WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER?
Here's all you need to know about the reasons for choosing a professional photographer.
As a northern Utah photographer, I can't tell you how many times I have been told, "I wish I would have saved up some money and paid more for a good photographer at my wedding..". I tend hear this a lot from my clients' relatives, siblings, or friends. Hiring a professional photographer is a very important part of weddings (family portraits, maternity/newborn, & engagements too). These days there are many so-called "photographers", but how many of them are actual professionals? They may call themselves professionals, but are they really? Is their work presented on a Facebook page, rather than a professional website? Another way to quickly tell is to simply look at their work. Do they present themselves as a professional? Do the pictures seem flat, dull, and like they were taken with a point and shoot camera? Or are they full of life and color? Do the people have highlights in their eyes that make the photograph come alive? Are the photographs fairytale-like, filled with magic? If so, you're looking for the the kind of photographer that can capture the moments that usually pass you by and with their work they preserve the magic that was originally in the moment.
Don't get me wrong - I'm all for owning your own business, and photography seems to be the answer for many people. But I can't help but wonder if many of the "photographers" out there are really a professional business or if they're just a hobby disguised as a business. It's frustrating for somebody like me to have a potential client that really likes my work but ends up going with their second cousin's brother's wife for their wedding photographer just because they'll do it for free. I'm all for free stuff, but you usually get what you pay for. Many people justify not caring a lot about the quality of their wedding photos, but what they don't realize is that your wedding day is very special, but also very fast. Brides are running around all day and don't have the time to stop and take in the details that they themselves thought out and put together for their ceremony, luncheon, & reception. The thing is, you might have memories of your wedding day, but memories fade. The cake gets eaten, the dress gets sold (or too small), and the magic of your day is gone after awhile. However, if that same bride pays for a quality professional photographer who captures that magic in their photos, the bride can remember her wedding day the way it really was and all its details forever! Like I said, I've seen it happen and have heard so many times how women have regrets and wish they would have hired a quality professional.
Unlike a lot of start-up photographers that make a photography business for fun because they like taking photos with their iPhone or a point and shoot camera, I do this for a living. I have an artistic soul that needs to be expressed, and I express my creativity and artistic abilities in my work. I've been artistic my entire life - just look at my mother's artwork and you'll see why I am the way I am. Every photo I edit and give to a client is thought out and molded to be what I visualized while I was taking the photograph. The image below is an example of an original image and my finished edited image of a client.
Now, when I took this photo I didn't visualize the photo on the left. In my mind's eye I saw the overall beauty that I brought out in my final edited image on the right. Isn't she gorgeous? All the material is already there - she is the canvas. I'm not changing the way she looks, I am only amplifying the beauty she already has. This makes the photo end up being something extraordinary and magical. That is the gift I hope and try to give to my clients every time I deliver finished photos.
The average person looking for a photographer doesn't know the extensive amount of work that goes into taking, preparing, and delivering a photograph. It makes sense; I mean I'm not an engineer, so I don't know how much work goes into planning, working, and building a monument like the Golden Gate Bridge. I only know that the finished product is functional and beautiful. With photography, so much about what makes a good composition is the photographer themselves and their knowledge. Are you able to pose your model in a way that is pleasing to the eye? What about the actual position of your model - is the sun in front or behind them? Is light reflected back onto their face? Are there highlights in their eyes? Do you have the right camera settings so it's not to dark or too light? Do you need to use an off camera flash for this particular photograph or will a reflector do the job? Will a tripod help with camera shake and make the image sharper? Is my model's hair in the correct place? Do I need to adjust anything on my model? The list goes on and on...
I don't mean to be on a soap box... I feel that I am justified in publishing this post about why you should hire a professional photographer. After how many times I've been told "I should have just hired a professional" I wanted to put this out into the internet void to educate people. Please, don't get me wrong, I'm not posting this for the purpose of criticizing other photographers or making myself seem great. I'm posting this because I think people should know the difference between someone who fancies themselves as a photographer and someone who really knows what they're doing, with the knowledge and training to deliver.
Another thing to be aware of is photographer pricing (remember, I'm not criticizing or ranting, just informing). Most of the time when a client is looking for a photographer, for example a wedding photographer, they are looking for good work at a reasonable price. But what is reasonable? Many people, myself included, want to save money whenever they can. People sometimes get sticker shock, when they hire a professional wedding photographer and are quoted a minimum price of $1000. With their wedding budget already stretched to the limit, they tend to look for something cheaper or even free! "I really like this photographer's work, but my second cousin's brother's wife will do them for free..." That's tempting, but I must repeat - You get what you pay for. And maybe you won't even notice that the free photographer's work wasn't as great as that photographer you could have hired. But I assure you, when you pay money for a quality professional photographer, it is WORTH the money that they quote to you, and you will not regret your choice.
Often we forget about the time, effort, and talent that goes into a product or service. All we want to know is "What is the price?". But then we get discouraged because we didn't expect to pay that much. One reason I wanted to write this article is to explain that I (and other professionals) charge what we do for a variety of reasons. I think people sometimes forget that being a photographer is a career just like any other job. We have to pay the bills. That's the difference between a professional and your second cousin's brother's wife who takes pictures for fun. A lot of thought goes into my pricing.
Thank you for reading my blog post about "Why Should You Hire A Professional Photographer?". I hope I answered some of your questions. Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments about this post. To see some of my wedding photography click here.