Do I Really Need A Professional Photographer? - ericjuttner

Rubbernecking. A blog on life and photography.

Do I Really Need a Professional Photographer?

At some point you've probably wondered if you really need a professional photographer.  After all almost all everybody has a camera, and these days even smartphones take great pictures. And Uncle Gary has one of those big Nikon cameras, doesn't that mean all of the pictures will be great?  And it sure would cost a lot less.

So the question is why do you need a professional?  The fact is you may not.  But let's dive into the value you're getting from hiring a pro.  In my opinion the two main benefits are experience and reliability.


When you hire a professional in any field you're getting someone who's "been there and done that" many times before.  Take, for example, a wedding.  A lot is happening from the time the bride and groom are getting ready, to the arrival of the guests, the walk down the aisle, the ceremony, the presentation of the bride and groom, the celebration afterwards, and the reception.  Now think about the hundreds of small but magical moments along the way - a tearful mother helping her daughter into her wedding gown, the bride and groom looking into each other's eyes while they exchange vows, and their first dance together at the reception. Also remember many of these moments happen in difficult conditions where it can be hard to get a clear, well exposed photo.  

An experienced photographer knows where to be, when to be there, and how to use his equipment to capture the moments and emotions that really tell the story.  When you're making the decision to hire (or not) a professional, ask yourself if you will be happy if some important moments are missed or not captured as you would like to remember them.


Another important reason to hire a pro is peace of mind.  You and your photographer should work very closely together to negotiate and agree on logistics (date, time, location, etc.), what services will be provided, what products will be delivered, and the price.  Your professional photographer will be happy to work with you in this way.  And as the customer you'll have an agreement in writing with legal recourse if the photographer doesn't live up to their end of the bargain.  If you decide to use family or friends keep in mind it may be uncomfortable to negotiate or hold them accountable, especially if there are problems.

And problems do happen.  Technology fails, plans change, and people change their minds. A reason to hire a professional is to minimize this risk. For example a pro will typically have a primary and backup cameras, storage cards, and batteries. Once they get back to the studio they also have a way to back up your photos until they're delivered to you.  With a pro it's very unlikely there will be a problem they can't handle.  On the other hand if Uncle Gary drops his camera at your wedding you might be out of luck.

At the end of the day you need to seriously consider using a professional when the results really matter.  This is true whether you're talking about an auto mechanic, a home builder, or a professional photographer.  And unlike a car or home there's one only opportunity to photograph a special moment before it's gone forever.  Those pictures can last a lifetime and be passed down to future generations which makes them priceless. So think carefully before you call Uncle Gary.

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