What Should You Expect From A Professional Photographer

September 22, 2015

I hope everyone enjoyed my last blog - a "tongue in cheek" comment on the subject of "Push My Button". Possibly your question now is - just what is it that a pro photographer actually contributes to image making? Let me start by saying, the irony is that in a world where everyone carries a smart phone camera and images are being snapped by countless millions - a brilliant professional photograph is more important than ever! Why? Because most people's first impression of a business or person is via an image. If you want to impress, you need your image to be the best and most striking it can be. This is what a pro photographer is all about - making quality and relevant images that tell your story instantly with visual impact. An average image won't cut it. A bad image can really do harm.

How Does A Professional Photographer Contribute

To begin with a professional will guide you through the preparation before a shoot. This step is often over-looked or under-rated. Experienced qualified professionals will have the knowledge, skills and training to help you work out exactly what the message is you want your image to convey and help you pre-visualise it.

Every nuance of a photograph can be important; choice of colours, background, style, centre of focus, composition and of course lighting is critical. For people; expression pose/body language, clothes, grooming, etc. For Architecture; site preparation, composition, features, sun angles, weather etc.. The factors are numerous and sometimes complex. All these subtle messages need to combine in a seamless fashion to create a striking visual representation of your intended story. Just as importantly, we need to be sure you don't send the wrong message or leave the viewer confused. Thus, much of a photographer's work is in the pre-shoot planning. Environmenatal Impact ImagePersonal Work - The EnvironmentThis image has impact and sends a clear message - a warning on the damage we do to our planet. The patch of blue sky is there as a message of hope... it is not too late to change our ways

The real skill is in the photographer's head and creative ability - the technical tools (camera etc.) are secondary. A skilled photographer can often make a great image with simple devices but naturally, professional cameras, lenses and lighting are additional tools which expand the creative options and quality output of the skilled photographer. Put another way, a professional photographer using a camera phone will still create stunning images but put a pro camera into the hands of the average person probably means they will still take average photos. The camera doesn't make the image - the photographer does.

An experienced and trained professional will have many years of education and practise in making fine images. We study all the technical stuff like how cameras and lenses work. We know about light theory, colour spectrum, diffraction, diffusion, reflection, dynamic range, chromatic aberration, lens distortions, perspectives, how digital sensors work, digital file types and their uses, colour gamuts, colour theory, printing options and techniques.... and I could go on for pages. However, we are also trained in art and art styles and history. We have studied composition and lighting styles. We have training in how to create and control lighting from all sources be it natural light through to studio equipment. We are proficient in post production techniques. Personally, when starting out, I spent 4 years in formal photographic education and I am constantly continuing that education throughout my career - not to mention the practise and experience I gain daily. Why do some people think the camera now does it all?

To summarise, a professional photographer has the skills, training and education, coupled with a creative flair, to assist their clients through the whole process of making relevant images designed to deliver the client's core message in images with positive visual impact. If you trust this vital duty to someone less skilled, you have to ask yourself if this represents good value for money.

For an alternative view from my professional association go to AIPP Why Use A Professional

Although you found me, my next blog will be about How to Find A Professional Photographer - not as easy as you think and prudent people will want to make comparisons.