Business

When you should hire a professional photographer

infographic of when you should have professional photography
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when you should hire a professional photographer

I’ve been really impressed with the combination of the iPhone ( I have the XS Max right now. ) paired with the Adobe LR CC ( Lightroom Creative Cloud, a mouthful, amiright?!) which has massively stepped up its game in 2019.

Here are some examples of pics I took with my iPhone and edited in LR CC over the past few months that have impressed me:

So, if most consumers have access to a solid camera in their pocket, the question is why would you hire a professional photographer?

I’ve had prospective clients wrestle and dance around this question and I’m going to take a stab at answering this in this post!

A quick little disclaimer – you know, because this is the internet. These are my own opinions, and if you disagree that’s ok. Again, it’s my opinion. You’re allowed to have your own opinion.

Why hire a professional photographer

A professional photographer should be someone that not only knows how to use a camera but also know the artistic elements of a photo:

  • they can see and know how to manipulate the light sources available to them
  • they can compose a photo using various compositional techniques (i.e. rules of thirds, negative space, leading lines, etc.)
  • understand body language or composition and how that translates as an image
  • coach clients into looking and feeling their best in front of a camera
  • have an understanding of color, i.e. complementary colors
  • knows how to edit photos, like using the Adobe LR CC or Classic, or other editing software.

 

Here’s an analogy

Owning the right tools is just one part of the puzzle. Let’s say you have a remodeling project, you would likely hire someone with more expertise than you even though you may own a lot of the same tools. You ultimately want their expertise and level of craftsmanship they’ve developed over the years. Those are what you’re paying for. The years of trial and error they’ve spent learning their craft. Hours and hours of learning and then putting that education to practice. You could do it yourself but you likely end up with many different results and much different time inputs.

If it’s something you don’t need a professional for and you’re perfectly fine with the photos that come out of your phone then you absolutely should do that. I’m never going to talk you into something you don’t need. However, I will say that if you’re running a business, I absolutely think you should have professional photos done.

There are a lot of choices out in the marketplace no matter what industry you’re in. If you’re trying to make a great first impression, you want quality photos on a quality website that will inform your potential clients on why they should hire you.

Photo examples:

Here are some photos of a recent outing to illustrate some of the points I made earlier. In the spirit of full transparency, the following photos are taken with a mirrorless camera and edited in LR Classic. While I maintain the iPhone does a good job, it does better in good lighting conditions (where there’s a lot of light of even light available) and the difference begins to show in harder lighting conditions (not as much light available and uneven light) like a dark church where the following photos were taken.

Bigger sensor = sharper details in difficult lighting situations.

Knowing how to use the available light in a scene

Because it’s that time of year, we’re going to use this Christmas Tree as an example. 100% of people I observed took photos with their iPhone took the shot on the left.

I didn’t love this angle. Instead, I moved 90 degrees and then took the shot on the right.

Why?

While the framing is better in the one to the left where the stained glass frames the tree nicely, there is also a super hot spot on the left of the tree that is super distracting. This is because your eye is always attracted to the brightest spot in the photo. The sun is distracting away from the subject, which is the Christmas tree. The picture on the right changes the way the sun is shining on the subject and instead of an intense spot of light distracting you from the subject, the light is bouncing off the concrete, which acts as a natural reflector, and bounces back more light on and around the tree. The brightest lights in the photo are on the tree, with the light coming through the window enhancing the subject instead of taking away from it.

Composition and color

Most people have seen pews before. I considered what would make a photo of pews more interesting. My answer to make any photo more interesting is almost always a different composition. Here I took a slightly different angle. I shot from the top down and tilted the camera at an angle.

The clean parallel lines are usually seen running straight across. But this variation gives a sense of movement across the photo. Your eye naturally follows the lines into the top right-hand corner of the photo.

The color red also carries the most visual weight or is something your eye naturally gravitates to in a scene. The red books at the top of the photo help guide your eye upwards as well.

Red is a warm color and blue is a cool color so the use of them together looks good as well.

Before and after editing

Editing a photo is just as important as shooting. There are so many ways you can edit something. I’m certain you can get lost in mind-blowing editing photos on YouTube.

Keeping with the same series or set of photos, here is a before and after edit. The dark pic on the left is of the RAW image, and the right is the after image. There’s more detail in the edited photo. The edited photo is straightened and framed slightly differently.

Conclusion

You don’t need professional photos for everything in life. For the most part, they’re a luxury item that you invest in. Professional photos are a common investment people make are for important life events like weddings. However, I would argue that starting a business is a pretty important life event as well.

You’re investing a lot of time, energy, and capital into a venture you want to be successful. Having great images that are more visually appealing than the ones you can take yourself can set you apart and draw the kind of attention you want from prospective clients. Also if you’re new to an industry, hiring an experienced professional can help you look out for things you didn’t consider before. You get the benefit of their experience and expertise to help guide you along the way.

Please let me know if I can help you take photos of your business or if you’d like me to do another post with the other bullet points I’ve made for hiring a photographer! I’d love to know your thoughts and help your business grow and shine!

Related Blogs:

Commercial photography for Oaktown Spice Shop

Personal Branding Session – Sacramento

Commercial Photography – Figs and Feathers Farm

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Confession:

I don't like having my photo taken. I naturally feel awkward having attention placed on me.

But most people don't find that they're naturally photogenic. That's part of the magic of professional photography!

As your photographer, I'm working for you by directing your body language, reading the light situation in the room, helping you pick a location, getting equipment set up to enhance outcomes, and editing your photos so you can look and feel your best. The end result is great photos you love and you feel pretty dang good about it!

I take it a step further and also show you how to use these photos effectively for your business, print them for your walls, or back them up for safekeeping in your personal files. 

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