Here is hoping I don't wax too philosophically today huh. One of the things that comes up quite often when I am taking a photoshoot with people is how they either want to capture how they are now before it is gone OR they wish they had done it sooner.
Portraits and photography in general have become so mainstream in the past 10 years haven't they? I remember leaving school and one of the first things I bought once I had my firsst job was a camera. It was this cute little (or little by those days standards) Canon ixus. Boasting a huge 2 megapixel camera I spent a lot of money getting images from that thing printed and enlarged. The funniest thing was, the card in that camera only held 14 pics at a time!
Compared to today when I am still a loyal Canon user with a 5dmkII, which boasts 21.1 Megapixels and my cards hold several hundreds of photos each, it is not difficult to understand why photography has become a big passtime.
Selfies are an almost global phenomenon, where everyone and their dog has their own cellphone; often with a decent enough camera for your every day needs. Everyone has the ability to capture a decent picture of themselves.
So why then, would anyone want to visit a professional photographer, and for that matter what is a professional photographer anyway?
Let's start with the latter, a professional photographer, when you really boil it down to a point is anyone who takes money for services rendered in the form of taking and processing images for delivery to a client. Regardless of what they shoot, regardless of how much they charge and regardless of how often they do it, if someone is charging to take images that becomes a profession.
I personallly feel that those who do charge should be of a consistent quality and know what they are doing but sometimes this isnt the case. And that is why we can get a little confused. For instance, I know several brilliant photographers who are both professional in the way they conduct their business and the quality of their work who are completely self taught and hold no qualifications in photography. I also know plenty of photographers fresh out of polytech or other institutions who generally still don't really know what it is like and what is needed to run a sucesssful business. Or how about the mum who just brought a brand new entry level dslr, has taken some lucky shots of her kids, and then discovered her friends want her to take pictures of their kids too? In all of the above cases, if they are accepting money then they can conceivable be considered to be a professional photographer.
Sometimes the lines can be blurred, if you are charging money, but youre not actually any good at photography are you still a professional photographer? Yes! Does being a professional photographer guarantee that the photographer is any good? NO! There are too many factors to consider in one post, but I am often shocked by the standards of some work I see that has been charged for. And then there is the opposite, where hobbyists, who do it for the love of it and dont charge can blow even the seasoned pro out of the water with there quality and direction of thier images.
So here are a few things to consider when determining if someone is worth spending your hard earned money on....
- Qualifications or experience
You do not need to have qualifications to be a professsional photographer in New Zealand, and there are plenty of ways to gain experience without having qualifications. I suggest if you are looking this deeply into a photographer before using them that you do not let this be your first and only qualifier.
- Word of mouth
Now this one is a big one, if you've heard someone is an ass to work with from more than one person, it is probably true. If you have heard someone is amazzing, made them feel comfortable and they got great images, you probably want to work with this person over the other! Logic! It works :)
- Consistent quality of work
Have you been following this person for awhile on ssocial media, and they consistently blow you away with the quality of their work? Then jusst like above you may want to work with this person. If you have also heard they are amazing to work with they YAY, they get a double tick!
- Technical Aspects
Are they a technically proficient photographer? And, more importantly, do you know what that even means? Here are some things to consider, are their images in focus, are they overblown or under exposed to the point of being distracting, are the people posed in such a way to enhance their looks and make them look their best, is the image well edited?
- Do you like their work
This is different to the above, there are plenty of photographers I admire, that are of the highest technical quality, I couldn't fault their work if i tried. And, yet if I was the model I wouldn't shoot with them. This is something you need to think about too. Do you actually like their work, is thier work good and is it something you would have on display somewhere.
Finally, in this day and age, why would you want to visit a professsional photographer anyway?
Here's the deal; you may be able to get a pretty decent image on your cellphone with a selfie stick, and alll of your friends will give you a bit of a confidence boost by telling you how great you look. But that isnt actually the purpose of having a professional photo session taken. It may be one of the outcomes (and indeed it should be), but a professional photographer brings a lot to the table that you might be missing out on. You might like to come and see us or some other pro photographer if you need images for your website, you want to update family images, you want to do something to boost your confidence, you recognise the fact that you want something quality and documentational to remember how you were "back then, similarly you want heirloom quality images that can be passed down for generations.
Professional photographers; we know how to pose you so you look your best, we know how to light you so that you don't fade into the background (unless that is what the idea is), we know how to treat you well so you feel valued and confident, we know how to edit the flaws that distract, but leave in the ones that make you "you", and we know how to make the whole thing into an experience!
If you value yourself, and your life and you want to document it in such a way that is lasting, memorable and beautiful, then perhaps you should consider putting down the phone for a limited time and enjoying what an amazing and often once in a lifetime experience having a photoshoot can be.
If you would like more info you are always welcome to contact us using our contact page. We try to get back to anyone whyy sends us a message within 24 hours, although sometimes if it is the weekend we may be with other clients, so feel free to send us a message and we will get back to you asap.
Special thanks to Linnie our gorgeous model on this blog post