a few commonly asked questions/statements you should try to avoid. Many of these are self-explanatory so I won’t go too deep into details.

  • “Can you photoshop the photo to make me look skinny/younger/better?”
    Your photographer will probably be editing minor inconsistencies on your face and body, that’s it. Making a person skinnier or younger in photoshop is not as easy as you may think. Especially when working with a large amount of photos, these edits will not be consistent with each other.
  • “I spoke with my friend who is a photographer and he/she said you should ______”
    Ah yes, the friend who is an expert. Photographer, like artists and musicians, all work differently from each other. Do not impose one’s way of doing things onto the other.
  • “Can you send me photos by tomorrow?”
    We can get impatient. I get it. But don’t rush the artist! Editing itself can take days and even weeks depending on the amount of photos. Be realistic with your time requests and take into consideration that the photographer has to eat and sleep as well as other projects he/she is still working on
  • “You take great photos your camera must be super expensive.”
    If I can play a really mean guitar solo, does that mean I have a really expensive Les Paul? Or does it show that I’m skilled in what I do? Appreciate the photographer’s craft.
  • “Can you come and take some quick shots in 20-30 mins?”
    Photoshoots take time. It takes time to set up the camera. It takes time to adjust the settings of the camera according to the environment and the subject. And it takes time for you to warm up to the photoshoot. Unless you’re an experienced professional runway model, you won’t be nailing the poses right away.
  • “Can I have a photo with the sun in my hands?”
    Please don’t.

Bring your own outfits

I’m assuming you’ve already packed your singlets, flip-flops, and swimming shorts. While these are perfect for Bali’s climate, you probably don’t want to sport this look in your photoshoot – and if you do, I won’t judge. We all have our own preferences and style that we’re comfortable in. And more than likely, that will involve your own clothes.

It can be difficult to pinpoint your own set of clothes here in Bali, especially if you have a certain style. Even though there are quite a few shopping malls in Bali that carry Western stores and brands, the overall selections will probably be limited compared to where you’re coming from. Therefore, make sure to pack your special, best looking pieces of clothes for your photoshoot so you don’t have to stress about finding them here.

Will I need a makeup artist?

By the way this doesn’t only apply to women. No matter what look you’re going for during your photoshoot, makeup will always be needed. Even for a more natural look, you will need your makeup done. This is because you will most likely be working with unnatural colouring lighting, which is digitally created within the camera. What you see in the mirror vs what shows up on the camera display vs what the final result is – are all totally different images.

Scheduling a makeup artist is a good idea especially if you have a busy photoshoot schedule ahead of you, and if you’re aiming for a certain look. Professional makeup artists not only know exactly what they’re doing, but also put your mind at ease so all you need to think about is working it for the camera. Bali’s makeup artists work frequently work hand in hand with Bali photographers to come up with the final result.

Most makeup artists in Bali can either be schedule to come to your photoshoot location or be booked for the entire day. You might consider booking a makeup artist for the day if your photoshoot involves different outfit concepts, different styles, and needs to be fixed throughout the day because of constant sweating. Makeup artists in Bali are also more experienced with applying the right material according to the weather.

How to prep for the photoshoot?

Avoiding drinking / smoking
At least a few days before your photoshoot, you should clean yourself up. Avoid the bottle, put down the beer, and lose the cigarettes. Drinking tends to bloat you up (especially your precious face!) and I’m sure you don’t want to look swollen in your photos. There is a myth that alcohol can help you look lean the next morning, which is absolutely untrue. The reason you may think you look lean the next day is because you’re dehydrated – and trust me, you don’t want to be dehydrated during your photoshoot in Bali’s tropical climate.

Get a haircut / shave
Fellas, whether you’re ‘beard gang’ or not, you’ll want to get touched up. Go to the barbershop to get trimmed and cleaned up. If you have a beard, you can get it lightly trimmed to remove all inconsistent hairs and random strands. The main idea here is to get you looking your absolute best, something which us dudes can get pretty lazy at.

You can visit your own barbershop before visiting Bali, but you can also find several here that can get your hair game up to standards. Most barbershops here are walk-in locations and you can expect to pay about the price of a coffee for a decent trim.

Don’t tan too much
You won’t be able to avoid tanning while in Bali. It’s probably one of the reasons you look forward to being here. But generally, tanning isn’t recommended before a photoshoot. These is primarily because tanning gives your skin inconsistent tones. In fact, most top model agencies in the world do not allow their models to tan at all.

