Ya know what people ask me?
Well yes, actually they do ask me how I manage to be so damn sexy. That’s not exactly what I was thinking about however. I’m thinking about the other thing that people ask me.
No not that either. And yes it is close to nine inches long. Maybe I should just tell you what I’m talking about before your mind goes further into the gutter.
People ask me “How do you justify asking for hundreds of dollars to take photographs when my Uncle Bob has an expensive camera?”
I got some answers for you. I’m glad Uncle Bob has a camera. I’m sure he’s going to get some great snapshot at your family picnic. Question is will Uncle Bob get photographs like these?
Your misconception is that when you pay a photographer you are paying him to push the button. It only takes a second to push a button on the camera. It only takes a second to take a photograph. How can it cost that much money?
How much time is required to take a photograph?
For Uncle Bob it takes one second or less.
For me it takes 20 years.
You read that right. Twenty years. I know, some of you are saying that really is about how long it takes me to do the post processing from a big fashion shoot but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I mean is that I’ve spent 20 years developing my photography skills. A year from now it will be 21 years. A year ago I couldn’t have taken the photos I took today – I didn’t have those 20 years of experience. Today I can’t take the photos I’ll be taking a year from now because I don’t yet have those 21 years of experience.
A photograph is “taken” in the moment the photographer opens the shutter. But the image is “created” in all the previous years of experience. It’s those years of experience you are paying for. Okay, and all the back-end processing and work which I’ll talk about in a later post. It’s these years of experience which transform a person with a camera into a photographer.
It’s the lack of those years of experience that makes Uncle Bob a camera operator. A button pusher. A guy with a very expensive point and shoot.
Now I don’t wanna dis Uncle Bob. Bob is going to take some perfectly good snapshots at the picnic. But you don’t hire a professional, creative, experienced photographer for your family picnic. You hire a creative photographer for important occasions and reasons. Things like yearly family portraits , drop dead hot model portfolios, product shots, advertising and editorial shots with models and products, and of course weddings – because there is no “do over” with a wedding.
Yes Uncle Bob can open the shutter of a camera for less than a professional but it’s not likely Uncle Bob has 20 or 30 or 40 years of experience in photography. Yea, he might. I know a girl who’s Uncle Bob actually is a professional photographer. Now he’s retired and does all the Uncle Bob functions. But he does them right. Her Uncle Bob is the exception. Most likely yours is not.
By all means have Uncle Bob take your photos when it’s appropriate. When the photographs are important, when you need images that embrace creativity and technical knowledge you need a professional photographer. Pay for what you get and you will get what you pay for.
You might even have your socks knocked off.
Oh, and my 70 to 200 mm lens is actually 8.5 inches, not a full 9 inches. Just for the record.
This is part 1 in a series of post regarding the selection of a photographer. Watch for upcoming posts in the series. You can find all the posts by going to the categories tab above and clicking on “selecting a photographer”.