So you think you’re a photographer?

With the development of new technology in cameras, cell phones, apps and software, anyone has the ability to be a photographer.

So why pay more money to a professional photographer if “anyone can do it”?

First, it’s important understand the difference between a professional and an amateur photographer. A professional is someone who can artistically execute composition, lighting, post processing, and stylizing of a photo all while staying within the guidelines a client sets for them. For the most part, all self-taught photographers start out the exact same way –taking a picture of anything and everything they can and hoping for the best. That’s how I and many other professionals started. Many people think the difference between a professional and amateur is the equipment they use like a high-resolution camera or bigger, brighter lights. This isn’t the case at all. I’ve seen very professional looking photos taken on inexpensive cameras and even cell phones.

So what are you paying for when you spend money on a professional rather than an amateur?

A professional is skilled at how to manipulate lighting and composition for the artistic value of the photo so it is perfect for the client. It’s not all about the equipment used–it’s about the experience and skill of the photographer to make the process of the photo shoot, post processing, and delivery to client as smooth as possible; ensuring the final shot is exactly what the client needs and as a bonus, a piece of art!

In the marketing world today, everything is becoming very visually driven. Social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are rapidly growing. Facebook has updated to be more visually pleasing and now, along with Instagram, has added a TV section. So, if customers are remembering brands dependent upon the best looking photos and most entertaining videos, wouldn’t you want to do the same? Only professionals can really do that for you! That’s why it’s important for you to not only have a professional on your team, but to have the right professional. Photographers have different styles just like any artist, so it’s important to find who you think will visually portray your business with your ideas in mind.

Let’s say you have a vision of exactly what you want for a photo, but you don’t know how to find the right photographer. Start by looking online for examples of your vision. There are tons of websites and platforms in which photographers use to put out their portfolio. Find exactly what you like and contact different photographers to see who can get the look you want for the price that fits your budget. You’d be surprised to see the talent that people have in this field. A photo isn’t taken, it’s built.

After finding the right photographer, how do you use the photos? When it comes to the possession of the photo, things can get more complicated. To protect yourself and your business, make sure you understand the terms and conditions on use of the photo from your photographer. Remember, you don’t own the rights to the photo even if you pay to use it for your branding. Most of the time, you’re paying to license the photo. Using the photo for your advertising to sell a product without owning the rights to the photo is known as copyright infringement. It’s a pretty big deal that can lead to serious consequences. If the photographer has proof that they own the photo, which they always do, they know that they will win the lawsuit for copyright infringement. Losing a copyright case could cost your business $150,000. Some photographers will handle these problems differently than others, but it’s important for you to understand what could be at stake. This is all the more reason to hire a professional who will work with you to make sure you understand what you can and can’t do with their photos. Purchasing the rights to the photos for you to use them wherever and whenever is completely up to the photographer. In most cases, a professional will charge more for the rights to the photos than for the photo shoot and post processing. This is because they know their work is high-quality. When the time comes to let go of their art, it’ll have to be for the right price.

Finding photos that will showcase your company can be a make or break for your business. By finding the right photographer, you can ensure that photos for your business will help, and not hurt, your company.


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