It doesn’t matter what your skin colour is, although if you’re darker skinned you will have no issues with tanning at all. Most people who are not the darker shade of brown will tan, no matter their ethnicity. So it’s best to wait for your photoshoot to be over with then you can go ahead and soak up the sun.

Get hydrated
Bali is hot, and you will be sweating buckets. Dehydration can lead to unpleasant circumstances and you probably wouldn’t want these during the day of your photoshoot. Drink tons of water and clear fluids (Vodka doesn’t count!) at least 2 days prior to your photoshoot to get sufficiently hydrated.

Get adequate sleep
Get your 8 hours of beauty sleep regularly a few nights before your photoshoot, not just the night before. If your body isn’t adjusted to the sleep pattern and length, it can make you feel groggy the next day. So at least for a few nights, start going to bed a bit earlier and get as much rest as possible. We wouldn’t want dark eye bags in your photos.

Go on a diet
The ladies often ask this question more than the men. Should you go on a diet? Yes, at least to a certain extent. I’m not saying you should dip a stalk of celery in water and nibble on it for the next few weeks. But at least clean up your food intake – this means you should start cutting back on the sugary foods, fatty carbs, oily fried foods, and salty snacks.

A healthy diet not only affects your weight, but also makes a huge impact on the quality of your skin, hair health, facial health, and your overall mood. I would recommend stacking up on leafy greens, fruits, and vitamins for a week or 2 prior to your photoshoot. Going to the gym and getting at least an hour of cardio can also help you shed some water weight and give your body and nice toned pump. You want to look in your prime!

Get your hair done
Ladies, (or fellas with long, luscious hair), going to the hairstylist the day before your photoshoot will help your hair look as beautiful as possible. Whether you want it stayed, trimmed, coloured, or even add extensions, most hairdresser in Bali can do all of the above. Just make sure you give yourself enough time.

Get a manicure
Many people consider getting a manicure to be therapeutic and I totally get it. Who wouldn’t want their hands to be treated like royalty anway? Manicures get your hands and nails clean up and into their tip top shape. You wouldn’t want any regrets after looking at your hands in the photos.

How do I pay photographers in Bali?

Cash is king in Bali as in any other corner of the globe. Most Bali-based professional photographers aren’t corporate businesses and they’re most likely a one-man operation, so they probably wouldn’t have any credit/debit card machines, nor would they accept cheques. Usually some photographers in Bali would ask for a deposit. This is to cover their preparation for the photoshoot and reserving the time/day just for you. Sometimes there may even be some preparation expenses involved on their end, such as props, studio reservation, location permissions, and even equipment rentals. These all require time and money so a deposit makes perfect sense. 

If you don’t have any cash on hand and are worried about withdrawing your cash in sketchy places in Bali, consider reading my piece on ATMs in Bali.

What kind of equipment should a photographer have in Bali

No, the latest iPhone doesn’t count, (though, somehow, professional photographers seem to know their way around just about any level of camera equipment.) A professional DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera is standard for photographers to have in Bali. The lens is quite possibly the most important piece your photographer will be working with. Your chosen photographer must know her/his way with lenses, including what to use and when to use it. Choosing the right lens is like choosing the right golf club. 

Your shoot may also require additional equipment such as lightboxes, tripods, external flashes, smoke machines, and backdrops. Though most professional photographers in Bali don’t necessarily own their own of these normally equipment, they would have easy connections to get them for your photoshoot. 

Do Bali photographers include editing or is it extra?

Photo editing is almost as old as photography itself. Almost all photographers prefer to edit their photos post-photoshoot and there are many reasons for this. Although professional cameras have intricate editing options on the device itself, with technology we have the option to make the final product as perfect as we can. Lighting is always optimal, and certain colors may not set the exact mood we want. Editing also helps bring all the photos to the same consistency so they all look similar in color, style, and lighting. 

Most professional photographers in Bali will include editing as part of their services. This is because their style/look continues after the actual photoshoot – they may have a certain style of editing. It has become known in the industry for rookie photographers to send out raw files simply because it’s not part of their skillset, or they just can’t be bothered with editing. This inquiry often goes undiscussed between client and photographer, so make sure you bring this up upon meeting him/her so there are not misunderstandings when the shoot is finished. However, it is not rare to see some photographers in Bali charging extra for editing services.

