Monday, October 25, 2010


In my opinion there are 3 types of photographers.
There are those who are hobbyists, they shoot with a point and shoot or a nice DSLR, but never learn what all the settings are for, they just stick it in auto and click away...these are parents, aunts and uncles for the most part that just want pictures for the family photo album. They dont charge for their images because they do it for fun and there is no implied level of quality expected.

Then there are the Amateur Professionals. These are hobbyists that have picked up a couple lenses and maybe a flash and started doing there own family pictures instead of going to the local discount store portrait studio. They still dont really understand how the camera works and shoot in auto mode or one of the pre set modes on their camera, i.e. portrait, night scene, sports mode, etc...They dont understand lighting and use direct flash. They dont use modifiers or bounce the flash to get softer pleasing looking light.
Somewhere along the way these amateur professionals  were told by family and friends that there pictures are fantastic and they should look into doing photography for a living. So they go out and buy Photoshop or some other editing program and start charging for pictures. They use all kinds of different editing tricks to make their pictures look good, like vignettes, blurs, selective coloring or a host of other tricks. While these tricks may look nice, all they do is keep the clients from noticing the important things like exposure, focusing and composition.
The truth is if you follow simple guidelines like using leading lines, the rules of thirds and avoid cutting limbs off at joints you dont need all the fancy editing done to your pictures.
The last type of photographer is the professional photographer. These are the people who have either went to school or have a lot of time and energy invested in learning how to use a camera. They would never be caught dead shooting in auto mode or with the pop up flash on a paid shoot. They understand composure and lighting and the importance of off camera flash, They know what light modifiers to use and how to use them. They know how to pose you to get the most flattering looks and know how to make you look your best.
There pics are consistent in look from one to another. There isnt a lot of editing done to their pictures because they are good without the editing tricks. The images you receive from a professional are going to be sharp and in focus and will preserve your memories for a lifetime.
While it may cost you  more to hire a true professional versus the amateur professional, the images you get from a  professional will far exceed those you get from the amateur professional.
But what it all comes down to is they are your memories. If you want to trust those to a amateur professional and take the chance that you will have images that are out of focus or are heavily edited to make them look good, that is your choice.
My choice would be to trust a true professional. I dont know about you but I would like to look at a picture 30 years from now and know who the person I am looking at is instead of looking at a out of focus blur that could be uncle Bill or his dog Rex. Wait maybe thats aunt Linda.

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