Why not hire an amateur or "cheap" photographer? (Because you might end up with one of these)
That’s a good question and you may notice the inherent problem with a professional photographer trying to answer the question “why hire a professional photographer when Uncle Bob has a very good camera?” Are you are likely to get an unbiased opinion? Another view is that who better to ask that question to other than a professional photographer?
I really like my Uncle Bob and he does have a very expensive and top of the range camera, he may even do a photo shoot for free! It sounds too good to be true.
The problem with this scenario is that many people will have the same expectations of Uncle Bob as they do with the professional images they see in the magazines because after all, anybody can be a photographer. Right? And if that’s true, why not save the money and put it towards something else?
It is also true that anyone can press a shutter button but it is a completely different thing to deliver high quality professional portrait images. So what are the real differences?
A professional will shoot hundreds of images a week, will know how to shoot in all situations and can adjust the camera manually blindfolded. They will fully understand the principles of photojournalism, portrait photography, creative posing, composition, storytelling and narrative. They will also have invested thousands of pounds in multiple professional cameras and an extensive range of professional lenses.
They will have also invested thousands of pounds in high end computers and image editing software and know how to use it to its full potential so that the final image produced for you is of the very highest quality that can be achieved. The highest quality print through professional contacts and custom printers (and not the standard high street printers found everywhere), ensures that only the best is produced and creates heirloom quality images for your family to enjoy for generations.
A professional will also carry the proper insurances including liability insurance and will provide a contract which outlines all relevant facts on the services and products provided, and at what cost to the client. A good contract will help to reduce any misunderstandings between what the client thinks is included (hours, prints, album, etc.), and what the photographer promises to provide.
With a little tongue in cheek, Uncle Bob is likely to have far less experience and would have taken a college course a few years ago. Although he has a top of the range camera, he is likely to use it in “Auto” mode, has only very basic understanding of photographic concepts and will have a couple of consumer grade lenses.
He is also likely to have a very basic understanding of photographic workflow such as capturing, downloading, culling, editing, uploading, burning, printing and album creation. Final printed images are likely to be from supermarkets or online stores (professional labs expect to see professional standards such as insurances before creating an account) and so the image will be of a low grade that will fade in a few years and will not be colour balanced or corrected. When printing, you really do get what you pay for. Finally he will not be insured and will not have a contract.
Poor Uncles Bob’s ears must be burning! Well I am not going to carry on saying he is all bad because he is not, he will be perfect for some people and he is likely to get a couple of good pictures. If you have decided that you really want a custom professional photographer to take some images of you or your family then you are faced with another very important question.
Which photographer should I choose?
An excellent question without an easy answer!
All that equipment stuff, software, insurance (although all important) is just stuff. There is something that is far more important but firstly think about this. The photographic art you choose to place on your wall is ultimately the result of the vision of the photographer. Their vision along with the environment, lighting, concept, your input and what you wear all contribute to the work of art that will hang proudly on your wall forever more.
Vision and artistic interpretation is unquantifiable, is a matter of choice and taste and is extremely important when you are looking for a photographer.
If the photographers vision is key to the process than you may need to determine who you are, who your family is and then find a photographer who reflects the style you want to portray. Look at photographers online portfolios and decide on whether you like the style that is reflected. Are the images more “life style” or “photojournalistic”, do they have a broad repertoire or do they shoot just one type and style?
What it is all about is choice and experience. To find a custom photographer is about finding someone who will photograph you or your family and give you devoted 1 on 1 attention without the feeling of being on a production line or in a crowded studio.
See how it should be done in our gallery
The first stage is to arrange your pre-shoot consultation which will take around 30 minutes. Let us know a convenient time to call you and leave me a phone number. If you have any initial questions at this time of course we would be happy to answer them when we talk.