Should I ask for the RAW files?

A Raw file is the purest, uncompressed information about the image and may come up at some point during your project. Most people like me and you probably wouldn’t have any use for these files, but somehow it’s always recommended that we ask the photographer for the raw files as well.

In short, no, you shouldn’t ask for the raw files. And most Bali photographers probably would refuse to send you them anyway. Professional photographers take pride in their most polished final product, which is the images they will send to you after editing. Asking for a raw unedited image is like going to a restaurant and asking for the staff to bring you a plate full of raw ingredients. Besides, they’re huge files and take up lots of space.

When should I hire a photographer in Bali?

This inner debate can hold you back from making the final decision whether to hire a Bali photographer or not. There are times when professional photography probably isn’t necessary, and there are times where you wish you hired a photographer. Here is a list of recommend occasions and reasons why should you should a photographer in Bali:

Wedding Photography
Get married is a huge milestone in your lives, and a destination wedding in Bali makes that milestone much more significant. You and your dearly beloved will all be gathered on this magical romantic little island and you will want to remember every single moment of this. Therefore, hiring a photographer for your Bali wedding is not an option, it’s a must. Whethet it’s your wedding ceremony or your wedding reception, both of these occasions need to be fully documented with a professional wedding photographer in Bali. 

Hiring the right photographer for your wedding in Bali is as vital as booking the perfect private DJ in Bali. You need someone who knows exactly what this occasion is and what it feels like. These are not elements to pinch your wallet on. 

Maternity photography
Being pregnant is a magical phase in your life when you’re in charge of bringing a beautiful, innocent human into the world. And to be fair, while your baby is still in the womb, that’s probably the most innocent he/she will ever be! Every expecting mom who is in Bali or visiting Bali should get their maternity photos taken. Remember, your entire life is about to change. Whether it’s your first child or 5th, it will never be the same again. 

And yes, if you didn’t realize as yet, the ‘pregnancy glow’ is a real thing. If you choose to take your photos solo or with your spouse, it will remind you of how strong you are as a woman. Hiring the right photographer to capture you during this time in your life will leave you with a lifetime of memories for you, your family, and your little ones. 

Newborn Baby Photography
Do you remember anything when you were a newborn baby ? I sure don’t. Capturing these pure moments of your newborn with a professional Bali photographer can give you photos that are worth keep by the bedside forever.

Keep in mind that Newborn photography is way, way harder than it looks. It requires precision, expertise, and safety. Therefore, you should seek out a photographer in Bali who is experienced in photographing babies – whether your little one is asleep or awake during the photoshoot.

A Bali photographer who is an expert with Newborn photography will have the necessary props and equipment to create the perfect photoshoot. He/she will already know all the safety measures to take so your baby will be safe and comfortable. The photographer will also have an idea of what poses will look better for your baby.

Travel/Adventure Photography
When visiting Bali, you’re bound to go on a couple of trips. Especially if it’ll be your first time adventuring around the island, you will be fall upon some of the most breathtaking scenery and landmarks your eyes will ever see. Many people don’t think of this when going on trips, primarily because they think the cellphone will do the trick. But we all know cellphone photos never do justice to the experience. 

It would be a smart idea to hire a photographer for the day to follow you and your friends/family around as you visit these places in Bali. Don’t settle for just selfies. Have the most professional photos taken of you, with your loved ones, and luscious scenery. The best part about this is that you won’t have to worry about handling your phone or personal camera, and just focus entirely on experiencing Bali’s beauty. Your photographer will be responsible for capturing every moment. (Psst, imagine how amazing these pics will look on Instagram!) 

Product Photography
Starting a business; not easy. Getting your first sale; god-level difficulty. We all know the struggle of getting your first product off the shelf. Clawing your way throughthat first transaction. It’s not a fun run.

Having professional photos taken of your products helps to ease that pain. Although it wouldn’t guarantee your products will fly off the shelf, it does give an extra edge to your business. Especially if your business is based online, photos of your products are all your potential customers have to look at, so you will want these to look top notch.

If you already have established products that have no problem getting sales, and you’re looking to expand your collection or product line, hiring a professional Bali photographer that specialises in product photography can help maintain that level of consistency that your current product imagery already has.

