Wednesday, September 15, 2010

101 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer

Why hire a professional photogrpher?

"That's a great picture, you must have a really nice camera!" Such is the perception of most who don't really know anything about photography. It's about the same logic as saying "that was a wonderful meal, you must have a nice stove!"

After having been a photographer for many years (and even selling photography equipment for a while) I've heard this statement many times. When I was selling, customers would consistently come up to me and say similar statements. The one I probably heard the most was "My friend Tom has a [insert camera name here] camera and he gets great pictures so I want to buy the same one. Almost without fail the same said customer would come back a few weeks later complaining because "something must be wrong with the camera you sold me because the pictures aren't as good as Tom's." I would always reply with "may I see your camera?" and would then ask if they minded if I took a few pictures. I would put the camera in either aperture priority mode or manual, adjust the settings according to the photograph that I wanted to create, press the shutter button, and then show the customer the picture. They would always follow up with something like "Wow, that looks great, how come my pictures don't look that good?" To which I would begin the long conversation about how I use a camera as a tool to create the look I want instead of being dependent on a camera to do all of the thinking for me. Because of peoples, often erroneous, beliefs about photography I've decided to create a list of 101 reasons that people need to hire a professional photographer instead of depending on their "friend with a nice camera." This list - in no particular order - is mainly focused on wedding photography but can include any type of photography.

Professional Photographer Shawn Sharp...

1. creates photographs, he doesn't take a picture and "hope it comes out."

2. has spent years studying every aspect of making a photographs.

3. knows which lens to use in which situation.

4. knows how to set the camera for a consistent look regardless of location (ceremony, reception, outdoors, etc.)

5. knows how to properly use a flash for soft, even lighting.

6. knows when to use multiple flashes to create a beautiful scene.

7. knows how to make a scene look "natural" and not like he was using a flash at all.

8. knows what aperture to set his lens to to get the look he wants.

9. knows what shutter speed to set to capture the ambient light, create the feeling of movement, or freeze an object in place.

10. will sometimes spend several hours retouching one photograph to make sure it is perfect.