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Best Projectors Under 500 in 2021 – Top 8 Picks & Our Honest Guide

Watching a movie with family is a great way to pass the time. It even gets better if you watch it on a big screen, and that’s where projectors come into place. However, some people have wondered whether you can get good value from a projector under $500, and that’s why we created this guide.

Top 8 Best Projectors Under $500 Reviews

Projectors are a great way of watching movies on a big screen without investing more in buying a TV. They may not function as the traditional big-screen TV, but they do offer similar viewing experiences such as improved image clarity and HD video viewing. You can also set a projector in your backyard and enjoy a quiet evening night with your family, watching your favorite movies. The fact that they’re small in size makes them even more desirable to have them with you.

In this article, we will go through the best projectors under $500, highlighting their key features, and explain why we like them and why you should buy them. We will also touch on the frequently asked questions to better understand the projectors in question. The list contains projectors that offer more value and will only cost you less than $500.

1. ViewSonic PX701HD Projector

ViewSonic PX701HD 3500 lumens Projector
  • Dual 3D Blu-ray Ready with HDMI input.
  • SuperColor technology for cinematic colors.
  • It can support screens up to 300 inches and offers 1080p resolution.
  • Outstanding brightness with 3500 ANSI Lumens.
  • Vertical Lens Shift for flexible setup.

You get amazing color accuracy because of the SuperColor technology that comes with this projector. The technology also includes a dynamic lamp control coupled with the 6-segment color wheel capabilities that provide stunning images due to the wide range of colors. The inclusion of the vertical lens shift helps to eliminate the installation challenges since you can adjust the lens up and down.

The projector comes with amazing features that allow it to stand out. For starters, the 1080p resolution is incredible and can fit a 300 inches screen easily without sacrificing image clarity. You also get to enjoy the cinematic colors primarily because of the SuperColor technology, helping you to bring the cinema experience to your home. The HDMI ports allow you to connect it to other video sources such as Amazon Fire TV Stick, with the powered USB A ports allowing you to charge it extra fast.

Performance is where this projector scores higher than the majority in its class. To begin with, the outstanding brightness of the images because of the 3500 ANSI Lumens, which allows you to watch from anywhere without compromising on image quality. It also comes with HDMI inputs that are ready for dual 3D Blu-Ray, giving you better viewership and lasting experience. The cloud-based color profile exchange offers you more colors to spice up your images while improving the quality. In the end, you get a similar experience as the one you get in a cinema.

The projector comes with an impressive 10W speaker that provides better sound quality with an immersive multimedia experience. SuperEco feature is perfect for energy consumption giving you over 20,000 hours of viewing. The USB cable enables you to connect to Roku Streaming Stick and Google Chromecast.

If you’re in the market for an HD projector capable of handling a 300 inches screen, then this product is for you. The ability to change different colors is amazing, while the outstanding brightness enables you to watch movies even outside your home. The 20,000 hours view time is amazing in saving energy while on the go.

PROS:

  • Its small size and lightweight make it portable.
  • It comes with a 10W speaker for better sound quality.
  • It uses 2AAA batteries for power.

CONS:

  • It cannot convert 2D to 3D videos.

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2. Optoma HD146X Projector

Optoma HD146X Projector
  • Perfect image alignment.
  • HDMI-CEC simple on/off switch.
  • 15,000 hours lamp life.
  • Lights-on viewing brightness.
  • Great cinematic quality.

You get a 500,000:1 contrast ratio because of the Dynamic Black technology that helps to keep dark screens detailed while the bright screens appear clear. In the end, you get super clear images regardless of the brightness of your screen. You get a perfect image alignment since the projector comes equipped with the DLP DMD single-chip, which helps to produce an incredible picture. Lights-on viewing powered by the 3,600 brightness allows you to watch your favorite movie even with the lights on. For a cinematic experience, you can choose to dim down the lights a bit.

The 15,000 hours of lamp life is amazing and offers you over 4 hours of viewing for at least ten years. The cinematic picture quality is outstanding, with the projector capable of handling 1080p on huge screens without compromising on the quality. The RYGCWB color wheel adds an extra touch to the picture quality, which enables you to choose from different colors. You end up with a projector that offers you a great cinematic experience at the comfort of your home.

