7 Reasons why you should hire a professional Photographer

Everybody knows them — that relative, family friend or co-worker who’s really into photography. It’s a passion or hobby they reserve for evenings or weekends; they show you their photos on a regular basis, and their work is pretty good. They shoot there friends, and urban scenes, and perhaps even have had some of their work published. They may even own the latest and greatest in camera equipment and the best lenses and accessories. 

If you’re on a budget (and who isn’t), when it comes time to finding a photographer, you may naturally consider enlisting a co-worker or friend. They’ve offered their services to you or your company at a reduced rate. They may even do it for that ‘photo credit’ you offer. Wow! However, before you choose an amateur over someone offering professional photography, take heed: when it comes to your company and your brand anything short of a professional photographer just isn’t worth it and if it isn’t in the budget then you aren’t ready. If photography is needed as part of your project then it makes sense that a photo budget is part of that process. Here are my top seven reasons to hire a professional photographer:

1. Education

A professional photographer will have had years of training and/or schooling in the art of photography. They’ll know their equipment inside and out. They’ll be able to set their camera to the proper exposure or get close almost intuitively. They understand light, composition and depth of field. The communication between you and him/her will be more fluid and they will be likely to understand your needs. 

2. Lighting Techniques

Lighting is key to successful photography and is a whole topic unto itself. It can take years for a photographer to master lighting techniques both in the studio and in outdoor settings. A professional photographer is able to adjust camera settings quickly and fluidly based upon diverse or changing lighting conditions. Knowledge of how the camera interacts with light is key to compensating for over- or underexposure, but sometimes photographers must rely upon their experience instead of the camera’s readings. The professional is also adept at creating unique and customized lighting scenes and are able to expertly supplement natural lighting with their own professional lighting effects as needed.

3. Experience

A professional photographer has done it before; Most likely, as with myself they’ve shot a variety of subject matter through the years and have been exposed to many conditions. There’s no shortcut to experience, and you take a tremendous gamble with a first-timer or an inexperienced photographer not knowing what to do at various points of the shoot. Those in the professional photography world have a lot of experience to draw from. They not only know how to handle a situation when it occurs but know how to prepare for the shoot before it happens. They have experience with communicating with different people on the set or location and interact fluidly with their subjects to achieve your desired results. 

4. Lenses

Professional photographers have an assortment of quality lenses at their disposal as well as the knowledge of which one is best for any given scenario. They’ll have the foresight to be prepared for a variety of situations and looks by having a variety of different types of lenses.  Coupled this with their knowledge of advanced lens focusing techniques and they can achieve artistic effects that an amateur would only stumble upon by accident. 

5. Backgrounds and Backdrops

When it comes to professional work, there’s far more to the equation than just a camera and a basic lighting setup. The right backdrops and backgrounds can be crucial to a successful final result.  Through communication with you, the client, a professional photographer will understand what effect their lens choice will have on a background to achieve your desired look. They will understand how to light the chosen background to meet your needs or to create an artistic look. Your friend or co-worker may not have that same knowledge. You can count on a professional to deliver optimal results.

6. Editing and Software

A professional photographer will also own or have access to the ideal editing software and know-how to retouch and edit your photos, bringing out the very best in each one. The last thing you want is a Photoshop novice trying to retouch photos of your most prized and precious memories.

7. Professionally Invested

A professional photographer is working for you, and they are invested in your satisfaction. You are their client, not their relative or friend, and they will retain a level of professionalism someone else may not. They also have the fortitude and commitment to work for long periods without breaks and see the job through so that the best results possible are achieved. 

Summary

To summarize, a professional photographer does not just “take snapshots”; they facilitate the creation of works of art based on your needs. A professional will draw from all of their training and knowledge of equipment and gear to deliver the finest-quality photographs possible to ensure your creative vision comes to life.

There are a lot of ways to save money on a project, but skimping on professional photography should not be one of them. Don’t leave your photography to chance. Invest in a professional.

One last word; A photography professional is not a Graphic Designer, Web Designer or Coder. These are very different jobs and careers with very different training. Hiring one person to handle all these tasks or projects most likely means hiring someone who has not dedicated there time perfecting one thing. Not to say these over-achievers don’t exists it’s just that in the long run they won’t have the time needed to dedicate themselves to achieving optimal results for your photographic needs.  


Know the difference between editing and retouching

DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EDITING AND RETOUCHING?

The terms ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ are used quite often in the photography world. To me, traditionally they mean vastly different things. Some photographers these days use them meaning the same thing, which can be very confusing to a client or job seeker. I’d like to explain what I personally mean by ‘editing’ and what I mean by ‘retouching’.  I hope that after reading this you will have a better understanding of what the terms can mean or at least mean to me so that you know what questions to ask when booking a photographer or answering a job post. When a photographer says to you they can deliver 150 edited or retouched photo’s, what are they exactly saying ? In addition to being a photographer I am a freelance retoucher. To me, retouching 150 photo’s means many many long hours of work. Here’s my take…

EDITING

I edit every job and photo that I send to a client. To be specific, I correct for lighting/exposure and color temperature, crop the image if necessary, as well as adding my own ‘signature’ touches to the images. This can take as little as a few seconds or several minutes. However, when factoring in the number of images in a job this can take hours.

