I'm a poor blogger. Every seminar, class, or webinar concerned with helping photographers build a business tells us the we MUST blog to create interest in our photography. I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend time shooting so you can SEE what I can do than writing a blog post. Every once in awhile however, I decide to pass on some wise words.
There are a lot of photographers blogging away out there. They use all the right buzz phrases ("I photograph in the beauty of natural light only" AKA "I do not know how to or do not posses the equipment to create natural looking supplemental light when necessary"), "I am a lifestyle photographer" AKA "I'm going to follow your kids around and charge you for doing it".). These concepts did begin with talented photographers as valid concepts, but have been over used as above along with many other phrases. We have to remember not to believe everything we read. Viewing several samples is the only way to know whether a certain photographer's style is the right one to tell your story the way you want it told. Anyone with a digital SLR can whip up a website and call him or herself a photographer. We all have a FWANC. Some just have the nice camera, probably a Rebel and the lens that came with it (maybe two lenses if they got the special deal). Some have the nice camera and some actual talent to go with it. The thing is, there are photographers out there with ten thousand dollars worth of equipment hanging around their necks and tons of classes under their belts who don't shoot any better artistically than an amateur with a cheap camera who has a really good eye for what makes a great image. So, how do you choose? Should you use that FWANC to photograph you? Maybe, Maybe not.
First of all, entry level digital SLRs (costing up to around $2000) do not posses the technology to capture an image the same way a professional level camera can. It's about sensor size, megapixels, frames per second, focus points and lots more boring technical stuff. It's also about the difference between a $300 lens with plastic focusing elements and a $2000 lens that's made of real glass and weighs enough to give you a workout every time you lift the camera to your eye. Anyway, can the cheaper SLR and lens give you a great image? Absolutely! Especially in the hands of a good shooter. Will the expensive camera and lens always give a better image? Technically speaking, yes. Artistically speaking, no. Think of it this way, if I give you a professional oven you won't automatically become an award winning chef. SO, it all comes down to this. You must choose a photographer by looking at his or her work first and foremost. Second, you need to realize that if you are looking for a high quality print to frame and hang you should choose a pro who has the kind of equipment necessary to produce a superior quality image. Third, for life's important moments (weddings, newborn sessions and other once in a lifetime events) always choose an experienced professional. Don't leave those moments to chance, even if your FWANC offers to shoot for free. All you have after those precious moments are over are the photographs.
* Despite Maryann's poor commitment to blogging, she has somehow managed to build a robust business based on photography of families and children, along with a half dozen very select weddings each year. Studio and on location sessions are booked by appointment.