The manufacturers have outdone themselves by improving the performance of this projector. For starters, the 1080p resolution coupled with the RYGCWB color wheel results in outstanding picture quality and gives you the same experience you would get in the cinema. The use of Dynamic Black technology helps to improve the image depth by keeping the bright screens clear with the dark screen still maintaining the details. You can switch the projector on and off remotely by using the HDMI-CEC technology.

The perfect image alignment combined with the high brightness adds more clarity and definition to the picture, hence providing you with a crystal clear picture. The lights-on viewing makes it possible to watch your movies even with the lights on. Easy installation with a step-by-step installation manual allows you to get set up within minutes. The 15,000 lamp life gives you more than 4 hours of watching and can last up to 10 years.

If you’re a gamer and enjoy playing on big screens, then this projector is for you. Offering incredible picture quality with a 25,000:1 contrast ratio, you’re guaranteed a cinematic experience at the comfort of your home. The ability to use a single remote to control the HDMI-connected device and the projector is amazing. The projector produces a 26dB noise level that enables you to watch without any interference from the projector noise.

PROS:

  • It’s relatively quiet and doesn’t produce noise interference.
  • Engineered for gaming due to the fast response time.
  • The long lamp life gives you its durability.

CONS:

  • It’s not Bluetooth enabled.

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3. ViewSonic PA503W Projector

ViewSonic PA503W 3600 Lumens Projector
  • Reduced input latency.
  • Incredible 15,000 lamp hours.
  • Outstanding color accuracy.
  • 2W internal speaker.
  • Quick power off.

The projector utilizes the SuperColor technology that does wonders to the color output by dynamic lamp control capabilities and offering a 6-segment color wheel which, in return, provides stunning image quality and offers a wide color range. The 22,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio helps to improve the quality of the image without compromising on the clarity.

The projector is packed with amazing features that make it stand out from the rest. For starters, it can project on a 300-inch screen while still maintaining outstanding quality. Secondly, it supports VGA input and output, HDMI 1.4, 3.5mm audio input as well as audio output, and a mini USB type B.

For a projector of its price range, it’s amazing to see how well it can perform. The use of SuperColor technology has greatly improved the picture quality by offering more color options. That’s not all, as the projector comes packed with 3,600 lumens that help to improve the brightness while offering a high contrast ratio, making it possible to use this projector in any environment, regardless of the brightness in the watch area. The reduced input latency does an amazing work of delivering smooth images without delay.

There is a lot to like about this projector. The ability to produce crystal-clear pictures even in brightly colored areas is one of them. Secondly, the amazing dynamic contrast ratio doesn’t blur the picture, making it possible to watch on screens as big as 120 inches. The ability to play any 3D movies and connecting to any HDMI-enabled device makes it a must-have projector. With this projector, you won’t have to worry about distortion or crooked images since it comes with the vertical keystone correction (+/-400).

If you’re in the market for a great projector that offers fantastic features and outperforms others in its class, then this item is for you. With this projector, you can watch crystal-clear pictures on a 120 inches screen. You also get the ability to eliminate distortions, and it comes with an amazing 15,000 hours lamp life, giving you enough watch time. It’s also straightforward to install it with the help of a simple installation guide included in the package.

PROS:

  • It’s small in size and lightweight.
  • It comes with a 2W internal speaker for clear sound.
  • It’s a versatile projector capable of different applications.

CONS:

  • The screen size could be improved to reach 300 inches.

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4. Epson VS250 Projector

Epson VS250 SVGA 3200 Lumens Projector
  • 3x higher color brightness.
  • Compatible with the latest laptops and media players.
  • 800×600 SVGA resolutions.
  • Supports HDMI.
  • 3,200 lumens with white brightness.

The ability to use this projector even in a well-lit room is what makes it perfect for an office presentation. This is made possible by the amazing 3,200 lumens, which also affect how clear the pictures appear. It’s also very fast and easy to set it up by following the setup manual included with the package.

