Photographer or Graphic Designer?

Photographer or Graphic Designer?

Photographer or Graphic Designer?

photographer or graphic designerSometimes, people ask us if they need a photographer or a graphic designer. What they really want to ask is whether they need a photographer or a photo editor. Usually, people ask because they are putting together a campaign and they want to create a particular look and feel. For clients, it can be confusing. Many photographers do a little photo editing… and many graphic designers dabble in photography.

Let’s start by laying out what each does. From there, we can look at which skill set to use for your next project.


This is the man with the camera. He or she is going to have a killer camera and a great eye for being able to capture a moment in a frame. Your photographer should have a great understanding of lighting. He or she will also be able to provide high-resolution photos at the drop of a hat.  No amount of photo editing can save a bad photo, so it’s good to have good photographs going into any project.

Graphic Designers / Photo Editors

These are the folks who take the photographer’s photos and go to town. They can manipulate any and all aspects of a photo gracefully. Want to combine images to create a photo illustration? A photo editor is your best bet.

Got it? Now, which one do you need?

If you want your campaign to cover a specific group or situation, a photographer might be a good idea. Let’s say you are a non-profit doing a fundraiser for people living with AIDS. Don’t use stock photos… it isn’t nearly personal enough. Hire a photographer to take gritty portraits of people who volunteer to share their story. Attach a name. Chances are, your photographer will be able to do just enough photo editing that you will have a really great outcome.

If you want your campaign to cover something that is less specific, does not exist in reality or needs a creative edge you may need a photo editor. Maybe if you are a barbecue restaurant, you’d like an image of your logo on the side of an old barn. You are going to need a graphic designer. Chances are, you don’t have the budget to go slather paint on the side of a barn, right? A good photo editor can create the image. They will be able to make anyone believe that somewhere, there is a barn bearing your branding.

For some projects, you could need both. Let’s say you are a dermatologist and you’d like to show a picture that shows the aging process. You have an idea to take photos of mothers and their daughters and fusing their portraits. You might hire a photographer to snap the shots. At that point, you might want to hunt down a photo editor to create your campaign.

The good news is that many times, good photographers know good photo editors and vice versa. Every once in a while, you will find someone who possesses both skill sets, which is more unusual than you might think. All the same, beware of someone who claims to be able to do both professionally, because they knowledge base for each is VERY different. Be sure to ask for portfolios, before and after images, etc.

Still not sure if you need a photographer or a graphic designer for your next campaign? Would you like a second opinion? We can help, so drop us a line.


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Jason Hutcheson

A hard working, scrappy entrepreneur with a passion for helping others succeed by mixing sales technique, creative design, and digital marketing into a potent cocktail of awesome sauce.

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