General Social Media content
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook has become more dominant in our everyday personal and work lives. Every man, woman, child, and even pets have their own social media accounts.

If your online presence is something you take seriously, regardless of your profession, then you should deeply consider hiring a photographer in Bali to create unique content for your platforms. Keep your posting schedule in mind and think way ahead of time when planning for your photoshoot – different outfits, different locations, and a variety of poses and styles.

Your photographer will work closely with you to create the image you want for yourself, and if you work frequently together, you may even get lower rates. 

Corporate Event Photography
Men and women in their suits looking their Sunday-professional best. Why wouldn’t you want to photograph them? Whether your corporate event is centered around your employees, your clients, or your associates, it is definitely worth hiring a photographer to work the sidelines and capture everyone in action. Make sure beforehand that your chosen photographer is experience with corporate functions as most corporate photography can end up looking bland and boring (primarily depending on the event itself)

Personal Birthday Photographer
Yes you should absolutely hire a photographer for your birthday party. Photographing these less-than-sober moments of your close friends and family is worth the little it will cost you. But I’m talking about something else; a personal birthday photographer.

On your birthday party, you will be man/woman of the hour. People will be pulling you in all directions to talk to you. You will also have so many other aspects of the part to take care of like catering, decor, and that one friend that can’t seem to find the location. You can hire a photographer in Bali specifically to follow you around during your birthday and capture your candid moments with everyone. No more worrying about if your friend caught a pic of that moment with her cellphone – that will be taken care of. This is your birthday and you deserve to be treated like a celebrity.

Charity & Fundaraisers
No matter how noble the cause, organising a charity fundraiser can be a pain in the ass. Sending out invites, seating plan, catering, decor, collecting donations – each come with their own headaches. But when the day finally comes, and all your guests are there because of your efforts, you will want to cherish this.

Hiring a Bali photographer for your charity event not only gives you the headspace to focus on other tasks, but also ensures quality. Your foundation will look more professional and create a positive impression with your donors. As a bonus, you will also receives tons of photos to use as content to attract even more funding/donations.

Food Photography
The food business is one of the most competitive industries to be involved in. These days, even the smallest restaurants and food brands employ the best strategies to stay on top of their competitors. If your business involves food and/or food products, professional photography is an absolute must. Customers prefer to see what their meal or food item would look like before ordering it. Therefore, your average cellphone photographer would not make the cut for this gig. Your hired photographer should also have a section of their portfolio dedicated entirely to food photography. Even if your business isn’t based in Bali, it is still common for chefs and food-oriented entrepreneurs to come to Bali and have their food photography done here. Don’t pinch on this. Make your customers salivate just by looking at your photos. 

Fashion Photography
Whether you’re a fashion director, clothing designer, clothing reseller, or model, you probably already understand the importance of having the right photographer for your project. Most people think that hiring a professional Fashion photographer will give them less control over the project but this isn’t true at all. Hiring a pro photographer can actually give you more control because you can command what exact direction you need to go.

There are many Bali photographers who are well versed in the steady-growing fashion scene here, some of whom may be suitable to add to your project. Remember, most of the time when it comes to Fashion, you’re not actually hiring – you’re adding to your team for this specific project. Other fashion projects may require different expertise and different photographers.

Model Portfolio
Attempting to become a model without having a model portfolio is like applying for a job without a CV. It is vital to have a portfolio to portray your range of talents as a model and hiring a professional photographer in Bali is a great step in the right direction towards starting or upgrading your portfolio.

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You can work closely with him/her to decide what looks and characters you would like to include. Consider a diverse selection of looks such as street, formal, elegant, conceptual, rock/metal, and vintage styles to truly showoff your versatility as a model. 

Musician/ Artist press kit
If you’re an artist, DJ, or in a band, a press kit is vital for you to start getting gigs. Booking agents and venues will ask to see a press kit to see what you play and where you played. You will want your press kit to look as professionally aesthetic as possible. This will portray you as someone who takes their music seriously and separate you from the bedroom musicians. You can hire a photographer in Bali to get a photoshoot done, preferably with you posing with some relevant props (like with a guitar if you’re a guitarist, or with a microphone if you’re a singer.)

Family Photography
Family, no matter how annoying and irritating they may be, are a strong part of who you are as a person. Your immediate family has played a huge part of who you became today and we all sometimes forget that. 