To easily help improve your office presentation, this projector comes packed with amazing features. It’s equipped with an automatic vertical keystone that helps to eliminate distortion, with the horizontal keystone helping to correct the slide manually. It also supports SVGA native resolution, while the inclusion of HDMI helping to connect with the latest laptops and media players. It’s also one of the few projectors that come equipped with 3LCD technology, with 3,200 lumens color brightness.

The manufacturers put a lot of effort into improving the performance of this projector. For clear and bright images, the projector utilizes the amazing 3,200 lumens white brightness. It’s also relatively quiet by producing only 28dB while in ECO mode and 37 dB in normal mode. For clear sound, the projector also comes with 2W speakers. It also has an outstanding 30 inch projected distance on a 350 inches screen. You can use it on your PC or a Mac.

Convenient control and easy image adjustment are some of the reasons why we love this projector. However, that’s not all, as it also offers vivid color with accurate details, making it perfect for presentation. The 800×600 SVGA resolutions help to keep the pictures clear and free of distortion. It’s also compatible with the iProjection App that makes it possible to your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or any Android-powered devices.

The fact that you can connect it to your Android or iPad is one of the reasons you should get it. The crystal-clear picture is another reason, as it plays a crucial role in improving your presentations even in well-lit rooms. Installation is easy by following the simple installation guide. The remote control allows you to adjust the size of the image in your presentation.

PROS:

  • It’s very easy to install even without prior experience.
  • It’s light in weight and small in size to make it portable and perfect for office use.
  • It can be connected to the majority of hand-held devices.

CONS:

  • They can improve on the lamp life by giving it more hours of life.

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5. Optoma HD28HDR Projector

Optoma HD28HDR 3600 lumens Projector
  • HDR10 Compatible.
  • Home cinema experience.
  • 3D compatibility.
  • Engineered for gaming.
  • HDMI-CEC to control power.

A 50,000:1 contrast resolution coupled with the 1080p resolution provides you with high-definition crisp images. For an enhanced viewing experience, the DDR10 technology combines with 4K input to give you deeper black and brighter white levels, which improves visibility. For home cinema experience, the projector comes with a 6-segment color wheel, with the 3,600 lumens enabling you to watch even in well-lit rooms.

The 3D compatibility of this projector makes it possible to watch movies from any 3D sources, including 3D broadcasting and 3D Blu-ray Disc players. To prevent images from flickering, the projector comes with the support for 120Hz. With the standard throw distance, you can project a clear picture on a 100” screen from 11 feet away or on a 120” screen from 12 feet away. The flexible connectivity capability enables you to connect this projector on multiple devices such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV. The projector is also engineered for gaming and is capable of supporting and delivering HD pictures without flickering. To correct the picture while viewing, it comes equipped with ± 400 vertical keystone correction.

The performance of this projector is what sets it apart from the rest. For starters, the projector produces bright pictures and supports HDR and 4K UHD video sources. The 6-segment color wheel combines with the HD28HDR to produce colorful images. To top it up, the 3,600 lumens enable you to watch bright pictures even in a well-lit room. For gamers, this projector comes equipped with a 120Hz refresh rate that combines with the lightning-fast 8.4ms response time to offer lag-free gaming. The use of Dynamic Black technology enables you to watch high-contrast images due to the technology’s capability to adjust the lamp output.

For starters, it has an amazing 15,000 hours, giving you enough watch time. The 4K input delivers a cinematic experience in your home without compromising on quality. Gamers will love it due to the exceptional response time and its ability to support all video input. You can switch it on or off by using the HDMI-CEC technology, making the operation easy and convenient.

If you’re in the market for an excellent projector for home use, then this is the product for you. It delivers HD 4K pictures with the ±400 vertical adjustment allowing you to get distortion-free images. The 3,600 lumens allow you to watch all your movies, even in well-lit rooms, without compromising on the picture quality. It can handle HDMI 1.4a, HDMI 2.0 and comes with audio output of 3.5mm port. You get a one-year firmware update support with this projector. There is also the issue with the standard throw distance with this projector able to project on a 120” screen from 13 feet away.

PROS:

  • It’s perfect for gamers.
  • It’s very easy to install by following a simple guide.
  • It has a 15,000 hours lamp life.

CONS:

  • They could improve on the lamp life.

