Disclaimer: My Santorini Photoshoot was sponsored by Localgrapher
“Are you Hannah?”
I nodded and smiled nervously as I shook hands with Dimosthenis, my professional photographer for the next hour.
Yes, that’s right. I had a photo shoot in Oia, Santorini. Which sounds incredibly extra and not like something I would normally do. I’m not the typical Instagram girl, I’m the one with the sunglass tan lines, messy hair, and goofy smile. I can’t pose for the life of me and regularly look awkward as hell.
So when Localgrapher reached out to me about working together I hesitated a bit. I wasn’t a model; my brand doesn’t rely on getting those perfect shots. But, at the same I was curious. After all, who doesn’t want good quality travel photos of themselves for a memory.
So I said yes and booked a photoshoot in Santorini. And you know what? I actually loved it.
Why Would I Want to do Santorini Photoshoot?
If you had asked me to do a photoshoot several years ago I would have laughed in your face. It would never happen, for two main reasons.
First off, there’s the stereotype around photoshoots that they are for weddings or special occasions. Not for a single girl exploring the world on her own. Couples having a travel photo shoot is ok, but for a long time there’s been a stigma around solo travellers doing the same, it’s seen as being too ‘extra’.
Secondly, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I struggled a lot with my body image when I was younger. I’ve always been a curvy girl and bodies like mine never made an appearance in magazines, travel posters, or television ads. The lack of media representation of my body type didn’t encourage me to photograph mine.
But then, in Oia, Santorini- arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, I was ready and excited for my travel photoshoot. So, what made me change my mind. Well, let me tell you.
The first thing to change was my view on my body. That shift happened in 2015, in Thailand of all places (you can read the post here).I’ve also since realized that while my body may not be the ideal in the western world, it’s still pretty badass. It’s taken me through 57 countries, allowed me to hike, scuba dive, and more. Sure, it’s not perfectly toned, but it is strong and can do a lot.
More than strong though, I’ve come to not just accept but actually like how I look. Again, travel has also shown me that beauty ideals vary around the world and while I may not be everyone’s version of beautiful, I’ve had enough experiences over the years to know that I fit the beauty standards of many. Which, obviously, is a definitely confidence booster.
Furthermore, my adventures and travel are some of my fondest memories. Yet, when I go through my photos from 2015 and earlier, I rarely come across one with myself in it. I didn’t want to be the focus at the time, to me the important things to photograph were the sites and cities. But now, years later, I wish I had more shots with me in them. After all, anyone can take a photo of a castle or a cute street. What really makes travel photos special, is having some with you in it. Sadly, I learned that the hard way.
So, despite my initial hesitation, when localgrapher approached me with the idea of working together, I was actually excited about the opportunity.
Using Localgrapher for my Photoshoot in Santorini
Localgrapher has photographers in 670 cities world-wide. It worked out that I was in Greece when they reached out, so we set up a shoot in the beautiful town of Oia, Santorini. Not only was it a beautiful backdrop, but it was also very appropriate for the situation. I’d always wanted to stay in a fancy hotel in Oia and decided to splurge on a cave hotel with a view for 2 nights during my stay. It was a gift to myself-something else I don’t normally do. However, since I was about to turn 30 and had reached my goal of visiting 50 countries by the age of 30 (I hit 57) I figured it was worth celebrating. Add a fun photo shoot on top to commemorate the occasion? Well, why not!
If you take a look at the localgrapher website, you’ll notice they have tons of choices not just in terms of destinations around the world, but also in terms of photographers you can choose for the project.
I had a few photographers who were available for the time I requested. I was able to look through their galleries to see their style and choose who I thought best fit what I was looking for- something fun and natural. Once it was set up, I received an email from Dimosthenis, my photographer, with some tips and suggestions on what to bring and instructions with a place and a time to meet. Booking with localgrapher was quick, easy, and efficient.
