There’s an old saying: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…” and I think that certainly applies to those who want to do the “DIY” senior pictures. Yes, you might have a friend or uncle or whoever with a fancy camera with all the lenses. But there’s a lot more to it than fancy equipment.
- It’s not the equipment – but it’s kinda the equipment. The fancy camera you might buy at Sam’s Club or Best Buy, with the extra ‘big’ lenses and all that is fine – for the casual photographer taking casual pictures, and have plenty of lighting, perfect conditions, and so on. Even portrait mode on the latest mobile phones take nice photos (given the perfect circumstances). But, the professional versions of these cameras are built for professional use – that means being able to get photos in very low light without being blurry, and it means the lenses are able to deliver crisp, sharp details, with accurate color rendition, without the edges being distorted, and being able to separate the subject (you) from the background for a dramatic and creative image. Plus, lighting and control of the lighting. A professional has the ability to light a scene using a variety of techniques and lights, whereas the regular DSLR has a flash that pops up, and fires straight at you. The scenes that a pro can create and capture are far different, due to the equipment being made for this purpose.
- Understanding how the equipment works. Like any other artist, with a command of their tools and implements, a professional knows exactly how to make the camera, lighting, and other pieces of gear work together to get the outcome they’re trying to create. It’s not just point and click. The camera is not set to “auto” anything. And that’s not to say that auto mode doesn’t look good. It can look good, but if you’re making a bright airy shot, or a dark moody shot, then “auto mode” is going to work against your intentions. Knowing what settings to choose, and how to dial them in to get what you want is not the same as setting it on auto and praying for the best.
- It’s knowing how to shoot in different settings, in different lighting, with changing lighting, and understanding how to compose a portrait, rather than just simply taking a picture. Will a professional experiment with a few different setups while doing your session? Sure, it’s a matter of taking the visual concept and refining it to the precise intention of the vision, which might take a few “takes” to get correct. A professional knows what to change, how to change it, and how to refine it to get a good result.
- It’s posing, but it’s not really posing. In the end, to say a “posed photo” may seem forced. Instead, it’s more of a directional thing “do this with your hands” or “turn this way a little” – it’s posing, but it’s more about lining up the subject (you) with a certain element of lighting, background, or moving your body around in relation to other things. Knowing how certain angles can be more flattering, knowing how certain camera placements or positions can make the subject look more masculine or more feminine, knowing how the light will fall onto the subject in a given pose.
- Editing and final preparation is not for the faint of heart. Even though a camera can write out JPG files, we typically work with the raw images, to create the final delivery image sets. This allows us to work natively with the data right out of the camera sensor. (The camera JPG is the camera’s interpretation of what the raw file should look like – but we may want a different look.) While that sounds easy, most people do not have access to the professional Photoshop, Lightroom, and other editing software at home.
- Location, location, location! While we will always listen to what you have to say about where you’d like your pictures to be taken, we’ve shot many locations, and know a lot of hidden, less obvious places that make for great photos as well. And, we know how to get that photo of the sun, right before sunset, hitting your hair just right spot, in the right place, on any given day of the year.
- Access to the best products. Working with a professional means when you order your prints, or your other items, you’re going to be getting them through a thoroughly vetted, trusted, and reputable photo lab partner. We are very picky when it comes to who we trust with our printing, so you can trust that whatever you order, it will be out of this world beautiful.