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6. BenQ MW560 Projector

BenQ MW560 WXGA Projector
  • Anti-dust sensors to keep the sensors clean.
  • Smart Eco mode to preserve the environment.
  • Kensington lock to keep it safe.
  • Power and energy saving to preserve your power.
  • Exquisite texture to improve its look.

To protect your projector from falling and incurring damages, it comes equipped with the Kensington lock that holds it into place. The exquisite texture gives it an amazing look that adds to its esthetics and appeal. The smart Eco mode helps to keep the environment clean by minimizing and eliminating any emissions. To save more energy, the projector comes equipped with power and energy-saving capabilities.

The projector has some decent features that improve its performance. For starters, it comes equipped with the 20,000:1 high contrasts ratio, which, even though it’s not high-end, does offer enough resolution. Where it falls behind on contrast ratio, it makes upon the outstanding 4,000 lumens high brightness, which is among the highest in the market. For maximum video input, the projector comes with dual HDMI and VGA and supports nearly all media players. To make sure that you get a distortion-free picture, this product has the auto keystone correction capability, which eliminates any need for manual correction.

Even though the projector is not high-end, it does offer some amazing performances. For starters, there is the 20,000:1 contrast delivery coupled with the 4,000 lumens of brightness that results in brilliant image quality. For sharp crystal clarity, the projector comes equipped with the finest precision glass and lens. The excellent response time helps to eliminate any delay time that might be embarrassing during presentations.

The all-glass lens is what sets this projector apart. The manufacturer is known to use this type of lens for long-term image quality. The 4,000 lumens are perfect for presentation in an office, even during daylight. The clarity is impeccable to show all the details in your presentation. The 1080p image quality helps to provide you with a home cinematic experience without compromising on the image quality. It has a perfect focus with an impeccable response time.

One of the reasons to buy this projector is how bright it keeps the pictures even in the well-lit rooms. The 1080p image quality is amazing, coupled with the 20,000:1 contrast delivery. The glass lenses are perfect for improving the picture quality by keeping the images brighter and clearer.

PROS:

  • The 4,000 lumens are amazing at keeping your picture brighter and clearer.
  • The ability to project on an 80” screen while maintaining the picture quality is amazing.
  • Built-in 2W speakers for proper sound quality.

CONS:

  • The shorter throw distance is something they can work on.

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7. ViewSonic M1+ Projector

ViewSonic M1+ Portable Smart Projector
  • Smart TV enabled for better viewership.
  • Compatible with a power bank for extra power.
  • Auto vertical keystone correction for video alignment.
  • 3600 projection with smart stand for better support.
  • Safety auto-off.

The 3600 projection allows you to rotate the projector to suit any angle while viewing. The smart stand responds to the movement of the projector and adjusts accordingly. The 6-hour battery life is enough to give you the best entertainment for up to 4 hours in your home.

This projector scores high when it comes to the features. Firstly, it’s Smart TV enabled, which allows you to binge and stream your favorite shows on popular streaming platforms. You can also watch your favorite YouTube channels. The 6-hour battery life ensures you get ample time to watch your favorite shows without recharging. It’s also compatible with power banks to give it more life and additional power options. The use of USB Type-C helps to deliver fast video, audio and also facilitates fast charging using a single cable.

Given the type of features included in this projector, we can only conclude that the performance is top-notch. The 120 LED lumens ensure you get brightly colored pictures and don’t compromise on the quality. There is also the amazing 8.5 feet projection distance with the capability of projecting on 100” screens while still maintaining the same picture quality. For extra security, the projector comes equipped with a safety auto-off that kicks in whenever something comes closer to the lens. This way, you can protect your children’s eyes if they get too close to the lens.

There is a lot to be impressed with this projector. To begin with, the vertical keystone correction helps to align the picture for better viewership. The powerful dual Harman Kardon Bluetooth speakers produce clear and powerful sounds to give you the extra cinematic experience. The 120,000:1 image contrast ratio helps to improve and maintain high video quality and is one of the highest in the market.

There are many things to love about this projector. The fact that it’s compatible with Smart TVs makes it perfect for home use. If you need a powerful projector for evening entertainment while giving you the cinematic experience, then this item is for you. It supports both VGA producing 640×480 and HDMI producing 1920×1080 of video quality.

