Have you ever asked...What does a Professional Photographer really do that I can't? Don't they just click a button on a camera?

So you are debating paying for a professional photographer. Maybe you have a "fancy" camera at home just laying around, or maybe you can just snap a quick pick with your phone or tablet and it get's the job done. Maybe you think, hiring a photographer can be to expensive when I can just snap my own photo. Well I thought I could not only explain to you what you get when you hire a photographer, but show you all what you are really paying for when you hire a professional photographer. There are always different types of clients, those that fully understand that it's not just the day of the photoshoot that a photographer spends his/her time on. So I decided to give you a break down so you "get it" so to speak on what you are paying for when you hire a professional photographer. 
        Before I even book a shoot or sometimes after a shoot is booked. I scout! Not every photographer does this, but I do. That means I hop in my car and I take my camera. I get a creative idea in my head of what I want a future session to look like and then I have to go and find it. I am a photographer that particularly loves the lush outdoors, tall grasses, buttercups, mountains, rivers, lakes, streams, dreamy trees, old barns, fields and so forth. I also plan the time I go to make sure I know the light and take test shots prior to your session. 
        This gives me a better understanding of the location prior to your session. This is why I always tell clients where the shoot will be and what time verse them telling me. You will get prettier and softer images this way. I have studied the locations and the light. I know the best times of the days in different areas to photograph.
        Of course I also shoot in peoples homes for lifestyle shoots and in studio mainly only for newborn sessions though. A lifestyle shoot, can also be tricky because I use all natural light and having not scouted the home before, so I have to know and understand the lighting. This comes with practice and patience. As for my studio, I do use lights, however they are meant and designed to mimic natural light. Not all studio photographers shoot with this style though. There is no wrong or right way. This is the way the Photographer captures their art. 
       The time of your actual shoot, I always ask everyone, "what's important to you?" For example, sibling shots, family shots, posed and candid. I love candid, I am mainly a candid photographer. However I will pose my clients as well, as most people want one or two nicely posed pictures of the whole family. Then I work my way down the list that you want. Of course I mainly work with babies, and children and as much as I direct them, they always have their own ideas. So it's important that parents understand that and let me work with the children so I can get the best images.  These always end up being the most special images. When I am able to capture children just being them selves. You will not ever get good images if Mom and Dad keep telling their little one to smile, or are trying to get overly excited. Accidentally 9/10 times you are more likely to have a failed shoot because the stress of getting that "perfect" shot get's put on the child from Mom or Dad and then of course the kid just ain't in to it. I do ask for help sometimes but it's to tell mom or dad to go directly behind me so that little ones are looking right at my camera not away from it and to be calm and not overly excited. 
      I have had many sessions where the parents leave a shoot feeling like they got nothing and after I send them the images, they will message or call me with happy tears because they didn't think I got anything. Photography is an art form, it's knowing when to take the picture and learning your subjects. Even if you only get one moment to get that shot. I will do it.
       So your session is over, now you are waiting for the images. Why does it take so long to get them back? Well Photography isn't just my job, it's my passion and most importantly my art. When I go through your images I select the best ones which is a process in it's self. You might look at them and say hmm, that's an alright image. But then I see it and I know how I can really just make your eyes pop, brighten those faint purple flowers in the back ground and adjust the colourings, soften or brighten skin tones, remove blemishes, add light, brighten your faces. Each and everyone of those tasks takes time, and then I have to do it to all your images. It's a time consuming process. But I do love it.

So as an example I thought I would show you some Before and After photos from editing. Locations of what you see verse what I see of Before and after shots as well. Some times I bring people to certain spots and they think...well that doesn't look that exciting. But trust me, this is why you hired me. I know what I'm doing. 

Here are some before and after edit samples...

 As you can see in this sample, this beautiful baby had a lot of dry skin, blotchy skin colouring and some mild baby acne/irritated skin. All the things that are very common with newborns. The lighting was also a bit dimmer than I like, and the baby wasn't highlighted as much. She didn't "pop" so to speak.  When editing as a professional I really aim to show case the babies natural features not the "imperfections" that will just go away. However with that said, I will never remove a birth mark, mole or anything of that sort as that is part of the identity of baby. I always let parents know that. Those are the little details that make each of us unique, an individual and adds character to our own stories. These details take time, no I can't just push one button and it automatically fixes everything. (although that would truly save me so much time if that was possible and I would love it!) Each minor detail takes time. 

