It is so easy to give the industry of photographers much less credit than deserved. Tell me if this isn’t you, because it certainly used to be me: “They buy a nice camera. They spend a few hours taking some shots. They put them on a disc and they send them to me. What am I paying for?”
What makes a professional?
A professional photographer has quite a difference in running a reputable, reliable, consistent, and dependable business with which to preserve your family memories versus a neighbor or friend who has purchased an SLR camera (the type of camera that has interchangeable lenses) or even vs. someone that has put up a website and given their photographing a business name. Take a look at this document I put together of some of the things it takes to run a professional photography business.
A photography business is much more than photographing:
Running a business requires much more than learning how to use a camera or pose a subject. As you can see, there is much to be learned by way of business building, accounting, legal issues, insurance, and customer service. And this list doesn’t even account for the time and investment spent in marketing and social media in order to get a client’s business in the first place.
Besides doing a good job at taking photos, a photographer must learn to run a business in a real, reputable way. One example: What would happen if a member of your family passed away and you went back to your photographer a few years later, desperately wanting more prints of the image he or she took, and they no longer had them because of failure to do what a professional makes sure to do? In contrast, what would it mean to you to be able get a copy of those precious pictures, even order several? Now how happy are you that you invested in a professional? And this is nothing to say for the high-quality and beautiful capture of the images they provided for you originally because you valued hiring a professional.
With all this effort, time, and expense, you can see that when a photography business sticks around, it is because they are truly passionate. They truly want to provide for you irreplaceable treasures that are priceless.
The advice I’d give to my best friend:
The best advice I can give to a complete stranger or my best friend is this: Make the commitment to set aside money for professional, high-quality photography throughout your life.
When the wedding candles have all melted, when the cake is all gone, the only thing you will have to remember all you did to make that day so beautiful are the photos that were taken in the level of quality you paid for. What kind of photographer did you choose? To what category did your wedding budget lean?
When your children are grown, and your loved ones and gone, it’s not the designer handbags or brand name shoes your kids will fight to have passed on. It’s not the endless dinners out or the latest styles or trends your children will be thanking you for providing for them once they experience adulthood themselves. In fact, those will probably not matter to them for longer than a few months.
When all is said and done, the heirlooms your children will treasure and plead for are the images of you.
Likely it will be the images that were professionally handled, taken, and created that will stand the test of time and that your children will most want to make theirs.
Professional photography is the best investment you can make. It is an investment in creating the heirlooms you will pass on to your children. It is an investment in captured memories that will only appreciate with time.
With cheers to all your memory making, and a hug to those who capture it…Candice