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Why You Should Have a Pro Photographer and Not a Fauxtographer

Once upon a time, if you were getting married, needed a family portrait, or some manner of event documented it was easy to tell if a photographer was a true professional and not just a weekend hobbiest. Using film was difficult, expensive, and left little margin for error. To find paying customers one had to pay for advertising, location and overhead. To be a professional photographer took time, training, and investment. Because of these factors the number of people making their way in the world making a living at photography was low.

Beginning in about 2005 things begun to change. Until that time professional digital photography equipment was expensive. At $2,000 and up for a camera alone only those serious about it would make a go at being a pro. Little by little the entry cost for photography started to drop. Better computers and new software allowed for a greater level of image editing. Low priced, simple websites, and Facebook fan pages made it to get easy to tell the world. Then, after the great financial collapse in 2008, countless unemployed, looked around, saw that they owned a camera, and decided that they were a professional photographer.

Now, you might be saying “who cares so long as they take good pictures?” Good question. Here are a few reasons why it does matter:

Digital has caused it to be possible to have forget about expense. If you take 1000 pictures as opposed to 36 teh cost is the same. Inexperienced photographers will most likely take the ‘spray and pray’ strategy. Out of a few hundred pictures they will often find a way to get a few good ones. Obviously, these are the only ones that they can display on their web site. That’s fine for a picture of the kids. What if it’s your wedding day?

How do you know if you have a professional? Answer, ask to see an entire shoot. Not only the cherry picked profile pictures. A genuine professional will not have a problem with this demand. If image quality is inconsistent, keep shopping for a photographer.

Unfortunately, not everyone is honest. The Internet has made it possible for photographers to share and show off their work on a global scale. It has also made it possible for people to steal their images and pass them off on a global scale. There have been cases of entire websites, about me pages, and portfolios that have been copied and passed of as their own work. Unsuspecting customers only find out after it is too late that the photographer they hired wasn’t capable of producing the same level of work as advertised.

So how do you know if you have a pro? Answer, ask to see a printed portfolio before committing to paying your hard earned money. While it is easy to steal images off of the web that will show up fine on a site or email, those files aren’t going to make a decent print. If they can’t show you a good quality enlargement, move on.

Emergencies. Many starting photographers may have one camera. Perhaps a handful of lenses. Their equipment inventory tends to be light. Rarely will they’ve any type of equipment or liability insurance. Frequently they’ll be working with no business license or pay taxes. Why does of that matter? In my two decades as a photographer I can’t let you know just how many times I’ve had my main camera, lens, flash, memory, and such fail. Each time I merely changed to my backup and kept working. Had I just one Imagine what would happen? Because I have insurance, losing a camera due to theft or destruction, or the responsibility of a light stand falling on mother, or the tax man turning up at my studio won’t put me out of business. Without these protections they would. Now, suppose you’ve previously paid a deposit and your wedding photographer and their bankrupt?

How do you know you have a pro? Answer, ask to see a business license. Ask if they have back up equipment. Ask if they have insurance. Ask if they have a contingency plan if they are sick or injured. Finally, get it in writing. I always sign a contract with my clients. It protects them as much as me. A real pro won’t have a problem with this.

I’m not against people learning photography and becoming a professional. I learned, practiced, and honed my craft for a long time before charging people money. Ultimately, poor photographers passing themselves off as a professional makes it harder for competent photographers to remain in business and make money. That’s never a good thing.

If you would like to become a pro photographer or just improve your family photos click here to Learn more about photography and view some wonderful photography by photographer Tommy Daspit.

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