Personally I've never had to rely on a special badge or anything to get the access I wanted, I've always just relied on making friends, talking to people, knowing people, or just looking like I belonged there.
Specials come and go in cycles, one year they may be easy to come by, the next, more difficult. Around 40% or more of all credentials are faked, in the end a press badge only gets you as much access as the next guy with a press badge, in practice isn't not such a big thing really.
Photographer badge sounds like a good idea though, one common complaint I hear from people is that they got their picture taken so many times, but after the con couldn't find their picture posted online or anywhere else. Having some positive indication that this photographer actually posts the pictures somewhere would be helpful.