This past weekend, I was shooting a wedding with a friend and the videographer asked if, with how good cell phone cameras are getting, we thought we’d be replaced by them.
It’s an interesting question and honestly one that’s circled around for awhile. I cringe every time I see the Apple commercials that make everyone think they can be a pro photographer just by using the newest iPhone. It makes what I do less of a commodity. Everyone is a photographer these days.
With the speed and availability of technology and devices, it does beg the question: Is professional photography still worth the investment?
I will admit, I’m not a big techie person but I have been debating upgrading my phone for a better camera, especially given changes in my personal life (sorry Argos, you’re no longer going to be the main subject of my camera roll). So this post is not me shaking my fist at technology and all those daggum youngin’s out there wanting to be professional photographers. I want to explore why professional photography is absolutely still worth the investment and it always will be.
Skill and expertise
This is the most important reason why hiring a professional is worth the investment. Professional photographers are trained in posing, lighting, and all of the technical aspects of their gear. A pro will make sure your shoulders are relaxed, your weight is on your back foot, and there’s no awkward gap between you and your fiance or you and your kiddos.
They know how to elicit emotion if necessary and they know how to be prepared for candid emotion as well. Or maybe there’s funky lighting in the church or reception venue. They can compensate for that in ways most iPhone photographers cannot.
Pros can find the best light, which is what photography is all about: capturing light. Without light, there is no photograph.
Vision and point-of-view
Most photographers who have been in the game awhile have a style and a point-of-view. You know what you’re getting when they photograph your wedding or family session. And chances are, how they shoot is why you hired them in the first place! People hire me for my style which comes from years of practice, training, editing, lighting, and more. An amateur with an iPhone will likely not have that sort of vision or point-of-view.
If you had a someone photograph your wedding with an iPhone, how would you expect to get your photos after? Via text message? Email? Oy.
Most professional photographers spend countless hours tweaking your photos after the fact to make sure they’re color-corrected, removing blemishes and straightening any crooked images. They also spend a good deal of time putting together your final package. I include printed portraits, a custom engraved wooden box, all the images on a pretty USB, and some other fun goodies. Then it’s shipped off to the couple to open and look through together.
With the availability of technology and an abundance of photographers in every market, I can understand the temptation of going cheap or going new-age with an iPhone photographer. But the older I get, the more I value the pricelessness of professional photos I have from my childhood, wedding, and marriage. These are heirlooms that get passed down to generations. If your photos lived forever on a hard drive and then it crashed, you’d be left with nothing.
Do you have thoughts on hiring a pro vs. an amateur? Phone photography certainly has its place but it is not at important life events.