One reason to hire a professional photographer is simply to have someone there to take the picture. Whether it’s with your phone or a real camera. We’ve all handed our phone to some random stranger and asked them to take our picture. The photo might not look the best, but at least all of your group is in it. And sometimes, that’s all you need – documentation – proof you were there.
Not Just a Shutterbug
A professional photographer does many things, not just click the shutter button on their camera. I remember being on a mountain bike ride when a hiker stopped me and asked if I’d take a picture of them with their friends with her phone. Of course I said ‘Yes!’ because taking pictures is what I do. And, I love these brief outdoor social moments when I get to chat with strangers. Some random person taking the picture would just touch the shutter button on their phone and hand it back. A professional photographer, on the other hand, might offer a little suggestion or instruction. I recommended they turn around and face away from the sun so they weren’t squinting.
When I’m photographing someone, one of the first things I think about is light – where is the best light coming from? Afterall, without light, there wouldn’t be a photo at all. If I’m indoors, and I don’t have a flash with me, I’m headed to the window, because that’s where the light is. If I’m outside, there’s light all around, but is it harsh overhead light or cloud-diffused light or awesome evening light? It’s not all the same.
I also try to watch for things such as hand placement, as most folks don’t know what to do with their hands. And, that’s ok. Most of us aren’t professional models 🙂 Wardrobe is something else I try to watch for. For example, when I’m shooting wedding portraits, I try to make sure the bride’s wedding dress train, if she has one, is behind her and fanned-out.
Smartphones have come a long way, but they still don’t compare to a professional camera and lens. For one, optical zoom is better than digial zoom. Smart phones don’t really zoom in or out. To ‘zoom in’, they’re really cropping the image. They’re throwing-out information – degrading the image. Traditional cameras uses optical zoom. Optical zoom is moving the physical glass within the lens to bring the subject closer. There’s no degradation when optically zooming.