Photography isn’t just about a camera!

Why do you really need more than just your images on a CD?  Let me explain!  You won’t save money and you wont’ get the best that you deserve.

Since the dawn of digital I get asked a lot “I just want the raw files on CD”.   Well, if only it was so simple.  I once thought of this situation when I saw an advertisement for doing self-surgery and I think it was removal of a kidney!  My thinking is to leave it to the professionals and this is why…too much can go wrong.  I’m a photographer specializing in people so things like wedding photography, event photography and corporate and head shot portraits.  I wouldn’t imagine going in to an industrial commercial situation and say I know what I’m doing.  I definitely do not!

I recently got an email from someone who wanted engagement photos taken and wanted the raw files.  He mentioned he was a photographer but I saw he actually had another full time career.  So the dilemma for me is, as an artist, the image I take doesn’t end at just the push of a button and do I want someone else to not let me finish my process.  It’s a whole lot more.  I often run into amateur photographers who ask why I don’t do this or have that or tell me their Nikon is better than my Canon etc.  The best thing about photography is that there are a million ways to do it and all of them your way if you choose it to be that way.  But there are things that can wrong.

The process of being a photographer isn’t just about owning a camera. It is a whole lot more and I won’t even begin to discuss the business aspect of it in this post.   Experience, vision, education, tools, passion and creativity are all a part of it.  It starts with “seeing” the image. You have to see something, maybe manipulate it to make it better, make some technical choices and then perhaps change your mind again because it wasn’t right.  Oddly enough the biggest part of taking an image for me is getting my subject to connect to me and forgetting the camera.  Yes, you read that right.  I want us BOTH to forget the camera.  When the subject is in front of me whether for a wedding portrait during their wedding or acting head shots or a family portrait the camera is just a tool and believe it or not I mostly shoot in P.  Yes, you read that right too.  Once I have my basic settings and choices in equipment I use P or A and nothing else (this is in Canon I’m not sure about Nikon settings).  If I fiddle with the camera and try to think about technical things then my client can get restless, lose mood or feel uncomfortable.  If this happens the shot is lost and I have nothing anyway.  This is why you see emotion, expression and feeling in my images and not a perfectly posed, placed portrait.  Cameras today are built with a zillion different algorithms so why not trust them?

Once that part is done there is the post production which with digital is more complicated than film.  Developing choices in film can be made and then labs will still look at all your negatives and work with the color or adjust chemicals for a different grain or you can push or pull your negatives.  All of these processes lead to the final “image” that was in my mind’s eye when I pushed that button.  If you get the chance Google Ansel Adams and look at the extensive notes he did when printing his images.  They were never straight out of the camera and there was never just one print.  When I develop prints there are other choices that need to be made and all of this my artistic expression.  In regards to post production on digital images the process is all on your computer but those choices of intensity, brightness, color, filters are all the same thing leading again to my choice as my final image.  Here is a sample of images that about post production choices that made the images stand out and feel “finished”  Intimate Weddings, Documentary Weddings, Head Shots

So when you are choosing a photographer for your wedding or family portraits or even just head shots remember it isn’t just about owning a camera and while your friend is “into” photography it’s always best to hire a professional and trust them and let them do what they do best.  It is NOT about the camera and definitely not a good idea when it is your wedding and no chance for a do-over.  What about head shots?  You only get the one chance for that first impression.  Do you want to risk that to an image that isn’t finished?  Let’s be honest, will you ever make that album or retouch those photos yourself within the next couple of years even?  Most likely not!

While digital photography has brought cameras to the masses and some amazing pictures taken there is a big difference with a professional photographer.  Find the right one for you and you won’t be sorry.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

Ellie and Legs

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