Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Everybody has a camera... Why do I need a photographer???

EVERYBODY has a camera... EVERYBODY!  You can't miss it.   From the young in age to the young at heart, all take selfies to post to social media and share with friends.  Proud parents show up in the stands to cheer their child on at their ballgame with cameras in tow.   You need photos for your website and social media sites.  No problem, your friend just happens to have a point and shoot camera in her purse.  Look around... everybody has a camera.  It may not be a professional camera with high-end equipment, but nearly everyone young and old has a phone with a camera.  Technology over the past 10 years has really stepped up the game.  Cameras in today's phones now have the capability to produce high quality images of 20+ megapixels, which makes the cameras in these phones a huge competitor for today's photographer.   You will find camera phones are everywhere, capturing day-to-day moments in everyone's life.  Making time stand still and freezing that moment with the click of a button, providing the opportunity to share those special moments instantly with friends and family via social media apps.  So, if all of this is true, and everyone has a camera, then why in the world would you need to hire a photographer?  After all, if you have a camera, Aunt Sue has a camera, your friend has a camera, then there really is no reason to hire someone to do something you can do yourself, right?   It's hard to argue this point, because... well... it's a correct statement.  You don't NEED a photographer when you or someone you know can take the photos.  That's the beauty of having a camera.  You don't NEED anything other than what you have.  There's a saying that the best camera that you have is the one you have with you.  This is absolutely correct.  The ability to have a camera readily available to capture a moment that would otherwise be missed is truly an amazing opportunity to forever capture that moment.

Now, let's flip the coin and look at the other side of things.  Let's explore the reasons that you might consider hiring a photographer.  Obviously, photographers are still in high demand for weddings.  A wedding is supposed to be one of the most important days of your life.  It's a day when you want to soak in all of the love and joy of the day.  The guests at the wedding are there to help celebrate the union of a couple, marking the official date that their life's journey begins.  That being said, a guest wouldn't want to miss the ceremony to capture random photos of the ceremony.  For an event so important in someone's life, it will take more than 1 person to provide an adequate representation of all that is involved in the celebration of coming together as one.

Let's look at things from my own experiences.  There have been times when I have attended parties of friends and family members, cameras thrown over each shoulder, a multitude of lenses readily available to change out to capture that special moment.  I wasn't hired as the photographer at these events... I was a GUEST.  I was there to celebrate the occasion with my friends or family.  I wanted to be able to give them the gift of capturing those special moments for them.  Taking hundreds of pictures at their party or event.  Candid shots of the attendees having an amazing time celebrating the day.  This, after all, is the beauty of having a photographer at your event.  Yes, I am a photographer, and I was there capturing all of those special moments at the event, but herein lies the difference... I was NOT there as the photographer.  I was there as a guest and should have stepped back and enjoyed the event as a guest.  Because I am a photographer, and I took it upon myself to do what comes naturally to me, I found that my face was behind a camera 95% of the event, and when I looked back on things, I was only able to enjoy the event through the images that I captured.  I worked as hard at the event as a guest as I would have as a hired photographer.  The same rings true for friends and family that spend their time taking a multitude of photos at a big family event.  You are not free to sit back, relax and enjoy the day.  You miss out on first hand experience and settle for reliving things through the photos that you took at those snippets in time you spent taking images.  In situations like this, when there is an important birthday party, family reunion, special event, this is absolutely when you need to hire a photographer.  This allows you and your guests to enjoy your day without the pressure of missing that special moment.

Working in event photography, in a market that is oversaturated, you have to find a niche.  Everyone with a camera is a photographer, and it becomes harder each day to position yourself in an industry that 20 years ago didn't have to compete with camera phones like we do in this day and age. Anyone can take a picture.  Just point the camera and click . There... you have the picture.  The difference lies in the approach to the images.  An an outdoor portrait and event photographer, I take things to the next level.  I look for those opportunities to capture those special moments that others may miss.  Those once in a lifetime candid shots that if you don't zero in on them really quick then those moments are gone forever.  I don't want to be just a photographer.  Your images should tell a story.  They should invoke emotion.  You should be able to look at a picture and feel what you are seeing.  That is where the difference comes in.  This is something that I strive to achieve with my images.  Of course, this isn't something that will happen with every image.  But, there are those special moments neatly tucked away in the 2500 photos that are captured at the morning's 5K.  Moments that don't immediately speak to you, but when you physically lay eyes on each and every image from that event, some pretty amazing stories come to light.  I search for those jewels in post processing and add my special touch to them after the fact.  The images that speak to me.. that tell a story.  The story of the 70-year-old who runs his first 5K and completes it.  The father and daughter crossing the finish line hand in hand.  I had the opportunity to meet one such father outside of the race, months later, by change at a Mellow Mushroom, and learned the story behind the image that I captured at the finish line.  The daughter's first 5K, completed, and gained a lesson in finishing what you start and never giving up.  He was very appreciative of the photo that allowed him to forever keep that image alive.

So, you see, you may not NEED a photographer, but hiring one certainly allows someone with an outside view to tell your story in the best light possible, all the while allowing you the ability to enjoy your special moment, knowing that your memories are forever preserved.