PROS:

  • Smart TV compatible.
  • Impressive battery life up to 6-hours of video.
  • Impeccable sound quality.

CONS:

  •  They can improve on the lumens to add more brightness.

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8. WOWOTO H10 Projector

WOWOTO H10 4500 Lumens Projector
  • The ability to mirror your devices wirelessly.
  • Supports Android 6.0.
  • Snappy PC game experience.
  • Supports 3D movies.
  • Digital zoom.

The projector is made entirely for presentation and movie streaming. It has excellent resolution, screen brightness and can work with multiple video players. The ultra-silence capabilities help to minimize any projector noise, allowing you to enjoy your movies without interference from the projector noises. You also get outstanding after-sale services such as premium-level customer support, troubleshooting, and rebooting services.

The features included in this device make it stand out from the rest. For instance, the ability to mirror any device wirelessly allows you to control the projection with your smartphone. This makes it perfect for office presentation without needing a remote control. The keystone auto-correction ensures that automatic screen alignment hence improving viewership. It has extensive video format compatibility such as Google VP8, VC-1, H.263, AVS+, etc. On matters regarding audio, the projector has audio format compatibility such as AMR, OGG, WMA, AAC, and APE. To improve the viewership, the item supports PNG, PPG, GIF, and BMP picture format compatibility. It also supports Android 6.0 with Bluetooth 4.0 for better connectivity.

The performance of this projector has greatly cemented its place among the most renowned projectors around. Firstly, there is the 4K resolution that guarantees impeccable picture quality. With 4,500 lumens, you get brightly-colored pictures even in well-lit rooms without compromising the viewership. The 1280×800 resolution is among the highest we have around and ensures outstanding picture quality. Use digital zoom to fit your screen and eliminate the need to move the projector back and forth.

The fact that you can share your smartphone’s screen wirelessly with the projector is one of the reasons why we liked this projector. However, that’s not all, as the 4K capabilities provide you with crystal-clear pictures hence bringing you a cinematic experience in your home. The digital zoom combines well with the auto keystone capabilities to ensure full-screen projection without moving the projector. The energy-saving capabilities help you to conserve energy, protect your eyes, and emit very little heat. The extremely low fan noise makes sure your viewership is not interrupted by the noise.

If you’re in the market for a high-end projector with multiple applications, then this item is for you. The 4K resolution coupled with the 1080p ensures you get crystal-clear and HD pictures. The impressive 4,500 lumens brightness is among the best in the market, making sure the clarity is not compromised even in the well-lit rooms. Present your project from your smartphone wirelessly without the need to attach cables. For gamers, you can connect this projector to your preferred console, such as Xbox or PS4, and enjoy your games. You can also connect to the Amazon Fire Stick and watch your favorite shows and movies.

PROS:

  • Supports multiple videos and audios.
  • The ability to connect to smartphones wirelessly is an added advantage.
  • It comes with a 1-year warranty.

CONS:

  • They could improve on the lamp life and include more power.

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Buyer’s Guide: Best Projectors Under $500

Whether you want a projector for your home entertainment or presenting a project, you need to only find that with the best features. In this buyer’s guide, we will be looking at the basic things you should focus on when looking for the best projector under $500.

Throw distance: Throw distance is the length it takes for the projector to project clear pictures without compromising on the picture quality. A 5 feet throw distance is the minimum you can settle for, but the higher, the better.

Multimedia Projectors: These are projectors that have multiple applications and can be used for PowerPoint presentations or video streaming.

The screen resolution: Resolution is very important when you’re choosing a projector. The higher the resolution, the better. For optimal viewership, choose a projector that offers constant 1080p. 4K resolution is also perfect for PowerPoint presentations and playing videos.

The lumens: The brightness of your projector will determine whether you can use it in a well-lit room or not. Anything above 1200 lumens is great, but choosing higher lumens will serve you better.

Color options: For an exclusive cinematic experience, you need a projector that is capable of producing colorful pictures. This way, you should choose projectors with at least a 6-wheel color option since they produce HD colorful pictures.