Book Photographer in Bali - Family Portraits
@almazovadasha

Having family photos taken in Bali has several positives. The mere fact that you’re on a Bali trip together shows that you’re already a step in the right direction in solidifying your bond to each other. Hire a family photographer in Bali to capture your moments together while you’re here. Our loved ones won’t be here forever and it would be a great plan to get some shots of everyone together. Trust me, you’ll save yourself from many regrets. 

Nightlife / Event Photography
If you’re throwing a party at a club or you’re the owner of a venue, you absolutely need to hire a professional photographer in Bali to capture these moments of fun amongst your patrons. Nightlife photography has become a specialty in the industry, with some photographers in Bali choosing to focus entirely on the nightlife, clubbing, and late-night socializing. Photos of your guests captured in the right frame can make or break the perception of your business or event. You can use these precious photos as proof that your place is the place to be (Plus you will have tons of content to post!). Look! See how much fun everyone’s having? Don’t miss the next one!

Bali Villa Parties / Private occasions
Throwing a party in your own private villa in Bali should already be on your bucket list. Pool party? BBQ? Sunset cocktail party? Or as I like it; all of the above. Parties in the comfort of your own rented Bali villa always lead to memories and stories that last a lifetime. If you’re planning on organizing a gathering, with food, drinks, and your own private DJ, trust me, you will want to make sure you have a photographer. Don’t worry about failing to capture a moment because you forgot where you left your cellphone. Your dedicated photographer will be responsible for capturing as many of these moments as possible so that you can focus on the partying. 

Real estate / location Photography
Photos create the first impression for your property, regardless if it’s a commercial office, storefront business or a Bali holiday villa. Clients and potential customers will look at photos prior to dipping into their pocket and it must look up to their standards before any transactions happen. You will want these photos to be look as clean, aesthetic, and professional as possible. There are many Bali photographers who are skilled in property/location photography.

Secret Proposal
If you’re planning on proposing to her, first off, kudos to you for choosing Bali as the place to propose. This magical island of Bali is a dream destination for everyone in the world and only a small percentage of those dreamers actually make it here. So you will be adding another layer of fairy dust on top of your trip if you propose to her here. It’s highly recommended to hire a secret/hidden photographer to capture her astonishment during your Bali proposal. This will be a moment you both will cherish for the rest of your lives. (Here’s a pro tip: Make sure she gets her hair and nails done, and is dressed in her best outfit. The last thing you want is her complaining that she didn’t look good enough.)

Pet Photography
Unfortunately, our beloved furry friends don’t live as long as we do. And during the short chunk of time they spend in our lives, they leave a long-lasting imprint in our memories – and mostly good ones! I would highly recommend hiring a photographer in Bali who is good with pets to take amazing shots of you and your pet. A pet photographer should already be good in dealing with animals and making them calm and comfortable so your shoot can go smoothly and fun. Remember, your pet is your family, and you would definitely want some professional photos of family before it’s too late.

Senior Photography
If the older folks in your life is here with you in Bali, this is a perfect opportunity to capture their genuine smiles and laughter. Many seniors aren’t fortunate enough to make it to Bali in their lifetimes, so I would commemorate this Bali trip if I were you.

Life is a short journey and the generations before us is slowly fading away. We should cherish every memory we have with them and preserve these moments for as long as possible. Hiring a Bali photographer to take photos of your elders is a great way to make them feel appreciated while collecting photos to keep for generations to come.

Surf photography
Riding the swells of Bali is every surfer’s goal. And whether you’re a rookie or pro surfer, hiring a surf photographer to capture your skills on the waves can show you angle that you don’t get to see. Surf photography is a skill in itself. Not just any photographer can grab a camera and take some shots of you surfing. A surf photographer would most likelt be specialized in this sport and have special lenses for this. Consider hiring a surf photographer during your surf sessions in Bali to preserve those moments of you conquering the waves (and bonus bragging rights!) 

Drone Photography
With the steady advancement of drone technology, drone shots are becoming more dominant in both photography and videography. Drone photography can give you an angle that was previously seldom captured and the resulting photos can definitely be worth the effort. Drone photographers, or appropriately titled ‘Drone Pilots,’ are skilled and sometimes even licensed in operating high-end drones and are able to efficiently capture the right shots for you. I would also recommend drone shots for your photoshoot especially since you’re in Bali – an island full of scenic beauty. (Another pro tip: hiring a secret drone photographer will up your game during your proposal.)

