why use a pro
Thanks to advancements in technology, almost everyone has a pretty capable camera in their pockets. Additionally, at a minimum, we all know someone who has a "good camera." I'm constantly seeing people say that their friend has a good camera, so they will just ask their friend to take pictures.
I'm not a full time professional nor did I ever obtain a degree in photography. Individuals who are self-taught, even amateur, can indeed be fantastic photographers. Conversely, there are some people who hold themselves out as pros who are truly awful.
So why not just get your friend with a good camera to take your portraits? Or photograph your wedding?
Because if you want images that are truly worth cherishing for a lifetimes, images that will attract positive attention when framed over the mantle, then it pays to have someone who "knows what they are doing." This may be a full time devoted professional, or even a very advanced amateur. But it is someone who "knows what they are doing."
A truly advanced photographer brings a great deal to the table.
1. They bring the right gear. It may appear that your friend has a pretty good camera. It's big, it has a lot of buttons. Yet, an advanced photographer will have the right lenses that will produce beautiful rendering, that will create smooth blurred backgrounds and ultra sharp subjects. The advanced photographer may have lighting gear including flashes, strobes, reflectors and other tools that the amatuer lacks. The advanced photographer will have software that lets them fine tune images. Most importantly, they know HOW to use their gear to get the most out of it. Someone may have the most beautiful kitchen, but it doesn't make them a great chef.
2. The advanced photographer understands light and location. While the amateur will say, "stand there and smile," the advanced photographer understands the importance of precisely controlling the direction and quality of light. Such control allows the photographer to create soft images, dramatic images, and technically correct images. Meanwhile, the amateur will end up with lots of glare, or flat looking images.
3. The advanced photographer knows how to create interesting well composed images. Instead of "stand there and smile," the advanced photographer is always considering all elements within the frame. They know how to control distracting foreground and backgrounds. They know how to make their images look like amazing moments instead of quick snap shots.
4. The advanced photographer understand how to pose the human subject. It is a difficult skill to pose an individual in the most flattering way possible. An advanced photographer understands the placement or arms and legs, the best angle to capture an individual.
5. The advanced photographer can bring creativity to a photo shoot. Having done tons of wedding or portraits, or whatever the occasion may be, the advanced photographer has seen what works and what doesn't. And can incorporate far more than, "look over here and smile."
6. The advanced photographer knows what to do after taking the picture. Virtually every image can be improved after the photograph is taken. The exposure is fine tuned. Contrast, shadows, etc, are adjusted to make the image just right. Software may be used to close out distracting objects. In virtually every close portrait, I'll apply very subtle skin smoothing, teeth whitening, eye enhancements. Many of these adjustments are subtle, but they make a big difference in delivering the best possible image.
So in choosing your photographer, consider whether they are just bringing a decent camera to snap some images, or whether you are getting someone who can elevate your images.
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