Do you need to hire a professional photographer to get great images?

This is the first in a series of posts about working with a professional photographer. 

Fashion shoot at Spanish Banks, Vancouver. (Throughout these posts I'll be including some of my recent work.

Fashion shoot at Spanish Banks, Vancouver. (Throughout these posts I'll be including some of my recent work.

Do you need to hire a professional photographer to achieve images for your brand that you are happy with.

My answer might surprise you. No, you don’t.

There are many, many talented amateurs out there who can create images that you will be thrilled with. There are also many professionals whose work may not fit with your brand’s style when an amateur's portfolio or Instagram account looks perfect. I will be one of the first people to advocate giving new photographers an opportunity to showcase their skills. After all, the only difference between an amateur and a professional is a paycheque.   

However (here comes the “but”), just because someone has nice images on Instagram or their website, it doesn’t mean they know how to work with a brand and manage a photoshoot.  

An experienced, professional photographer brings a lot to a photo shoot beyond picking up a camera and pressing a button. Professional photographers do not just show up, they ensure everything runs smoothly and you get images that accurately represent your brand and style.  

The experienced photographers know how to produce a photo shoot from start to finish. In truth, photographers are not just creatives with a camera; they are project managers. 

Portrait of a cyclist at Iona Beach, Richmond.

Portrait of a cyclist at Iona Beach, Richmond.

Here is a list of some of the things an experienced photographer will bring to your brand.

1. They know what questions to ask before the shoot even begins so that they can create the images you need and help guide you through the whole process of a photoshoot.

2. They know how to put together an experienced team of models, makeup artists, assistants, producers, retouchers and stylists to make the images perfect.

3. The will likely have a production book/creative brief to communicate every detail of the shoot to you and everyone on the team.

4. They bring the right equipment for the job and always have backups. What happens to your photo shoot when the inexperienced photographer’s only camera stops working?

5. They know how to manage the images and create multiple backups so the digital files are safe and secure.  

6. They have insurance and understand the business of photography.

7. They have a wealth of knowledge to troubleshoot problems that might arise on the day of the shoot.

8. And finally, they bring their creativity and expertise in what can make or break an image.

Fashion shoot at Spanish Banks, Vancouver.

Fashion shoot at Spanish Banks, Vancouver.

These are just a few of the things a professional photographer does when working with a client. They have done it many times and know what it takes to get good results.

So, do you need to hire an experienced professional to get images you are happy with? The answer is going to depend largely on the experience you want when working with a photographer. 

Working with an experienced professional ensures that you don’t have to worry about a lot of details because the photographer has already planned for them. Whether you need portraits of yourself or a styled product shoot, an experienced photographer will guide you through the process from start to finish, and deliver great results.

My next posts in this series will offer some thoughts on how to find and navigate working with a photographer.