Lifestyle Photography
Bloggers, gurus, speakers, and other lifestyle-based niches absolutely need professional photography. If you offer some type of product or service, your potential customers will want to see these things depicted in real-life scenarios. Remember, customers don’t want to be convinced they should buy something. They want to be able to easily tell themselves that this is the right product or service for them, without being bombarded by hard sales techniques. Hire a photographer in Bali to get professional photos done for you, your product/services, and your brand’s content. 

Business Portraits
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or an established corporation, having business portraits taken of yourself and your employees can help reinforce your public image. Too often we tend to look at businesses as automatic robots and systems and forget the fact that they’re run by actual people. Business portraits, be it on your website, brochure, or framed in the reception room, tells your customers, “Hey, I’m a functioning human being, just like you!”

Having your business portraits taken in Bali can give also give you an extra edge over your competition. No more boring office backgrounds and plain walls. Have fun and pour some personality into your business portraits. I do recommend you bring your preferred clothing for this photoshoot because finding them can be a bit of a task here.

What kind of locations can I have a photoshoot in Bali?

Choosing the right location to match your idea and look can be a difficult task but you have way more location options in Bali than you may think. Bali is not just all coconut trees and white sands. The island is full of history and diverse culture and all 5,780km² can offer you some unique backgrounds and foregrounds that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world. If you’re new to Bali then don’t stress too much about this. Your photographer will know much more about these spots, where to find them, and who to contact. Here are some location types for you to consider for your photoshoot in Bali:

Photography Studio
A photography studio in Bali is an ideal location if you’re not too concerned about the background. Most studios in Bali will already have the necessary equipment to make your photoshoot run efficiently. Studio lighting such as softboxes, lightboxes, filler lights, and external flashes are usually provided as party of the studio rental. A studio will also have the necessary backdrops such as white, black, or multi-colored, to suit the purpose the of the shoot. Discuss with your photographer as to whether or not a studio is the right choice for your photoshoot. Most photographers in Bali will already have many relationships with the best photography studios around the island. Consider using a photo studio in Bali if your photoshoot is intended for commercial or professional purposes. 

Beach
The entire Bali coastline is basically one long beach, so you will have plenty of spots if you prefer some privacy to have a photoshoot on the sands or in the water. Beach locations can give you the perfect setting to show some skin in your swimwear, and give you the freedom of wearing less clothes. (Here’s a tip: You may think that a good time to have a photoshoot done on the beach is midday/noon. Not a great idea! The natural lighting will be way too bright to manipulate on camera, and your skin and patience will take a beating from the overhead Bali sun. Head out to the beach for your photoshoot just before sunset – You will thank me later!)

Tropical Bali Villa
Bali villas have a certain vibe to them. You can almost always tell from a photo that the location is in a villa somewhere in Bali. Though not all Bali villas are built the same, it shouldn’t be too hard finding the right location. Ideally, it should have the right amount of greenery, unique Balinese-style furniture, a beautiful, clean pool, and beautiful architecture, like Villa Koru – which includes all of the above and is entirely private! 

Jungle / Forest 
I think it’s safe to say that Bali has more than enough jungle and forest scenery. Even the back of someone’s house, from the right angle, can look like you shot your photos in a wild rainforest on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific. Bali forestry can add a strong hint of ‘exoticness’ to your style.

You can play around with many different photoshoot concepts involving the forest. These surroundings tend to emphasise your wild side, so make sure you have the outfit / costumes to match. A suit or cocktail dress probably wouldn’t look that great in a jungle setting. (Tip: if you’re a mosquito magnet like I am, make sure to bring a generous amount of mosquito repellent.)

Pool Club
Bali boasts some of the most picturesque Pool clubs and bars in Asia. Some of these locations are intentionally built to look amazing on photos and most wouldn’t mind at all if you choose their location to have your photoshoot.  It is recommended to check with their management a few days before your photoshoot to ensure they are open during that time and have staff on location. A professional photographer in Bali would probably already have connections to some of these businesses, so it would be easier if they can contact the management on your behalf. 

Waterfalls
Waterfalls are one of those things that scream “Exotic!” and Bali has many of them. A waterfall location is a perfect choice for your photoshoot if you aim to have a more tropical look. You can even play with some concepts and dress up in relevant outfits to up your model game.

