Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ten Things You May Not Realize About Professional Photography

I've fallen behind in my posting lately, but my focus has been elsewhere. :-)  In front of the camera to be more exact.  I recently celebrated my second anniversary in business, and  over the past year, I have learned that there are quite a few misconceptions about photography and photographers, and I thought I'd list my current Top 10.

  1. It's not all about the gear.  Don't get me wrong, professional gear is designed to capture the best images possible, and does help with creating a quality product and print.  But if you don't know how to use it, and how to pose the people in front of it, or you leave your camera on Auto all of the time, all of the latest gear in the world isn't going to help you capture great images.  At the end of the day it's the person behind the camera that makes the difference.
  2. Some studio photographers are just paid to push a button!  Did you know that quite a few of the Mall and Chain Studio photographers aren't allowed to change the settings on the camera?  True Story! The settings, distance, lighting, and poses are all pre-set beforehand.  I learned this recently, and was quite surprised.  Most of these studios don't require any special training to use the equipment, instead all of their training is focused getting people in and out quickly, and selling as many packages as possible. 
  3. Consumer Print Labs aren't always consistent or archival.  If you want your photos to look their best and last a lifetime, ask your photographer to print the photos with their professional print lab.  Be sure to do your research, as you could still find your photographer picking up your prints at your local discount warehouse store. And their "too good to be true" print price, probably was just that.
  4. Hobby Photographers are a bargain for a reason.  Taxes, business licences, and overhead usually mean your photographer is in this for the long haul.  Yes, their prices reflect this, but they're also usually there for you a year down the line when you want to capture more photos, or want something reprinted for Great Gram.  If the hobbyist is still around, their prices have likely raised to reflect their actual cost of doing business.
  5. Digital is cheap.  Not necessarily, I just spent another $400 on back-up equipment to store my client's files, and I have a redundant system in case something happens to one of the hard drives.  The editing software used to "Develop" the RAW files is also a cost many don't consider.   While it seems in theory that all one need to do is "snap a picture and burn it to CD". Editing, storing, and printing these images is actually rather time consuming and can get expensive quick.  Not to mention most professional lenses are about $1,000 or more each! There's actually a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to create your images than you may realize.
  6. The photos on their Website aren't always theirs.  This is a new one but has happened more often than I realized.  New photographers "save" images from the websites of photographers they like, and then put them on their website as "representations" of what they can do!  The other time this happens is a little less sneaky. Many larger photo studios have multiple photographers working for them, so if you see an image or style you like, ask which photographer in the studio took it, so you're sure to get the person who captured the look you're going for.
  7. A good photographer is always learning.  Fashion, styles, technology and products are changing constantly, and a good photographer evolves with the market.  From classes, to magazines and books, your photographer is likely spending a good deal of their time (and budget) behind the scenes preparing for your session.  In today's market, albums aren't just for weddings, and prints are making a huge comeback, as customers are tired of loosing their images on the "cloud" and want something tangible. Another interesting "development" is that 5x7's and 8x10 sized images are falling away to custom sized prints and products! 
  8. Your files aren't always safe on the cloud. (or your hard-drive, or USB, or SD Card)  It's easy to loose data, or have the technology expire. Will your children have access to the passwords and information you've lovingly stored on the cloud or on your phone?  Or will those images be lost in a hard-drive crash, data breach, or technology update?  Printed images are often the only things that get passed down to future generations.
  9. Cookies aren't currency.  While some photographers may work in exchange for cookies, or trade for services, they can't do it all of the time! (and stay in business)  Trading and bartering is great, but it must be something of value to both parties.   
  10. We might not be the best person for the job. Our goal is to make you look and feel beautiful, but we need your help.  If you have a style you like, or a certain look you are going for let us know.  A good photographer will tell you if this is something they can do, and if not they can often refer you to someone that can. Some photographers specialize in one area, or they may have a personality trait that clashes with your family.  Finding a photographer that you feel comfortable with is just as important as the images you wish to capture.  
And there you have it, my current top Ten, I hope this helped you start thinking about questions to ask your photographer before booking a session.  As well as start thinking about getting some of your favorite pictures off the "cloud" and in print form!