“Dinner was delicious, you must have a fantastic frying pan!”
…and other thoughts on how having a fancy camera does not make you a pro photographer.
Do you ever find yourself wondering, “when the heck did everyone with a fancy camera turn into a pro photographer?” Well, here are some tips, tricks and facts on the difference between a pro and a faux…!
Momographers. We all know one. Or seven. The uncle with a fancy camera and flash? Yup, we know about him too… So what is it exactly that makes someone a professional photographer? I have done my research and here is some info I’m dying to share!
According to fellow colleague, Zack Arias, “a pro is someone who can be consistent, can be relied on, and is a problem solver. You walk into the situation. There’s this chaos in front of you, and you have to create a picture out of that chaos. You figure it out and you have a picture to deliver…”
In all actuality, there really is no one single answer as to what makes a photographer a “pro.” The short version, though, is years of experience. Collectively, JessFoto has 18 years of shooting experience, we have attended dozens of workshops, conferences, and conventions (nerd status), and undergone (what sometimes seems like MORE than) our fair share of trial and error situations.
Instead of taking hundreds of shots and walking away with maybe a handful of good photos, a professional is able to take hundreds of great shots with a few photo bombs or blinking shots. Professionals are able to correctly
expose their images while behind the camera, not the computer. They don’t NEED photoshop to make their images be of noteworthy quality, but it helps. With the exception of the newborn shot with the baby’s head resting on his/her hands (and a few others that I can’t think of at the moment) – professionals don’t need to piecemeal their images together. Images like these are taken to ensure the safety of the baby.
One common trend we have seen emerging recently is that anyone can create a Facebook page and deem themselves as being a photographer just because they went out and bought the newest Nikon or Canon. Having a $3,000 camera body does NOT make you a professional… Kind of like how having a gourmet kitchen doesn’t make someone a culinary mastermind. BUT if you have a wine cellar, you are more than welcome to invite us over for dinner!
Jenna Martin wrote a great article on a few helpful tips for the amateur photographer when asking for advice. We have added a few of our own tips for anyone looking to dive into the world of photography:
- Master your flash. Seriously. Read the manual and try different styles and settings to find out what works best for you!
- Learn your camera inside and out. Do not simply put your camera on automatic and expect great photos – your brain is the most important piece of equipment you have!
- Backup, Backup, Backup – If you are not backing up your (or your clients’) images or archiving them – you are making a HUGE boo-boo. Our team backs things up in multiple locations on both hard drives and an off location server.
- Work smarter, not harder… Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. But DO add your own flair to existing methods.
- Spend the first few minutes of your session getting to know your client… Do you feel comfortable immediately upon walking into the doctor’s office or dentist or hair salon? Unless you are LDC, the answer is probably no. Don’t take out your camera until you have spent a bit getting to know everyone. Not only are you setting the tone but you are also engaging with them and the final outcome will be “real” smiles or expressions.
- Master your workflow… Have a set methodology of editing your photos and stick to it.
- Don’t work for free. Ever. With anyone. Even if you are building your portfolio. It devalues the business for everyone.
- Stick with it! EVERYONE has bad days no matter what their profession – don’t give up on yourself if you hit a speed bump.
We hope that no matter what your level, your passion for photography never fades!