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The word “cheap” may be used to try and get a bargain. But if used to source a videographer or photographer you may just get some grief. Us creatives tend to prefer the term “affordable”.

We understand that not every business has a huge budget for content. However despite what many believe, what you pay isn’t always what you get.

There are a number of ways to get affordable and professional photos or videos for your business. In this article I go through the pros and cons to some of the more budget friendly ways to source photographers and videographers.

Affordable Photography & Videography Options

  • DIY (Do It Yourself) With Your Phone
  • Student Photographer or Videographer
  • Professional Photography and Videography Payment Plans
  • Portfolio Builders
  • Service Swapping
  • Using Stock Photo and Video Sellers

Do It Yourself Photo & Video Content With Your Phone

Most people now carry something with them every day that is capable of producing awesome content. Not just the head on your shoulders but also the phone in your pocket. One of the key selling points for mobile phones these days is the camera.

Many models come with a variety of options for capturing various things. I purchased my Hauwei Nova 5T in 2020 and I’m still amazed at the options and features within its camera. It can shoot in Slow-Mo, Panorama, HDR, Timelapse, Super Macro and more.

An interesting feature I’m yet to use properly is the Pro Mode. In here you can adjust settings like the camera’s ISO, shutter speed and more.

Find Phone Photography and Videography Tutorials Online

Now that you have your phone in hand, be sure to check out as many YouTube tutorials as possible. YouTube holds a wealth of knowledge from highly experienced photographers and videographers.

By searching your phone’s model and the kind of thing you’re after, it won’t be long before you’re inspired and feeling more confident with what you can achieve.

Often learning the basics is more than enough to help you capture incredible imagery.

DIY Content Pros

  • Completely free in most cases
  • Learn a new skill as you go
  • Equipment and technology is readily available on your mobile devices
  • Editing made easy with the use of free apps
  • Mobile content is huge and engaging

DIY Content Cons

  • Image quality is limited versus professional equipment
  • Takes time away from other important business matters
  • Huge learning curve to get things right and to a decent quality
affordable photography and videography with your phone
Image Credit | Thomas Russell on Unsplash

Hiring or Involving Student Photographers or Videographers

More often than not, student photographers and videographers are willing to get stuck into a variety of projects. These projects usually contribute towards their course, portfolio and of course grades.

Students also have access to a huge range of equipment. Ranging from advanced camera and lens setups to studio space, lighting, audio recording equipment and editing softwares.

To put the cherry on the cake, students tend to be up to date on current trends and best practices for producing and shooting great content. Although there may be some cost to using the services of a student, they are likely to be far more affordable than hiring an experienced professional outright.

Be sure to check out their existing work and make sure the quality is in line with what you need before moving forward. Colleges and Universities often grade in part a student’s ability to explain their work rather than the overall quality.

Hiring a Student Photographer or Videographer Pros

  • Lots of incredible talent coming from colleges and universities
  • Access to lots of modern and capable cameras and equipment
  • Low cost or sometimes even free collaborations
  • Eager to learn and develop their skillset on projects
  • Could lead to a long term working relationship

Hiring a Student Photographer or Videographer Cons

  • Students often have a busy schedule which would need to be taken into account
  • Still learning how to operate professionally and under pressure
  • Your company and project may not be their priority

Schools, colleges and universities are always open to involving students in external projects. It might be worth contacting some with what you need and they could possibly find somebody suitable for the task.

hiring student photographers and videographers
Image Credit | Marissa Lewis on Unsplash

Professional Photography and Videography Payment Plans

This route to affordable photo and video services needs very little introduction. Hiring a professional for your project will always end up with the best results. There are plenty to choose from.

As above with students, be sure to shop around and find somebody who produces work in line with what you need. I’m not just talking about the content captured here, but the way in which it is shot and edited.

Although in the long run you will spend more on getting your project completed, a payment plan can make high quality and professional work more manageable. Not all photographers and videographers will offer this option, but it is definitely worth speaking to the ones you like and asking if they do.

Photography and Videography Payment Plans Pros

  • Receive high quality work and a professional service
  • Use of professional equipment for your project
  • Production value is much higher than DIY and other affordable methods
  • Spread the cost over an affordable period

Photography and Videography Payment Plans Cons

  • Overall costs will still be in line with industry standard for work
  • Not all creatives will offer such plans

Payment plans are available from myself for projects of all shapes and sizes. Click here to contact me and discuss options and availability for your project.

