If you’ve ever wanted to capture a moment forever with a memorable image, you’ll want to hook up with a professional photographer. Sure, we can all take snaps on our phones these days, but a pro who has high-end equipment, an eye for ‘that shot’ and great editing skills, is worth their weight in gold.
Professional photographers are both creative and technical. They know how to take advantage of light, framing, backgrounds and other ticks of the trade. Some specialise in certain areas, like events, travel, environment, landscape, products, events, weddings, kids and pets.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a professional photographer, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
What makes a great photographer?
Choosing the right photographer can take the worry out of capturing a moment, especially when there’s no second chance to grab the shot.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a professional photographer.
- Training, qualifications, experience. Many professional photographers have formal qualifications and years of experience. Check this out online (website and social media). You’ll also want to check if they’re accredited by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, the country’s leading photography organisation.
- Awards. It’s worth exploring if the photographer has been nominated for, and/or won, awards like the Australian Professional Photography Award. Awards show the photographer is committed to their field and fabulous at what they do.
- Specialty area. Not all photographers specialise in all types of photography so if you have a specific need or want a specific style you’ll want to confirm your photographer fits the bill. Landscape photographers, for example, might not be your best bet for a wedding (and vice versa).
- Read reviews and seek references. Quality of photography is important, but so is the photographer’s personality, style of working and flexibility. Head online to read reviews and ask the photographer for references. Also interview the photographer to test whether you can work well with them.
- Fees and ownership. It might be tempting to hire the photographer who charges the least, but lower prices can reflect lack of skill, experience and level of service. Ask for detailed quotes, so there are no hidden surprises. Also ask about copyright so there are no surprises.
The best photographers in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
Creative, focused and effective are the three words that best describe the work of the experienced commercial photographers at AHC Studios.
The studio has been providing imagery services to businesses all over Canberra since 2011. The business was created by veteran photographer Michelle Kroll whose son, Thomas Lucraft, took great interest in his mum's profession from a young age. Michelle decided to create the company as a project to teach Thomas how to run a photography business. Fast forward to today, and Thomas has officially taken over the business, picking up on his mum's extensive skill-set, passion for perfection and desire to make every shoot a fun and hassle-free experience.
AHC Studios has solid foundations of extensive photography knowledge and skills, making their work of a high quality. Thomas is well known for his talent for composition and is AHC Studios’ lead photographer for shooting events, bringing a youthful energy and eye to all he captures.
On-location shoots are focused and strategic. They’re delivered with purpose and discipline, providing minimal disruption to work environments and maximum potential for each client’s investment. Thomas has the experience, technical expertise and creative enthusiasm to elevate business brands with visuals that capture the attention of the right audience.
AHC Studios has a creative studio space set up to shoot all types of product photography, from simple white backgrounds to more complex images. Thomas excels at effective and distinctive business branding, including corporate portraits. They also shoot for a broad range of advertising needs, and from any platform – air, land and sea.
Founded by Ben Appleton in 2011, Photox largely focuses on event photography and has captured premium quality content for sport and some of Canberra’s largest events, including Floriade, Enlighten and National Folk Festival. No job is too big or small for the team of photographers at Photox. Services include portrait, wedding, family, real estate and venue photography.
Donald Whyte wrote on Google, “Best photos I've ever had taken. Very professional equipment and service … 100 per cent definitely recommend.”
Dragana has a special talent for beautifully styled photo shoots for children and adults and offers a great range of pricing packages. Specialising in newborn and baby, maternity, family, childrens, cake smash and wedding photography, she certainly finds the best in any photo.
Teah Ae wrote on Google, “Highly recommend. Took my newborn daughter for a photo shoot and she was such a pro at handling my fussy baby. The photos came out amazing!”
Mel Hill Photography specialises in Canberra wedding, portrait and family photography, designed to capture special milestones. The studio is known for its light, bright and airy photography style and clients are given high-resolution digital files to print and share. The studio also offers a special price for professional, express headshot photography.
Jessica Talfor wrote on the RiotACT, “We had Mel Hill Photography for our wedding photography and have since returned for newborn photos and a cake smash photo session of our son! They give us the high-resolution digital image. They’re the best in Canberra.”
One of the most sought after and highly experienced newborn photographers in Canberra, Jodi has a passion for capturing moments that last forever. With 5 daughters of her own she understands how important it is to have beautiful photos of the ones you love.
On Google, Jolie Colliar wrote, “We had family photos taken by Jodi and we love them. She was very responsive, and flexible with the booking. She was professional and very patient with the kids …”
Janine Fabre Photography believes furr-ever friends deserve their very own photo shoot. Same with feline friends, birds, guinea pigs, bunnies and other pets. An Accredited Professional Photographer, Janine captures the true character of all pets, large and small.
On Google, Deirdre Badcoe wrote, “If it was possible to give a 10 out of 5 rating, I would. Janine's ability to read the personalities of fur babies is a skill and talent that is second to none.”
Olivia Leigh is a photographer and artist who captures candid moments that express natural personalities and natural features. ‘Liv’ specialises in a mix of journalistic and cinematic photography for the dreamers, adventurous and creatives. Olivia Leigh Art handles portraits, events, weddings and boudoir.
On the Riot Act, Oliva Elliffee wrote, “Olivia Leigh Photography is so amazing. She does everything from family photos and weddings to boudoir photography.”
If you’re looking for more information on photography in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best wedding photographers and the best aerial photographers Canberra has to offer. Or, if you’re after some more information to market your business, check out our articles on the best marketing agencies and the best billboards and digital signage in Canberra.
Your experience with the best photographers in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the photographers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to hire a professional photographer?
The cost depends on many factors, including location (and associated travel costs), time it will take to capture what you’re looking for (a studio portrait might not be as involved as a wedding, for example), how experienced the photographer is (junior versus senior), the type of photography your looking for and so on. It’s best to talk to the photographer about your needs and ask for a detailed, itemised quote so you understand what services and products you’re getting.
What am I allowed to do with the images I buy from the photographer?
Different photographers have different copyright arrangements. Copyright is important for the industry and a topic not all clients understand. It’s critical to be clear on who owns original photographs and the terms and conditions around their use. Be sure you understand the detail upfront and before you sign on the dotted line.
How do I know if I’ll like the photographer’s work?
You’ll want to research, including checking out the photographer’s website and social media for examples of their work. Each photographer has their own style and you’ll want to be comfortable with who you choose.
Why do I need to pay for a professional photographer?
Happy snaps and photos taken by amateurs on phones are great fun, but they’re never the same as a finished product by a pro. Trained and experienced photographers see so much more behind the lens than you do and they combine technical skills and creativity. They understand framing, lighting, editing and so much more.
How do I prepare for a session with a photographer?
Talk to your photographer about what you need to do to prepare for your time with them. Make a list and tick everything off to get the most out of your investment. Items could include attire (style, colour, patterns), the need for hair and makeup by an artist, and more.