As you can see in this sample, this beautiful baby had a lot of dry skin, blotchy skin colouring and some mild baby acne/irritated skin. All the things that are very common with newborns. The lighting was also a bit dimmer than I like, and the baby wasn't highlighted as much. She didn't "pop" so to speak.  When editing as a professional I really aim to show case the babies natural features not the "imperfections" that will just go away. However with that said, I will never remove a birth mark, mole or anything of that sort as that is part of the identity of baby. I always let parents know that. Those are the little details that make each of us unique, an individual and adds character to our own stories. These details take time, no I can't just push one button and it automatically fixes everything. (although that would truly save me so much time if that was possible and I would love it!) Each minor detail takes time. 

Before and After Location Samples (What you see, what I see!)

 This is a great example of what you see and what I see. A big open field of over grown grass, weeds with tiny little yellow flowers on the left. Doesn't always sound that exciting, however a beautiful mom, timed with the right lighting and an eye for those pretty little yellow flowers...whaaaallaaa...now you see what I see. 

This is a great example of what you see and what I see. A big open field of over grown grass, weeds with tiny little yellow flowers on the left. Doesn't always sound that exciting, however a beautiful mom, timed with the right lighting and an eye for those pretty little yellow flowers...whaaaallaaa...now you see what I see. 

 Alright so as you can see by the photo on the left, it was Pouring...not raining, not spitting...POURING! This is not what I planned for this shoot at all, and most photographers won't dare take the camera out in this weather, let alone walk in a freezing river in the rain (Shout out to Meghan for her bravery and a little pat on the back to myself lol!)  In my head for this shoot, the sun would peak through the trees just before the sun went down and would reflect off those smooth grey large rocks, while this Mama to be would glimmer and her hair would be full with curls. Well...that did not happen. However, my eye caught a different view and I had to think and be creative. Which allowed me to think outside the box, and in turn change this image to a whole different look.  Which I ended up loving and capturing this gorgeous beauty in a mystical way which I fell in love with. Art. 

Alright so as you can see by the photo on the left, it was Pouring...not raining, not spitting...POURING! This is not what I planned for this shoot at all, and most photographers won't dare take the camera out in this weather, let alone walk in a freezing river in the rain (Shout out to Meghan for her bravery and a little pat on the back to myself lol!)  In my head for this shoot, the sun would peak through the trees just before the sun went down and would reflect off those smooth grey large rocks, while this Mama to be would glimmer and her hair would be full with curls. Well...that did not happen. However, my eye caught a different view and I had to think and be creative. Which allowed me to think outside the box, and in turn change this image to a whole different look.  Which I ended up loving and capturing this gorgeous beauty in a mystical way which I fell in love with. Art. 

This is a great way for those who decide to book a professional photographer and want to get a better idea what happens in the "processing room" or editing. Or for those that don't understand what a photographer sees or really does. You may look at white wall, and just see a white wall. I see a white wall that I can color, splash with paint or dress you up all fancy, put you in front of it and capture a glamour shot of you. There are a lot of people out there that will say things like, "Oh I have a fancy camera at home too to take pictures with." The thing is, when you hire a photographer, you are hiring an artist. That is no different than saying to a painter, "Hey I have paint brushes and paint at home but I just don't feel like painting like picasso today." As you purchase an amazing masterpiece that he obviously spent hours creating. Photography is no different. A good photographer see's something you may not. They get an idea in their head and then bring it to life through their subjects. There are a lot of different elements that go in to this and lots of different styles of photographers, just like their are lots of different style of painters, sculptors. print maker and so forth. Here's a tip when hiring a photographer...If you ever hire a photographer or meet a photographer that thinks they have reached the top of their game and are the best. Keep looking for a photographer! Because any good and professional will always tell you they still have a ways to go. Don't doubt them for owning that. Judge them on their work instead. The good photographers will always keep learning.  Whether it's a new technique in the editing process, whether it's learning, and studying new lights, discovering and searching for new locations. They are an artist in every sense of the word always creating, always re-discovering. This is what you are paying for. Someone who brings magic to that boring white wall and creates a masterpiece.  And what's even better, a professional photographer is someone who can capture your memories on camera so you can hold on to them for a lifetime.

Hope that helps with understanding what Photographers really do and was helpful when discovering who to hire in the future. Thanks for reading. xo