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How to Pick the Right Photographer in San Diego

Updated: Apr 5

How our Team grew

We used to be just one photographer. And then two. Now we are a team of 8 and a successful Photography Agency in San Diego — walking our clients through the entire creative process of executing a brand shoot. 

We’ve done everything from 20-minute family photo sessions to multiple-day commercial shoots. During that time we’ve learned a lot about our client’s needs and the different types of shoots that are possible. 

 Our clients frequently reach out to us not completely sure about what it is they need and how to capture it. Some clients are laser-focused and our role is simply to execute their vision. You need to know how to pick the right photographer.

Whatever it is you’re looking to do with your brand, it’s important to pick the right photographer and/or team to work with — and know the difference between what an individual photographer versus a production company brings to the table. Don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through it.


Will charge between $750 and $3000 for a full-day production

  • When working with a sole photographer, they will show up and shoot.

  • Some prep work will be done in terms of pulling visual inspiration and coordinating schedules

  • The quality of the resulting content is based on what you provide your photographer - meaning, if you have a dimly lit restaurant it’s going to be difficult to get beautiful, bright imagery

  • Your chosen photographer will have a nice camera but probably not a ton of additional equipment for lighting, styling, set decoration and wardrobe. You will have to be heavily responsible for creating the vision of your brand and acquiring the right styling to make it real.

  • The photographer will likely have to shoot at your location or a location you have access to. Specialized locations or studio sets garner additional charges.

  • Editing usually takes longer with a photographer because they are responsible for so many elements of the shoot.

  • You won't always get a clear contract or scope of work and response times aren't always 100$ reliable.

When this is the RIGHT decision for you and your team

  • You’re on a budget

  • Your shoot concept is straightforward and well-planned

  • You are highly creative and organized

  • You have done homework and sought out a photographer whose style matches your vision

  • You don’t have an insanely quick turnaround requirement

When this is NOT the right decision for you and your team

  • You need highly specialized shots

  • The amount of content deliverables you need extends across multiple platforms

  • You need help creating and implementing a shoot plan to match your company's objectives

  • You don’t have access to unique locations or talent

  • You need assets quickly

Will charge between $5000 and $20,000 for a full-day production

  • When working with a production company, you enlist a team with a process.

  • This process includes creative calls with clients and generating concepts, style guides, shot lists and production schedules.

  • A production company helps source locations and talent.

  • In our case, we have a fully styled studio included in our fee - a huge value add for our clients.

  • The level of production and efficiency is much higher, and usually so is the quality of each shot because so many eyes have been responsible for creating it.

  • Production companies can shoot in multiple styles.

  • Clients often come to us with a variety of different needs: product, lifestyle and e-commerce photos — all during a single shoot. These require three different setups with different lighting and styling. 

  • Once the shoot is over, the images move right into the next editing phase — as there is a team to support versus a single person needing to recoup. Clients working with a streamlined production company receive work back within days.

  • Clients can ask questions to account managers throughout the process, ensuring they get exactly what they need.

  • You’re covered from top to bottom.

When this is the RIGHT decision for you and your team:

  • When you’re incredibly busy and need to turn the whole content process over to professionals

  • You have content that needs a specific look

  • You need multiple forms of content (line sheet, product, lifestyle, video)

  • You need high-quality imagery at an agreed-upon time 

  • You want to collaborate with a team to take your brand to the next level

 When this is NOT the right decision for you and your team:


Ultimately, the right decision depends on the content you need to capture. The more honed in on the marketing plan you are, the easier it will be to work with anyone. We hope this sheds some more light on the difference between a photographer and a production company — and how to make a decision between the two.  

Check out more of our work samples on our website

Contact us for more info on how we can help your brand!

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