Why do you need a professional photographer? (Part 1)

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first entry into the world of Adventure Pup Photography! While I don’t envision this to be strictly a collection of stories or thoughts on my experience with the development and growth of Adventure Pup Photography (or ‘AdPup’ for short), I want this to serve as a source of information for people that are considering whether professional pet photography is right for them. I will be adding some of my own thoughts and perspectives in future installments, but for now, I’d like to provide a foundation of things for people to consider. Ultimately, I hope to be a good first reference for folks as they consider capturing stunning photos of their dogs.

With this first entry, I’d like to establish the importance of professional photography versus standard photography. Standard photography can range from anything like a cell phone picture to a ‘point-and-shoot’ camera. The outcome of these photos can still be good depending on the type of camera you have. Newer cell phones have pretty great resolution these days, and standard entry DSLR cameras (think Nikon or Canon cameras that cost a few hundred dollars) start with a pretty good amount of megapixels too. The downside of these types of cameras is that the amount of “information” they capture is limited due to the file type they’re captured in (typically JPG). When the information is limited, that means you have less flexibility to do things like adjusting shadows, highlights, or colors, or even editing out things you don’t want like a leash or a person in the background. While you can manually adjust these things using your phone’s built-in photo editor or even right before you post to Instagram, it doesn’t have the range and flexibility that a professional photographer would have available.

Professional photographers take pictures using a particular file format that captures a larger amount of information from the environment. File formats depend on the camera manufacturer (RAW, NEF, etc.), but they all essentially serve the same purpose and can be read in similar ways. Professional photographers also use programs that are more powerful than a standard phone editor. You’ve probably heard of PhotoShop, which is the premier tool used by professional photographers. Because of the large photo files with lots of information, as well as being able to use powerful editing software like Photoshop, professional photographers can manipulate photos to adjust lighting, bring out colors, and crop out things like leashes and people in the background. These rich images are so high quality that they don’t just look good on your phone or computer, but they can also be printed out into large portraits for your wall. Can your cell phone do that?

In a nutshell, the tools that professional photographers have available to them enable them to make high-quality shots. A standard photographer can use their cell phone to capture a moment at any time, but the convenience comes at a price. Professional photographers have the right equipment in order to provide you with a quality product in the end. Having a great end-product in terms of quality is only one small (albeit important) piece of the larger photography puzzle, so I hope you continue following along to consider other important factors in choosing the right photographer.

Until next time, I’d ask that you go through the millions of pictures in your cell phone and rate their quality. Though most are fun and candid (as they should be), consider first if you would be able to post it to Facebook or Instagram and feel good about it. Next, consider if you’d be able to print it out and put it in a frame for your desk. Last, consider if you could print it out and hang it on your wall. What’s the quality like? Are the lighting and color right? Is anything blurred? Once you start giving a more critical eye to your photo, you begin to understand just how important basic fundamentals of picture quality play in the larger scheme of the product.

Happy Adventures!

-Chris, Adventure Pup Photography

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