Some families find matching sweaters, a nice autumn day and a wooded setting for their annual family portraits. But not you. You go to your happy place—literally—to get snapped for a one-of-a-kind, on-location photo sesh with a professional photographer.
My favorite spot is Thailand with my family and just like that (*snap of the finger*) an idea was born. What if we found a local photographer in Thailand to take our pictures one day while we are out exploring one of our favorite cities? It seemed like a brilliant idea, so my husband and I started to do some research.
The obvious place to start is Google. That was simply not helpful. The first results yielded a list of photographer websites with a heavy emphasis on wedding photography. But if you are looking for a traditional pose, point-and-shoot type of experience, this might be enough to get you started! Since we weren’t looking for a wedding photographer, or Glamour Shots, it was time to go farther down the rabbit hole.
To find something unique, we opted for a less traditional way of “searching.” I directed my efforts to Instagram and Facebook. What better way to see examples of photography than an app explicitly designed for displaying beautiful pictures? We found a handful of possible photographers in Bangkok, and from there we collected email addresses and Facebook contact pages and started the conversation.
Making initial contact
The first bit was a very simple introduction in English. There's no way to know for sure if the person we were contacting would understand what we were saying but if they didn’t speak English, the session might not be successful anyway, so this was a good basic filter.
Luckily for us, our first choice photographer knew English well enough to discuss the details and give us all the information we needed to make a decision. This may not always be the case, in that case, there are plenty of tools like Google Translate to help (copy, paste, and done) as well. We agreed on price, date, locations and what we would receive afterwards, including photo rights.
The actual experience
For us, we mostly wanted photos of our daughter taken in locations that we loved around Bangkok with a few family shots in between. Our photographer met us at our hotel in the morning on the day of the shoot and, being a father of two small children, instantly made a connection with our daughter. He started capturing moments immediately in front of the large Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, the taxi ride to our first location and all along the way during the entire trip.
We did not have to use translation services as he also helped translate for us along the way when we were looking for photos in a tuk tuk or on a boat in the Chao Praya River. We were excited to see our idea transform into something so tangible, and the cherry on top was that our two-year old daughter Lucy was loving every moment of it. More than anything, the entire experience was a lot of fun and gave us a new view of a city that we had been to many times before.
For us, there will be long-lasting memories of this time with our daughter, as a toddler without a care in the world, hiding behind an ancient relic, playing peekaboo on the busy public transport or sitting indian-style with the monks to her right and left.
The money shot
I can’t say enough about how successful our first attempt at hiring a photographer on our holiday went, but I can show you. This was perhaps our best purchase of the entire year, and we will have it forever —there is not a single souvenir for which I can say the same.