What Makes a Good Photographer?

What makes a good photographer? Hint: It is not the kind of camera or the # of images they will give you for facebook 🙂

Recently, I was at an event talking to moms about my photography. After looking at the framed portraits I had on display, a few of the women asked me if they could get the cd of digital images. They explained that the other photographers they had used before had given them the digital images and they just wanted them “to have”, maybe to put in a scrapbook. I don’t give away the digital images that I create. There are a few reasons for this, but the most important reason is that I am a professional photographer proudly providing a complete service to my clients and giving away the digital images, rather than providing the complete service is NOT professional. When a parent comes to me to have their family or children photographed, their objective is not for me to create images to put on their screen saver or in their scrapbook (they can do take those themselves). They are coming to me because they want beautiful, heirloom portraits or even smaller ones to give as gifts (and sometimes in an album as well). Not only do I give them beautiful images, but they will are guided through the entire process. From the initial call, to designing the session based upon their objectives and their specific personalities, to the images created, to the way I help them to order (sitting with them, guiding them through their choices which are projected on a screen so that they can see exactly what the best images and sizes are), to choosing of frames to go with the finished portraits, a true professional photographer is providing, not only beautiful portraits, but a service. Since I am a professional, I know the best printers, labs, album and frame companies, and I use the best. These are images of someone’s family and children and they deserve to be treated with reverence and printed beautifully, not on some glossy paper at Costco or on a cheap canvas that anyone can have made. Additionally, I archive the images so that if something should happen to client’s portraits, I will be able to have have the images remade for them (a cd is not archival). Someone who emails to set up the photography session, not taking the time to talk with you about your children or your expectations is not a professional. Someone who photographs way too long, until you and your children are irritated does not know what they are doing and is not a professional. Someone who puts your images in an online gallery and does not take the time to sit down with you to help you to choose which images are best and what sizes will work with those images is not a professional. Someone who hands you a cd of the images and tells you to go ahead and print whatever you want is not a professional. They do not care about you and do not care if you come back to them year after year to document your family. They do not care if your cd or whatever you have printed from it gets destroyed. I know this because I have clients who have come to me after going to these other “professional” photographers. They have nothing to show for their time and money except a cd with some marginal images. So, if you are looking for a professional photographer to document this short, sweet time in your family’s life, hire a true professional, someone who will give you what you really want (even if you don’t realize it quite yet).

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