Why should I pay for professional photography? 6 Reasons for hiring a professional
Question: Why should I pay for professional photography when a cell phone image would suffice for social media?
1. Cell phones have limitations. As tempting as it is to pull out a cell phone, it still has its limitations. If you downloaded a cell phone image to your computer and put it into Adobe Photoshop, you would see that the image looks like a watercolor when you try to zoom in to see details. A lot of sharp detail is missing, unless you were really close to your subject. I run on trails 3 days a week and so many times I’ve tried to take a cell phone picture of something gorgeous in front of me, only to feel crushed by the lack of detail in the image.
This closeup detail of spores is from the same image of the fern frond that I captured with my camera.
This cell phone image I took of phlox and clover flowers is gorgeous, but I can't print it out beyond an 8x10 size. It just loses too much detail, which you can see in the closeup. I'm still kicking myself for not taking this image with my camera!
2. It's difficult to retouch cell phone images. Because so much detail is lost with a cell phone, it can make it difficult to retouch imperfections. Most of the time when I’m fixing imperfections in an image, I’m using the rubber stamp tool in Adobe Photoshop. If it’s a photograph taken with my camera, there’s a much higher pixel count and more detail to work with, so there’s a lot more real estate to copy and paste from than there is in a cell phone image. If you tried this with a cell phone image, you would probably wind up with a repeating pattern of pixels very quickly because there wouldn’t be as many pixels you can use.
3. You can't color match a product with a cell phone. Maybe this exists out there, but I’ve also never seen a way to perfectly match the color in a cell phone image to the actual color of a product. Have you ever ordered a piece of clothing and when it came it didn’t match the color on your screen and you were disappointed in it? Color matters!
4. A professional photographer can convey messages through imagery. A professional photographer knows how to use a camera and an array of both technical and artistic techniques to produce images that catch the eye of your client, tell your story, support your brand and your message, and the feelings you want to convey, including:
a. How to use harsh or soft lighting to convey mood and enhance or hide features of a person or product.
b. They know how to use shutter speed to convey motion through blur, or how to freeze motion to make a moving subject tack-sharp. Likewise, a professional photographer knows how to use aperture to soften the background behind a subject or capture more detail. A cell phone does not give you control over the shutter speed or aperture, taking away creative control.
c. A professional photographer knows how to use rules of composition to creatively frame the subject of an image and navigate the viewer’s eye inside the photograph.
d. A professional photographer knows how to make the colors in a photograph match the actual product so that the client is satisfied with the color when they receive it in the mail.
e. A professional photographer knows how to add or remove distortion in a photograph.
A long exposure photograph (slow shutter time) of water flowing under a pier gives a soft mood to this warm, peaceful photograph.
5. A professional photographer understands how to take high-quality images. A professional photographer has spent thousands of dollars buying equipment that can help control light and capture a high-quality image, and they’ve spent countless hours learning how to use that equipment, to pose people in a way that will be flattering, to edit the images to make them their best, and to compose the image in a way that will stop the viewer in their tracks. Maybe you can’t pinpoint what it is that makes an image good, but you know it when you see it. It’s like going to your favorite restaurant for your birthday. You have no idea what they did to make the food so good, but it’s a pleasure to eat it.
6. A professional photographer will know how to support your brand through their imagery.
For example, when I’m working with id8 Agency and I’m photographing an event in their office, I process the images in a way that there is pure white in the image, there’s black in the image, and there are bright, saturated colors throughout, because it will match id8’s Instagram feed and vibe. id8 consistently uses bright colors on their website and office walls, in their branding, and in the packaging they design.
On the other hand, I have a client named Rosse who is a therapist building her own website. She wanted soft imagery that denotes peace, tranquility, happiness, and healing with predominantly blue and green colors that matched her website in black, white, blue, and green tones.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then why not make them the best words you could use? The bottom line is that a photographer is an artist at heart who knows the best techniques to present your story, your company culture, your brand, your message, the details of your product, and your why to your clients in a beautiful way.