When people hire a photographer, their initial thought is that they’re simply paying someone to take photos with their camera and provide pictures at the end. While that thought is entirely accurate, there is a lot more to it. What makes a professional photographer worth it, when you could just as easily snap some shots with your phone, or ask your friend that has a “nice camera” to take pictures? Let’s dig in and find out why a professional photographer is worth the investment.
The first and primary reason a professional photographer is worth it is that they have invested in premium equipment to take the best photos. Sure, the latest iPhone or Galaxy has a great camera, but it is limited in the quality it can produce. A professional photographer has a camera that serves a particular purpose, whether it’s optimal for shooting headshots, events (action), or in my case, adventurous pups. A professional also knows about every setting on their camera to take the best photos with whatever conditions are presented. The images professional cameras produce are far superior to the images a phone generates.
Not only do professional photographers have great equipment to take photos, they also know what to do with the images they produce. Platforms like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop give a level of creative control that a phone could never replicate (and yes, that even includes the Lightroom app for the phone). Professionals are able to manipulate colors to be more vibrant, uncover details that are hidden in shadows, and like in my case, remove leashes from a pup. Often times they will have gone through some type of training to know the ins-and-outs of photo editing, which is yet another advantage of a pro.
Aside from having the necessary skills to work with photo editing programs, a professional photographer also has the training, experience, and talent to know what makes for a great photo in the first place. A lot of people that point and shoot with their phones are doing just that – snapping a picture in a moment in time. But that kind of image doesn’t necessarily provoke emotions or tell a story. Professionals know how to stage shots to make the most of your surroundings and maximize the impact of the captured setting. That includes knowing what angle to capture their subject, and in my particular case, knowing how to anticipate what a dog might do in order to proactively take shots instead of reacting to the dogs’ movements.
Lastly, and most importantly, a professional photographer cares! Just like any other business where their reputation and livelihood depend on their level service, a professional will care about you and your satisfaction to make sure you are getting exactly what you want and more. Photography is a completely voluntary profession that people don’t just “stick with” like a normal job – they stay in it because they love what they do and want to continue doing it. For me, it’s also a matter of knowing just how important pups are. I love my pups to death and I want to always remember them. I’m sure you want the same for your pup. That’s what I keep in mind.
One big caveat to all of the above is that these days it is much easier for anybody to get into photography, and just as easy for anyone to consider themselves a professional or “in business.” There is a big difference between a photographer and a picture-taker, and a lot of that comes down to the degree of which they meet the above criteria.
Do Your Homework
There are plenty of hired picture-takers with little or no real experience, so I advise that you do your homework when it comes to finding the right photographer. You can do that by looking at portfolios, comparing work with other photographers, and seeing where they might have testimonials/reviews like Facebook, Google or Yelp. You can also check out their social media accounts to see their work since portfolios don’t always reflect their most recent work.
Are They Worth It?
For any level of professional photography, you will generally get what you pay for. Photographers often price themselves according to two things: the market (being cheaper to compete) and their own abilities (confidence in their work). Some photographers also price themselves according to the service they provide and the products they produce (just digitals? help with printing? help with frames?), so you will have a lot of options available to you when selecting a photographer. If you happen to select a cheaper option – that’s totally your prerogative. I’m not here to shame you about it – just be aware of the potential for being delivered sub-par photos or ones that aren’t optimized for their intended use (ie – printing).
I could go on and on about why it’s worth the investment to hire a professional photographer for your portrait needs, but I would much rather discuss it with you directly! I would like to make sure I can address any particular questions you might have about my own process, what kinds of products I offer, and ultimately, what I can do to help you achieve your goals – like a big print of your pup to hang up!
Until next time, keep adventuring!
-Chris, Adventure Pup Photography
PS – I have previously written two blogs for ‘Why do you need a professional photographer’ (Part 1 and Part 2), but this is more of a short-read version. Feel free to read the older ones to gain a little bit more insight!