Portfolio Builders and New Creatives

As with student photographers and videographers, you may be able to source somebody new to the industry who is looking to add to their portfolio.

Be careful with this approach because labour is still labour and skills are still skills. Although the quality of work may not be up to the standard of an experienced professional, time, equipment and skills should still be accounted for.

That said, it is not impossible to source somebody who is willing to do the work for free or with expenses covered. This however should never be expected and I strongly advise you avoid asking for free services in public forums.

The best approach may be to specify that you are indeed a small business with a low budget.

Hiring Photography and Videography Portfolio Builders Pros

  • Lots of great talent emerging into the industry
  • Good work for low budgets or sometimes even free
  • Eager to get stuck into new projects and learn new skills

Hiring Photography and Videography Portfolio Builders Cons

  • May be difficult to find somebody willing to work on these terms to a high standard
  • Free or cheap labour is rarely prioritised by creatives
  • If not conducted properly, sourcing workers online can be damaging for your business

Regarding the above point, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to advertise such roles carefully. From what I’ve noticed in Facebook groups and other online forums, creatives do not see free work as “opportunities”.

From my own experience, regardless of how long you’ve been doing this for and how skilled you are, if you provide work for free or heavily discounted, you, the creative, are doing the client a favour.

affordable photography and videography services

Service Swapping with Photographers and Videographers

Service swapping is a fantastic way to get great quality content from a huge selection of creative individuals. Run a barbers but on a tight budget? Offer what you can and throw in some free haircuts to go with it.

Just opened up a new coffee shop but struggling to afford professional video or photo content for your social media channels? 99% of creatives can live on coffee and tea alone. It’s how we operate. Offer a small payment towards their costs and come to a deal with getting them into the shop for some pics, drinks and a slice of cake or two.

Be sure to read the room and be conscious of whether what you offer would be an ideal service to swap with somebody. A “How to Gut Your Own Fish” lesson may not be as enticing as a garage offering a free MOT and service in exchange for some pics and a video.

Service Swapping Pros

  • Can get high quality work from professionals for free or at a very low cost
  • A great way to win a new customer or two through collaborative efforts

Service Swapping Cons

  • May be difficult to source somebody who would work on this basis
  • Not every service offered in return for content may appeal to such a working arrangement
photography and video service swapping

Using Stock Photo and Video Sellers

I personally sell stock footage and photos on a variety of platforms. This secondary revenue stream is something that I am growing in the background. It allows me to generate small amounts of money even while I sleep.

As a professional and experienced producer of content, I am always open to discussing discounted work in exchange for a signed model release. A model release form allows sellers of stock footage and photos to generate money from works that include recognisable people.

If you run a salon and need content, you may be happy to get a big discount on the production costs in exchange for allowing the creative to advertise and sell the content produced.

The biggest upside to this is that you get professional work at a heavy discount or possibly even free. Usually from somebody with lots of experience in producing content that sells.

Using Stock Photo and Video Sellers Pros

  • Make use of highly skilled professionals at a low cost or free
  • The end result will likely be to a very high standard depending on arrangement
  • Additional promotion when your business and service is published far and wide online
  • Approach to each project is more likely to be in line with your target audience expectations

Using Stock Photo and Video Sellers Cons

  • You will not own the content outright at the end of the project
  • It may be difficult to source a creative on this basis

Please note that unless stated in your initial agreement with a creative, you might not ever actually own the content outright. The rights to all works usually remains with the creator unless stated otherwise and declared in writing.

This however does not restrict you from using any content produced. But you should be aware prior to beginning a project where and how you can use any content produced.

affordable professional videographers and photographers
Image Credit | Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

How to get affordable but professional videos or photos for your business article summary

Thank you for taking the time to read through this article. It may not cover absolutely every way possible to source affordable content for your business. However I hope I covered most of the important and most affective ways to do so.

Each of the above options can work out for both you and the creative involved with effective communication and agreements in place beforehand. Incredible content doesn’t have to cost the earth.

In one of my latest projects (click here to view) I produced a video reel and photos for a young beekeeper in exchange for a signed model release. Feel free to comment below with any queries or thoughts on the above topics.

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