Lamp life: Lamp life refers to the total time it takes for the projector to function without recharging. The standard lamp life is 15,000 lamp life, but there are some projectors with more or less of this. Check with the manufacturer to find out how much lamp life their projector offers before deciding to buy.

Fan noise and speaker capabilities: It can be frustrating trying to watch a movie or presenting a PowerPoint project with the projector making noises. Make sure you opt for those with the lowest fan noises. The speaker is another option you must consider. 2W is the standard speaker capabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: What to look for in buying a projector?

Ans: The most basic thing to look for when buying a projector is the resolution it offers. However, you still need to check whether it supports multimedia functions such as video streaming and gaming. The brightness and color options are another issue that you must consider. For a basic projector, make sure it supports multiple video players and can be connected to smartphones. For a proper HD experience, make sure you choose a projector with 1080p resolution or above.

The screen size is also very important when you’re buying a projector. For home use, make sure you get a projector that supports a screen size of anywhere from 100” or more. An 80” screen is also ideal for home use. However, for office use, you could opt for anything around 300” or more.

The operating system is another issue you need to consider. Choosing an Android-powered projector will give you an added advantage since it’s a widely used operating system and supports a majority of applications. Make sure to check whether you can connect the projector to popular media players and platforms such as Amazon Fire TV.

Q2: Are mini projectors worth buying?

Ans: If you’re in the market for something to lighten the mood, you should opt for mini projectors since they are perfect for home entertainment or small office project presentations. They may not have all the high-end features, but they do come with what you need for your home needs. They’re also very easy to install and operate. Their small sizes make them perfect for home use and can be moved around easily without much effort. They come equipped with various features such as auto keystone alignment to make the work easier for you in your home. However, they may be limited to large office presentations and public cinemas. They do have some limitations, such as the throw distance, aspect ratio, and lumens.

Q3: Do projectors use a lot of electricity?

Ans: The majority of projectors come with inbuilt rechargeable batteries. For this reason, they’re known to use very little electricity. Some of the batteries have an outstanding 6-hour view time which is more than enough for a movie or an office presentation. To make sure they consume lesser electricity, modern projectors are equipped with energy-saving capabilities, such as LED bulbs. To answer the question, projectors use very little electricity and are perfect for saving energy.  Some projectors are compatible with power banks making them perfect for an outdoor viewing experience.

Q4: Should I get a 4k projector?

Ans: 4K projectors are known for their video and picture clarity. Coupled with the 1080p resolution, you should expect HD video and graphics. The 4K projectors also come with high lumens, with most of them ranging between 4,000 to 4,500 lumens, giving you better viewership even in the well-lit rooms. They also include better color options, with most of them having a 6-color wheel giving you a wide variety to choose from and improve picture color. Even though it’s not a requirement, getting a 4K projector is highly advised.

Q5: Can you use a projector for everyday TV watching?

Ans: Yes, you can use a projector for everyday TV watching. However, it’s best to know that a projector is just a screen and cannot function on its own. You still need to connect it to streaming sources. In this case, you can connect to the Amazon Fire TV, Android box, or any other popular media box. Even though it may not harm the projector, it will run down the bulb life significantly. Other than that, you still get to enjoy an impeccable viewership experience than that offered by TV sets.

Conclusion

Projectors are preferred by many due to their wide application. It doesn’t matter whether you want them for office project presentation or your personal home use, there is a lot you can get from using a projector. When in the market for one, you must consider several features such as the resolution, screen brightness, lamp life, among others. Make sure that the projector is compatible with the majority of devices such as smartphones and PCs. The performance of the projector is also another area you must focus on, such as the contrast ratio or whether the projector supports 3D is very important. Finally, make sure you buy a projector from a manufacturer that offers after-sale services such as troubleshooting, lifetime firmware updates, and customer services. The after-sale services should include the warranty as well.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

Photography is my life and I have taken it as my profession after my graduation.

I am a professional, I almost cover everything from fashion, architecture, editorial topics, and corporate lifestyle.

I have worked with clients such as CNN, Alabama State University, Steelcase, LiveStrong, and more.

I'm based in Alabama. If you need my service, just feel free to contact me.

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