I hear it often, “Wow you have a great camera! It must take great photos!” To a photographer this is a bit of a double edged sword. I try to take it as a compliment, because I do think I have a pretty great camera, and I’ve worked really hard to be able to have it. It’s an amazing tool to help me make beautiful photographs. Many photographers take this statement as, “Wow you just push a couple of buttons, and the camera does everything.” When in fact that isn’t true, and probably not what the person meant at all. So, I wanted to make a blog post today – to show the difference in snapping a cell phone shot, and actually setting up a photograph with pro gear and a plan. Another thing I hear sometimes is, “People don’t need photographers anymore. Everyone can take photos with their phones and print them easily themselves.” And while people totally CAN do these things, I want to explain why hiring a professional can make an AMAZING difference in your photographs.
I take loads of photos of my own children. I want to document them growing, as they seem to do it at an incredible pace. One evening the light was beautiful in my backyard, and I convinced my oldest to let me get out all of the gear. Lighting, lenses…. the whole nine. To illustrate the difference in what you can get between a cell phone and pro gear, I shot a photo with my phone too. Same subject, same location, same time, same outfit, same photographer even. You can see my two photos posted above, cell phone on the left – pro gear on the right. The one on the left is fine. I still think my kiddo looks pretty cute, but hey – I’m biased. The light is fair in the photo, and her face is in shadow, when in reality the back lighting on her was pretty amazing. You can see my sprinkler heads and random patches in the grass (Sorry Eric!). While I love having my cell phone to document every day fun stuff (especially when taking my camera isn’t an option) it just doesn’t replace professional photos. The lens is very wide. There is no option to add external lighting. If you have ever seen a really beautiful moment, and tried to capture it with your cell phone, and the results were just meh…. you understand.
In the photo on the right – I made choices to get exactly that shot. I chose a long lens – with a wide aperture – so the background would be soft and out of focus, therefore putting the focus on Jenna. I zoomed in on her, so she would fill the frame better. You don’t see the sprinklers and other distractions. The back light gives her that pretty soft glow, and my off camera flash adds the proper amount of light to her face, so it isn’t too dark. It also gives her the “catch lights” or little sparkles in her eyes when you look at the photo. If I’m going to pick a photo to print for my wall – it’s definitely going to be the photo on the right. Pro gear does make a big difference in photo quality, but the most important part of the equation is the talent of the photographer making those choices. Any camera can take crummy photos, if you don’t know how to set it!
As a professional, I’m thinking about all of these things before I ever press the shutter button. The lighting, composition, and exposure – do not set themselves – I have to make those choices. When you hire a professional, they are putting you in your best light, with the best angles, using flattering lenses and poses. It makes a HUGE difference. Trust me. And of course, not many people have professionals following them around all of the time, documenting their lives – hiring a professional for some really amazing photos of you and your family from time to time – really IS WORTH IT!! Even photographers do it, because they want to get in the photos themselves, and they value the art that is a family portrait. Those portraits last long after we are gone, and are a legacy for generations. So, if you are thinking, well….. should I spend the money? Maybe I can just take a few photos myself? I did see some cute ideas on Pinterest….. go with the pro. You can find all levels and budgets of photographers out there. Find one with a style that you love and go for it! And a special note to my fellow moms out there –please get in some of those photos too. I know you are the ones taking all of the photos of your kids. No matter how you feel about your current self, seeing a gorgeous family photo (large and in print) is always a great thing. And trust me your kids think you are the most beautiful woman in the world. They want to remember you at this moment – just like you want to remember them!
If you need any help, please let me know! I’m here to make sure that you have beautiful memories of your family!