When to Hire a Pro: Five Cases when Amateur Photography Just Won’t Do
In the last few years, since camera phones have gotten better and digital SLRs are less expensive, friends have started asking me for advice about when they should hire a professional photographer. I’m not offended by this. In fact, I welcome the opportunity to explain why what I do—and what I love—really matters.
The truth is, there are plenty of times when you don’t need to hire someone like me. Amateur photos are easy to take, and sharing them on Instagram or Flickr is fun. But there really are times when you should consider going pro. Here are five of the most important.
2) Job Hunting
Obviously, you want to look your best when a potential employer checks out your LinkedIn profile or you need to submit a photo to an online freelance site. A professional portrait photographer will notice the little things that communicate competence—the set of your shoulders, for example. A pro will adjust your pose so you look energetic, as opposed to rigid or inflexible. She can get the right angle on your jawline so you appear decisive rather than angry. He can advise on your dress and help choose an appropriate background. These things make a difference, and you want to get hired, right?
2) Anything to be Printed or Used for a Business Website
Most amateur photos are low resolution, so will look grainy or pixilated when transferred to print for, say, your wedding invitations. Ditto for your business website. Composition matters too. Professional photographers have an eye for picture composition so that the right things are highlighted and extraneous details are omitted. No photo bombs, ever.
3) When It Will Never Happen Again
Speaking of weddings, you don’t want to take a chance on amateurs, even if Uncle Bill did just get that new Canon. A professional wedding photographer will scout all of your locations in advance and develop a picture plan. She’ll offer good suggestions for poses and situations that will make the album of your wedding (or anniversary or big birthday) distinctive. And she knows her equipment so well that she’ll never miss a moment while fumbling for the shutter or paging through the instruction book.
4) When the Light Will Be Tricky
A backyard party on a sunny day, a sing-along around the campfire, your daughter’s first dance recital—these are not easy to shoot. Party guests become silhouettes, the fire is a giant, bright blob in the middle of your pictures, the colored lights of the recital look grainy and gray. A professional has the right equipment and know-how to deal with challenging situations like these, and you’ll get the great photos you and your family deserve.
5) When You’re Selling Something Expensive…
like a house, a boat, your classic Corvette or all of that Waterford you inherited from dear Aunt Tillie (no relation to Uncle Bill in #3). Seriously, though, any realtor will tell you that the photos you post of a house online can make the difference between a quick sale and a languishing white elephant. The same holds true for objects made of glass or china, as well as items where it’s important to show the fine points—the boat’s fancy dashboard or the Corvette’s “Big Block” engine. A professional knows how to shoot detail so that your bank account will soon be a little—or maybe a lot—bigger.
Do you have questions or stories to tell about challenging photography situations?
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