Lets be real for a second – outside of a BuzzFeed photobomb article, there is really no need for a tree growing out of your child’s head in your family portrait. And there’s nothing worse than spotting a coffee cup in the shot once it’s too late to grab it (looking at you Game of Thrones…)
Its never been easier to whip a phone out of your pocket and snap a special moment, but there are some milestones in life that deserve a little bit of special treatment. Choosing the perfect professional photographer to capture the significant moments in your family’s life will be a priceless investment you can treasure for years and even generations to come.
1. HIGH QUALITY EQUIPMENT & KNOWLEDGE TO USE IT
Photography has come a very long way since the pinhole camera, but nothing has changed the game in quite the same way as the phone camera. Everyone has a camera in their pocket ready to snap a memory at any given moment, which is great in many ways – your baby isn’t going to hold off taking their first steps until you have time to get the DSLR out! In fact, a street photographer I met in Iceland told me, ‘the best camera is the one you have with you…’ and these words have stuck with me.
However, no matter how up-to-date your phone is, when it comes to the big milestones in your life, phone photos will not stand up to the quality produced from a professional camera. Phone photography definitely has its place for capturing happy snaps, and some of the results can even be very impressive. But sadly the quality of these photos means printing them will result in disappointment.
A professional photographer typically packs several cameras, many lenses and other gadgets to make sure they can capture the best images on even the stormiest of days, without ruining the ambiance with a distracting flash. The high megapixels of professional equipment means the photos you love can be blown up or printed without losing any of the quality, so they will be yours to enjoy in your home as well as on your screen.
2. EXPERIENCE & KNOWLEDGE
Just as a shed full of tools doesn’t instantly make you a skilled carpenter, unfortunately owning a flashy camera will not make you an instant pro photographer – no matter how many YouTube videos you watch. A trained photographer has worked hard to master their equipment, learning what works, what doesn’t and how to troubleshoot.
In the photography world, online courses and fast tracked training are everywhere, but in reality no one becomes a professional photographer overnight. Picking up a camera is really only the start of a long journey of training, patience and practice. It takes many years, many mistakes and many dollars for a photographer to get to a point where they can charge for their service, and it is this experience that you are paying for.
We also know the secret locations, have the connections and can help you organise the little things you might not have even thought of. If you need help getting in touch with a florist, a stylist or a makeup artist, just ask – we know people!
3. ATTENTION TO DETAIL
It may seem like a no-brainer to whip out a camera, point it at your subject and press the button – hey presto! But there is a lot more involved in taking mantelpiece-worthy images than meets the eye. Many amateurs focus only on the people in the shot, and forget to pay attention to what else is in the frame. Artistic elements such as composition, lighting, focus and background can make or break the image, and a professional photographer’s creative eye is trained to use these principles.
We also see things others miss. Our sharp eyes will spot the button in the wrong hole, or the cheeky dead pot plant that snuck into the shot, so there are no nasty surprises when you get your photos back. The quality results will be photos you want to show off in your home!
4. BEHIND THE SCENES
It’s no secret that almost every professional image you see has had some level of post-processing. Whether it is a slight tone adjustment, or entirely airbrushing something out, photographs straight out of the camera are rarely spared from a touch up here or there. If anything, this should make you feel a little better about not being able to replicate an Anne Geddes style newborn shoot at home.
If you’ve ever watched a photographer at work and thought, she’s not even using the flash, surely those photos aren’t going to work?! You might be forgetting about the hours of labour back at the computer editing the images to bring out their lustre.
When you invest in a professional photographer, the period of time you are with them is only a fraction of the total service. Behind the scenes, there are many hours spent cropping, adjusting the balance and correcting the colours using professional software. We have years of training and practice mastering the programs so we can really bring the images to life!
5. YOU WILL BE IN THE PHOTOS
I talked in my blog ‘4 Reasons to Print Your Photos in the Digital Age’, about my parents keeping piles of family photo albums when I was growing up. I am forever grateful that my childhood was documented so thoroughly, but looking back on them all, there is something missing in almost all the photos – Dad. He was always behind the camera instead of in front of it. When you work with a professional photographer, it means all family members have a chance to be in a beautiful image together.
If you’re anything like me and you’re normally behind the lens instead of in front of it, you’ll know it’s hard to hand your camera to someone else so you can finally be in the shot, and trust them to take the photo the way you want it. When you’re ready to put your trust into someone else to capture your cherished memories, make sure it’s a pro to avoid disappointment.
6. WE WILL SHOWCASE THE BEST OF YOU Sometimes the reason you find yourself holding a camera so often is to avoid ever having to be in any of the photos. If you’re self-conscious or feel like you never look good on camera, why not let a trained photographer take the reins and make you feel like a movie star!
Any photographer worth their salt is not happy unless you’re happy, so we go to great lengths to make sure everything about the shoot is perfect. We know the times of day to shoot so the golden light falls delicately on your face, we know which is your ‘good side’ and we know how you should sit to flatter your body. And if its not quite right, we’re patient perfectionists, so we are going to take the shot over and over again until its spot on.
Whilst its natural to be a little nervous working with a pro, its our job to get to know you and your family and make sure your true beauty shines through!
7. SQUIRMY KIDS, GRUMPY DADS & SHY MUMS
Taking photos for a living, I know first hand how uncomfortable being in front of the camera makes a lot of people, especially kids. Strange people around, having to sit still and that big ol’ camera pointing at them can bring on the tears very quickly. One skill that comes from years behind the camera is knowing how to help take the anxiety and tantrums out of the experience and ensure the end product is a set of relaxed, happy images.
A pro photographer has a number of tricks up their sleeve to make sure the day of the shoot is not only painless, but enjoyable for everyone. After all, a genuine smile is what we’re after – not ‘say cheese!’ A host of technical skills isn’t worth much if a photographer can’t engage with you.
As well as keeping kids entertained and bringing out those toothy grins, my top priority for photographing children is safety. When choosing a professional photographer to work with, look for the certification badge from The Academy of Newborn Photography to give you peace of mind that your little ones’ are in safe hands.
Deciding to invest your hard earned cash into a set of professionally shot images can take a lot of consideration for some families. The cost of the service tempts many to try and cut corners, instead choosing to enlist the help of a friend or family member who happens to own a half-decent camera. Unfortunately, the money you saved will probably be evident in the quality of your photos. They might even be so disappointing that they end up living on your hard drive for the rest of time and never get to be enjoyed.
When it comes to imortalising those once in a lifetime moments, there really is no substitute for the skills, quality and artistry offered by a professional. The monetary investment you make today will live on for years to come.
Your baby is only little once, your dog is only a puppy briefly and you are never going to have the same glow you had when your partner put a ring on it! It’s these defining moments in your life that deserve the absolute star treatment when it comes to capturing these memories forever. While the decision to work with a professional photographer can seem like a daunting one, once you have the beautiful images hanging on your wall, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!