Before this all can take place the first step in the process needs to be completed. This is where editing down or ‘culling’ the images takes place. This is the process by which all images on a job are reviewed. All unwanted or undesirable photos are completely eliminated. Typically, not all photos are deliverable. Additionally, your client may have certain needs or there may be contractual limits on the number of photos being delivered. What ever the reason this initial ‘edit’ should always take place. This part in particular is what to me is ‘Editing’…

Together these two steps and these two steps alone are the editing process. 

RETOUCHING

For me, retouching is a separate thing. Basic retouching begins with things like removing blemishes, brightening teeth, addressing fly away hairs or working on someones facials lines. Once again, this all is in collaboration with each clients specific needs. One may have a personal style but it really comes down to the client and no one system or method works for all subjects. This basic retouching can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an 1 hr per photo. 

Enter extensive retouching. At the very least this means things like removing a person from an image, compositing, removing unwanted items or completely changing the background of an image. It can also mean more extensive basic retouching work or heavily wrinkled clothes. 

Retouching can take many hours of work. 

IN CONCLUSION

Every photographer’s definition of ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ can mean different things. What is important is to be sure that you understand what your photographer will be delivering to you and what they mean. After all, your the paying customer. Hopefully, this post has given you a basis to start your discussion with your photographer. It should also give you a better understanding of the shoot itself. Contrary to what many believe a photoshoot is much more then just showing up and shooting. A lot more time and effort goes on behind the scenes then people know. I am always very clear in my communication with clients. Clients should know what to expect and what they are paying for. If you have any questions about this topic, please leave them in the comments section! 




Stop with the hand on the hip pose!

Ladies, for crying out loud stop putting your hands on your
hips! Especially when you’re out with friends taking group photo’s, or a solo
shot. I feel like this post is 5 yrs late!

Like a wild fire in the Santa Ana winds it has spread
everywhere. You know what I’m talking about. You see it on Facebook, Instagram,
Twitter and just about every Phi Delta something sorority photo out there. I’m
not sure when this started but if you look back to pictures taken in the 90’s
you won’t find this pose. I’d be willing to bet that most women who do this
have become so accustomed to it that it’s in every single picture they take. It’s
like a reflex. Is that how you want to look back on all those photo’s years
from now? I see it all the time. Whether it’s taking a cell phone picture or
working with a client it’s the first thing they do.  

I hate to tell you ladies but putting your hands on your hip
when posing can be down right ridiculous looking and in addition to making you
look snobby can make you look insecure or bitchy. Of course there are
exceptions but for the most part it’s true. If you’re not a super model walking
the runway a celebrity or actress showing off a gown at a red carpet event
don’t do it. You’re not Kendall Jenner posing for the paparazzi. Ask yourself
the next time you see this does this look natural? Does it show the person off
in the best possible way? I think more often then not the answer will be no. 

When Kendall Jenner or some celebrity are posing with friends, family or taking selfies you won’t see this pose. Most women are under the
impression that the hand-on-the-hip pose accentuates the figure, makes one look
skinnier and is a feminine pose. First of all, it does not and is not.
Secondly, what happened to being yourself instead of conforming to what everyone else thinks is a popular pose? Why must all photos look identical when each person
in them is so inherently different?

So what makes a good pose? Let’s start with just simply
being you and smiling. Get the idea of putting your hand on your hip out of
your head. Get the thought of “does this pose make me look fat (or skinny) out
of your head”. Again, be yourself. Let your personality come through. Here are
a few tips that might make you look better in a pose. Keep one or two in mind during
your next night out with friends or at your next event but remember it’s all
about looking natural and being you. On the bottom of the page you’ll see some fun examples. 

1. Try turning your body on a slight angle away from
the camera and put your weight on your back foot. Turn your head towards the
camera. It’s ok to turn your head at a slight angle too but don’t do the
peak-a-boo with the eye furthest from the camera. You have two eyes. They both
should be visible in the picture. Use good posture, don’t slouch.

2. Casually cross your ankles. Not the I have to pee stance. Gently, casually. 

3.  Don’t always follow the group. Try turning
the opposite direction as the person next to you. Lean into them a little. Get
cozy.

4.  Don’t force a smile, don’t fake it. Try your
best to smile naturaly. You don’t always need to give a big toothy smile
either. A confident grin goes a long long way and can be extremely attractive. Don’t
be so serious, laugh if you want to. It shows what a good time your having.

5. Put a hand in a jacket pocket, clutch
your bag or cross one arm over your body creating a 90 degree angle and place
that hand on the other arm. Bring your hands together in front of you. If hanging your arms keep your palms turned in towards you. 

6. Don’t be afraid to touch someone, give a
friend a hug or just turn towards them and put a hand on their shoulder. Are
you having fun? Make it look that way.

7. Repeat….make it look natural, be you, be
original and stop putting your hands on your hips!

Note: If you feel a need to hide any
imperfections or access body fat on your arms don’t press your arm against your body. Try bending your arms (or front arm) only slightly and away from your body so
it’s not pressing against your body. 

If your worried about any under the chin
issues you think you might have try pressing your tongue on the roof of your
mouth when smiling and push your chin ‘slightly’ towards the camera. Pressing
your tongue on the roof of your mouth tightens the muscles under your chin. 

photos courtesy getty images via Style Caster: 

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