Book Photographer Bali - Waterfall Shoot
@almazovadasha

While many of Bali’s waterfalls are easily accessible, many of them are hidden and are located off the beaten path. You may prefer these if you want some privacy during your photoshoot. The last thing you want is a bunch of random people diving in the background of your photos. If a waterfall location is the right spot for your photo shoot, consider reading my guide on the best waterfalls in Bali.

Street / Urban 
It may not seem like it, but Bali has its fair share of street and urban settings. Though not as abundant like a borough in New York, there are several hidden spots around the island that carries a true urban feel, with graffiti, and aggressively raw concrete architecture. This type of location is perfect if your shoot is centered around music such as hip hop or metal. It will also suit you if this is part of your style and personality. Denpasar, Bali’s capital, is a booming city and has plenty of urban corners that make you feel like you’re not in Bali anymore. Go ahead and explore the city – which is mostly untouched by Westerners since they mostly stick to the coastline.

Temples and traditional Balinese architecture
There are over 20,000 temples in Bali, from small village temples to the huge ancient temples that have been around for centuries. Balinese architecture can be easily recognized and is quite unique when compared to other structures around Asia. These temples and buildings carry a strong sense of tradition that has been upheld through generations. Even some of the residential buildings are designed with intricate Balinese details. 

A temple, though almost always a beautiful location, can be very limiting depending on your purpose and style of your shoot – please do not do a bikini photoshoot at a temple. As with most properties, ask your photographer to recommend the right temple, and get the required permissions and donations prior to your photoshoot. 

Rice Fields
Bali’s vast rice fields and terraces are a sight that you will come across frequently while you’re here. Head more up north and you will find yourself staring at endless kilometers (or miles) or rice fields. Even in the more populated areas in the south such as Canggu or Seminyak, you will find small patches of empty land being used as a rice field. The image of a rice terrace has become synonymous with the overall image of Bali.

Choosing a rice terrace as the location for your photoshoot will highlight the beauty of Bali in your photos. Although most landowners don’t mind, make sure you get permissions before your photoshoot. You don’t want to be chased off of someone’s property! And don’t be offended if some landowners ask for payment to use their rice terrace for your photoshoot. Some of these farmers make much less than you do and work their butts off all year round, so a small payment will go a long way and show your appreciation and respect for what they do. 

Plan your itinerary accordingly

This is something we might get too ambitious with. If some of your photoshoot involves the mountains up north and some of it is located on the beach, it’s probably not a great idea to shove them all into the same day. It’s best to organise your locations into groups and stops. That way you won’t be rushing around and everything can run smoothly.

Especially when navigating Bali, you’ll have to take into consideration the heat, traffic, and unpunctuality of everything. Most Bali photographers will know their way around Bali and will know what are the best times to shoot at a certain location. If your photoshoot is mostly in the south of Bali, such as a villa and the beach, you should be fine. But if you need to be in Ubud for 1:00pm and make your the beach for 4:00pm, it’s probably best that you split that into a two-day agenda.

How will I receive my photos after my photoshoot?

Photographers in other parts of the world normally deliver their final photos digitally through some sort of file storage or file transfer method, and Bali photographers use the same methods. WeTransfer and Google Drive folder sharing are both very common methods to deliver zip/rar files containing Jpeg images here.

There’s no option that’s considered more professional than the other. The main concern here is that you receive the highest quality photos possible. Aside from WeTransfer and Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox, Flickr, and Yandex are also commonly used to transfer photos. Some Bali photographers may also give you a USB flash drive with your photos.

Warning: Avoid receiving and using photos sent through WhatsApp as the app tends to compress files to transfer them efficiently. This will lower the quality of the received photo. Only use WhatsApp and social media platforms to receive samples/progress of the photos.

Where in Bali can I get prints of my photos?

This used to be a common question during the era of analogue photography. “When will my prints be ready?” Now, if you’re not a dinosaur, you’re probably already aware that analogue is long gone and digital copies of files are the current standard. However, many of us like to keep physical copies of photos, whether to keep in a photo album, hang in an artsy frame on the wall, or by our bedside. Physical copies of photos also tend to be seen more.

Bali offers many professional print shops that can print high-quality prints of your photos – in almost any size and quantity you need. Ask your photographer for his/her recommendations for print shops.

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