January 19, 2019

Why go with a Professional Photographer


Q: Why should I hire a Professional Photographer for my Senior Pictures?

A: Because you’re a professional in your field as well and you trained for what you do.  Let say you have the option to go to a hairstylist that learned how to color hair from watching videos, went and bought some dye, scissors, brushes and she’s ready to do your hair OR you can go to someone that has years of experience and has trained with professionals.  Obviously, the choice is yours to choose whomever you’d like.  As we all know, the advent of digital photography has led your Uncle Fred, your roommate, and a whole slew of other folks into thinking they’re photographers.  It’s also true that the newest digital cameras are really, really smart. But a smart digital camera does not an accomplished artist make.  (With that being said, everyone has to start somewhere and honestly, some of them are fantastic and I encourage them to start hardcore training and go for it.  If you have that natural gift then go embrace it and LEARN.)

What’s the moral? When you hire a pro, you’re not just hiring a person with a more expensive camera than your Uncle Fred. You’re hiring someone who knows how to make you (or whatever the subject is) look awesome, using an artistic eye, an ability to put the subject at ease, and the technical skill and training to give you a riveting image that everyone will notice and you will love for a lifetime.  You’re hiring someone who can take your vision of yourself, and mold it into something eye-catching, emotional and technically spot on.

Q: What am I paying a professional for?

A: When you pay a professional photographer to shoot for you, you are generally paying for the following things:

• the years of education, experience, and the equipment involved;

• a creation fee, which involves their creativity and expertise;

• an agreed upon number of hours or days to do your shoot and deliver a final product;

• expenses incurred in creating those images (software, equipment, processing, post-production time in digital work, etc.);

• Lab cost of  selected images for prints, albums, etc;

• a repro rights fee on individual photos digital files you wish to reproduce and use for your own purposes.


Q:  Isn’t digital photography cheaper than the old film days?

A:  The emergence of digital photography over the past decade has revolutionized photography. And though we miss the days of film–particularly gorgeous black and white–digital shooting has numerous advantages. Among the perks of digital is the ability for the photographer and client to catch mistakes and make changes early in the shoot by checking the monitor, as well as faster turnaround time, easier image modification and retouching, increased ability to shoot in low-light situations, and the ability to create dynamite color and black and white images from the same shot. But here comes the confusing part: for amateurs, digital is often cheaper; but for professionals, it’s not. In fact, according to stats published in the past few years, doing a professional shoot digitally costs as much as one-third more than traditional methods. Why, you ask?

In the old days–from eight to one hundred and fifty years ago–photographers expected their cameras, darkroom equipment, and all they needed to shoot and create an original image for you to last between five and twenty-five years, if not more. Today, digital equipment–cameras, computers, hardware, and software–is often obsolete in a few months, and rarely makes it to two or three years. Constant upgrading ain’t cheap!

When a photographer shoots digitally, the post-production work required after the shoot–including downloading, naming files, color corrections, various batch actions, backing up on multiple external hard drives, retouching, burning CDs or DVDs, etc. etc.– is infinitely more time consuming for the photographer, and always takes way longer than the shoot itself. In the old days, this was often a simple lab drop and pickup that was billed to the client. Today, it is the photographer who is working at the computer perfecting and presenting your images, which is reflected in your bill.

Because clients know how quickly digital turnarounds can happen, they often expect the photographer to process and deliver much, much faster than with film. The marketplace has upped the ante on deadlines as well. So these added pressures also push up the costs.

Credit to Susan Miller

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