I should also note, that I did not plan this very far in advance. Less than a week actually. Of course, the photoshoot is always subject to the photographer’s availability but since it wasn’t high season yet, I lucked in. That being said, if you are travelling somewhere popular like Santorini during high season, you’ll want to book in advance to make sure you don’t miss out!
My Santorini Photoshoot Experience with Localgrapher
Up until this point, I’d never done a professional photoshoot before. Sure, I work with some clothing brands and have an Instagram account where I regularly share images with me in them, but those photos are always taken by friends or using my tripod and remote when I’m alone.
While I love having friends to travel with, it’s not always the case. In fact, I travel more alone that with friends. Sure, I could ask someone random to take photos for me but, let’s be honest, those never turn out how you want them and sometimes there isn’t someone around to ask.
Yes, my travel tripod and remote works well when I’m alone. I even used it a bit in Oia around my villa early in the morning. However, I can’t always bring it with me. Since it’s a travel tripod it’s really lightweight which means it doesn’t work so well in strong winds. Of course, it’s also hard to use in crowds or busy places. Plus, while I try to expect the best from people, I’m not dumb enough to walk away from my DSL-R Camera and tripod for long. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Needless to say, I was excited about the prospect of having someone to take photos for me. The fact that it was actually a professional photographer made it even more fun, though as I mentioned above I was a bit nervous. After all, if you follow me, you’ll know how awkward I can be.
However, despite warning Dimosthenis that I was probably going to be super awkward, my photoshoot in Santorini wasn’t uncomfortable at all. We got along really well talking about our love of travel, the places we’ve been and where we want to go. As a writer and a photographer, we also had a lot in common work wise and it was fun to compare and discuss that between photos. He helped me pose, told me where to face and how to stand. He also took me to some great viewpoints that I hadn’t managed to find in my own time exploring Oia.
It all felt really easy and natural and, most of all, fun and our hour flew by in no time. Not without some work though; we moved quite a bit through the city (so many stairs) and by the end of the day, Dimosthenis told me he had over 200 photos to choose from. I’m no professional photographer but even I know that’s a lot to go through for an hour of shooting. Yet, despite that, I still received the final edits only four days later which is pretty impressive!
Localgrapher Pricing and Packages
The main thing you need to realize with Localgrapher is that they use professional photographers. It’s not just a random you found online who’s playing around, these people are the real deal.
Localgrapher offers four different packages.
The Bronze Package: 30 minutes, 20 edited hi-res photos. Pricing: $250 USD
The Silver Package: 60 minutes, 35 edited hi-res photos (this is what I did). Pricing: $350 USD
The Gold Package: 100 minutes, 60 edited hi-res photos. Pricing: $500 USD
Video Package: 60 minutes of filming, 60 second full HD video clip. Pricing: $450 USD
All photos will be edited and delivered to you via a link in 4 days, and all packages will be stored for 2 years in case something happens to your digital copies.
Again, Localgrapher uses professionals and stands by their product so much that they actually have a 100% money back guarantee. If you get your gallery back and don’t like it, you have 7 days to make a claim. Personally, I think that speaks volumes about the quality of this company and their service. Not that I would even think about making a claim for my photos, because I absolutely love them.
So, Do I Recommend Localgrapher for a Travel Photo Shoot?
Absolutely, and while I won’t do a photoshoot in every destination I visit, I’d certainly do it again based on this experience. Working with localgrapher was easy and professional and the actual photoshoot experience was so much more fun and less intimidating than I thought.
While the experience itself was a ton of fun, the fact that I have these amazing photos of myself in Greece, which is now one of my all-time favourite countries, is pretty priceless. Not only can I use them in my social media and work, but I have a couple that I can use for headshots for my freelance writing and, of course, several that I can use in my annual photobooks to keep as memories of my trip.
Sure, travel photoshoots are normally dedicated for the couples; honeymooners, those celebrating an anniversary, or even a surprise proposal but, I think it’s a great idea for solo travellers like me too. After all, our travels end up being some of our best moments, why not get the photos to help preserve the memories?
Interested in doing a photoshoot on your next travels? Find a localgrapher photographer here.