Simply put? Value.
A professional photographer is NOT someone:who loves Photoshop who just got a hot new camera who gives away JPEGs on a CD/DVD
who gives away their work for next to nothing
who has gotten some nice compliments from friends about pretty photos they have taken
Why?they shouldn’t NEED Photoshop they know the camera doesn’t make the images they know the value in their work they know the value in their work they are complimented by word of mouth
Photoshop is used for smoothing, blending, cropping, etc. It should not be used to change the exposure of the images. This should be done within the camera, at the time of shooting. A professional always shoots in Manual, or M, mode. This is because we know how to tweak the aperture, the shutter speed, the white balance, etc. to create a perfect image- every time.
Photography is so much more than owning a nice camera. It helps, but the camera does not come pre-installed with years (or decades) of experience, the skill & know-how to use it, and the professionalism that is required. There are many facets of photography that a camera just can’t bring to the table.
A professional does not give their work away for free. Why? Because they know their value. CD/DVDs should be available for purchase, but never ‘thrown in’. If a photographer is offering TFP work, then a CD/DVD/Print should be expected in exchange. The professional uses a professional-grade print lab; they do not leave you to print your own at the likes of Wal Mart, Walgreens, Target, CVS, Sam’s Club, etc.
Again, a professional knows the value of their work and would never give it away for next to nothing. Included with a photographer’s pricing is skill, experience, lighting (it is everything), accountability, and software. Every cheap photographer out there is lacking if they do not value their work.
Photographer moms everywhere are getting compliments on their images. Why is this? Because your friends and family aren’t going to be 100% honest with you. That is a fact. A professional takes compliments and criticism in stride. The professional listens to his peers, especially the more experienced in the field. The ultimate compliment you can give your professional photographer is great word of mouth. Write a review or two on Angie’s List, Yahoo!, Yelp, or any other city-search site you use. Tell your girl friends who are engaged about your wonderful experience. Share your senior portraits with others. “Like” their fan page on Facebook, even.
The fact is, that years from now you are going to have a set of photographs. You have two choices.
- Dimly-lit, Poorly composed, Faded paper, Boring, Poorly edited images with all the magic moments missed.
- Properly-lit, Perfectly composed, Flawless paper, Creative, Flawlessly edited images with all the magic moments nailed on the head.
It is up to you as to which set you will be holding in the future.