I’ve got a perfectly good camera on my phone, why would I need to hire a photographer? This is a rhetorical question someone expressed at a meeting recently when I didn’t really have the opportunity to respond. My short and perhaps cheeky answer is:
- I have a perfectly good pen but that doesn’t make me a novelist
- I have a perfectly good calculator but that doesn’t make me an accountant
It seems to be that just because (almost) everyone takes photographs these days photography is seen as something anyone can do. Well, to an extent that’s true. Anyone with a camera can take a picture but having a camera doesn’t make you a photographer. Why? Because a photograph is the end result of the photographer’s vision and their knowledge and skill in knowing how to achieve it.
Good photography comes from the knowledge and skill of the photographer more than it does from the equipment the photographer uses.
One of my favourite analogies is that an F1 driver would get the very best performance out of a road car but, if you take an ordinary road driver and put them in an F1 car then I suspect the result would be best left to the imagination! Likewise in photography, a top photographer will get the best results out of even the most basic cameras. The reason is that it’s all about a vision for what the final image should look like, what story it should tell and how you then go about the composition and lighting to achieve the result.
So let’s consider an example. Let’s say someone, like me, has a Linked-In page and they want a head shot image to appear on their profile. Well one option is to get the iPhone out and take a selfie. That might look something like this and could be quite acceptable:
However, whilst it certainly looks like me, it doesn’t actually tell a story or say anything much about me. I’m a photographer and I want a head shot which is going to reflect that. So a photographer is going to come up with something more like this:
This requires rather more set-up and knowledge than simply using a phone camera for a selfie and it actually tells a story and says something about me that is consistent with how I describe myself on my Linked-In profile.
That’s just one small example, but I think it helps illustrate the value in hiring a professional photographer.