Why should you use a professional photographer?

March 15th, 2018
LinkedIn and other profile headshots are important to give a professional imageLinkedIn and other profile headshots are important to give a professional image

What defines a professional?

Wedding photography should be eye poppingWedding photography should be eye popping

I believe a man is a professional when he can do what needs to be done no matter how he feels within. An amateur is an amateur in his attitude emotionally. A professional is an professional in the way he thinks and feels and in his ability to execute under the most trying conditions. – Cus D’Amato boxing trainer to Mike Tyson

A professional person is someone who earns money from their profession. This is it in very simplistic terms, but being an actual professional is much more than that. Sometimes things can go wrong and it is having the ability to deal with these issues and continue doing the job you're doing that separates you from being just an amateur.

As a professional photographer it is important for me to understand what the customer wants as they are essentially paying my fees. It is expected for me to turn up on time to a job, be presentable, have a crib sheet or email or document which lays out the job at hand and to fulfill that job in its entirety. Alas sometimes to counter traffic and other eventualities, it takes extra preparation which the client does not see. If it is a wedding I am covering, then a rudimentary visit to the venue, a chat to the vicar (if it's a church) and forming relationships with key people prior to the wedding is paramount to the successful and hassle free photographs being taken without any hitches (pardon the pun)

From my own perspective as a business owner, my reputation is important and how I conduct myself before, during and after photographing any event is what people will remember as well as the photographs. The problems I hear about from customers who have found a random photographer on the likes of Facebook or Gumtree and have decided on the basis of price alone are quite a few. This article aims to educate potential clients on why a professional photographer should be the only choice for professional imagery of any kind, be it weddings, portraits, commercial and products.

Let's take a look at a checklist on how to hire a professional photographer to avoid disappointment:

  • For a wedding if you were to cut corners with the cake then nobody would notice. However people will see your photographs forever. What you are paying for is the experience of your wedding photographer to carry out the job and understand the light conditions. A wedding photographer should understand and observe situations which are appropriate to photograph. You would not expect or want them to take photos that could be misconstrued. Are they a professional and epitomise that word?

  • A photograph is by definition a painting made with light. It is very important for any photographer to understand how to use their equipment and choose the appropriate lens required for the type of job. This point overlaps the point on experience and how a professional will move to get the best shots on the day

  • Cheap does not necessarily mean bad quality. However if a photographer is too cheap you have to question how good a job they can and will actually do and whether you will be happy with the end result

  • Any good photographer will have a website and social media pages and/or accounts where you will see photographs of previous work. This can be a good estimation of their quality of work and experience

  • A good professional photographer will be covered by insurance, this should cover both professional liability (should something happen such as an accident) and professional indemnity (such as in the case of equipment failure or corruption of data cards or drives and loss of images). If they aren't insured that should serve as a big red flag and alarm bells

  • A professional photographer needs to 'fit' with your vision. Not every photographer has the same style so make sure to choose one based on the style that you want to show. Don't be scared to ask to see examples of work

  • Any photographer will have contact details that can be checked. If they have not then you need to ask how safely the transaction you are making will go. There are unscrupulous people in all industries so please be careful

  • Does your photographer understand your requirements and can they explain your vision in terms of how they will achieve it? It doesn't need to be technical but you do need to see if you're on the same level with your potential photographer

  • Look at how a professional photographer conducts themselves. Do they take pride in their brand, badging and corporate perception? Look at the way they present stationary and business cards. Do they issue a formal sales invoice or just a piece of scrawl on a bit of paper?

  • Recommendations serve to reinforce whether you should hire someone. Do they have someone who can vouch for how good they are? Has someone you know used them before and can tell you what they are like to deal with?

People buy from people so make sure your professional photographer is someone who you gel with rather than clash

Whether you are organising a wedding or corporate event or even looking at getting photos taken for your LinkedIn profile. Please don't skimp on the photography. Look at it as a means to an investment to getting eye popping photography and being able to look through the images and feeling proud about your decision. Don't be afraid to ask whether they have any movement on price points, but then again don't be so unrealistic to make it unworkable