Should I get a professional family photographer?
With today’s technology, it’s a question many people have- why pay for a professional photographer when I have my own, perfectly good camera? Or better yet, I have the latest phone with an awesome camera that can take all the photos I could possibly want?
Or does it?
It’s true, the latest phones have truly awesome cameras. I know, I have upgraded phones in the past for the camera. Because I love capturing memories of my friends and family.
But I also have a Nikon DSLR with several lens’. Because I love capturing memories of my friends and family.
Each piece of technology serves for me a similar, but also very different purpose. Because there are strengths and weaknesses with both.
Let’s start with my phone.
My phone is great. The camera is great, and it takes great photos of my family as we go about our day to day lives. In the course of our everyday life, and our more interesting adventures, I have captured with my phone camera some truly wonderful images that will be part of my family memories for years to come. These photos bring back memories and often make me laugh.
It’s also quick to pull out, lightweight to carry (particularly as I take it everywhere anyway), and I get to keep all those images with me, to take out and reminisce over easily whenever I want. But the other fantastic thing about the phone is it is so intuitive. It picks up on lighting and focus so quickly and easily, making it the perfect option most of the time when we are out and about, on the run, or doing things one handed.
It does a great job.
But it doesn’t do everything. It doesn’t have the clarity that a full camera does. And it doesn’t have all the features, to adjust shutter speed (making the photo lighter), or aperture (changing what is in focus), and many other things, like a DSLR.
So while I use my phone’s camera a lot, and I mean A LOT, it doesn’t fulfil all my needs and so I don’t use it for everything.
That’s where my DSLR comes in.
Let’s face it, compared to the phone, its big, heavy and far more complicated. Point and shoot on a DSLR auto mode is also often going to get you a photo far less impressive than point and shoot on the latest phone.
Using my DSLR though I can take stunning, vibrant, clear photos. The kind I’ll enlarge and display in my home. Or in a photobook to mark my baby’s first year of life. (and probably every year after that) The kind I use as the front screen of my phone, or on a birthday invite or a Christmas letter. They will be in my photo frames for years, probably decades. They are often milestone photos, and these are the photos that make me feel good inside.
Those are things I probably won’t do with the photos I have from my phone.
What does that mean for someone thinking about getting professional photos?
As a photographer, clearly I am going to say just do it, get professional photos. I say that for a couple of reasons. I say that so you too can have those gorgeous, clear, high definition photos that you can enlarge and put on your wall, or send to your family (aka grandparents) to put in frames. So you can have photos that will go beyond your phone, that a photographer has carefully laid out and lighted so your baby or family shine. Photos that will be cherished and looked back on as the moments and milestones of you and your families life.
But in my mind there is one final reason. There’s a good chance you are asking this question because you are your family’s photographer, like me. And because you love the memories that you capture, or you want to capture of your family. I love taking photos of my immediate and extended family and friends. Photos they cherish and love. But. They are photos that, as the photographer, I am not in.
A professional photographer can capture perfectly something that you can’t. Memories of your family with YOU!
So I say do it, take the plunge and get some photos taken of your little one/s and/or your family. Do some research on different photographers ‘look and feel’, and pricing. Or pricing structures.
These days, a lot of photographers structure their pricing by having a charge for the artistic talents of the photographer (the photo shoot itself), and then charge separately for each individual image (different prices for digital copies or prints/canvas/photobooks etc). There are other photographers who charge a fixed price for the shoot and a certain number of images (in digital copy). Check out my pricing here.
If this is your first time using a professional photographer, my recommendation is to use the latter, get an experience of getting professional photos knowing what your total investment is upfront. And get a feel for how you are going to use those photos in your life. When you come to another milestone or moment you want to photograph, you’ll have a better idea of what you want out of your professional photos and what you want to do with them, so can be more prepared for a more structured or free form photography option.