What’s The Point To Pay A Photographer?

What’s the point?

That is a question I ask myself often. When I shoot and, often, when I see solicitations for a shoot.

I’m not talking about the idea of marketing services for a photographer. That is a given and it is competitive. There are a lot of photographers. (Don’t… Just don’t… It’s a can of worms I won’t open. Not at this time, anyway…)

There are also cameras everywhere. People have access to an amazing amount of photo power in their own pockets as every phone now has a camera. Phones are even marketed for the camera instead of the “phone”. To that end, professional photographers have to market themselves to show their skill, talent and artistic vision to attract consumers.

So…. What is the point of paying for a photographer? It really depends on how much you care about the result. That is the bottom line. If all you want are pictures of what something looks like or how someone looks at any given time then, by all means, whip out that phone and snap away.

Here again, is the question…. “What’s the point?”

Now you have an image on your phone. What are you going to do with it? A big chunk get tossed online to Facebook or Twitter and shrunk in size and resolution in the process. Another big batch will stay in the phone until the thing is damaged, traded, or tossed in a drawer. In 20 years, when you want to see the picture of the newborn or the first day of school or the graduating senior where are you going to look? Are you going to scroll through your “timeline” of dinner plates and party selfies to find these special images?

Consider the minority that may actually know how to get that image out of the phone and get a “print” at Walgreens for a $1.99. It is even within the realm of distinct possibility that it is a good image. However, is it the best “forever” image to keep and show in a frame on your actual, real wall?

How is the light? How is the composition? Why do they look orange? Who is that in the background? That image that looks great on a 2″X4″ phone screen is actually blurred when blown up on a print… Is that a pimple?!

Oh my…

Take a step further and consider the same question for any photograph. “What’s the point?”.

“It is a moment” or “it is pretty” or “it is cool” are all perfectly valid. However, if there is any question as to keeping the image, displaying the image or even sharing that image then the question expands from “What’s the point?” to “What kind of image do I want?” or even “What is good enough?”.

Go even further and consider the images of yourself. Is that arm-length selfie really the best way to show off that milestone, memory or even that special outfit? Consider the image that is on a website such as “Linked-In” or any other profession related imaging. Perhaps you are even actively seeking a relationship and utilize sites such as “eHarmony” or “Match”… How important is that image that people see before they meet you?

Go further… To that image that is just for you or someone very special. That image of the family for the holidays to that image that is for the eyes of only a few. Is turning on the timer and propping the phone up with a salt shaker or perfume bottle and rushing into position really going to create the image you want to keep or give? Is it worth it, to you, to pay a little for something that is supposed to be really special?

And there it is… The concept of paying for something that is merely an arm’s length away.

Consider the very concept of paying for knowledge, skill, art, talent, lighting, equipment and the vision to put it all together with your personality and ideas. Not enough…?

Well… Consider buying shoes or a suit or a car or even a dinner out. They are just shoes so it doesn’t really matter, right? It is just that interview for a job you really want so the suit is no big deal..? The car. It is a motor and four wheels. Who cares? The dinner? It’s a first date so a burger at the first fast food box you pass should be just fine…

“What’s the point?” The point is that you consistently look for the best you can get. The style you want. The color or the wheels or the flavor is really important. Every day you make decisions and often spend a little more to to get something better.

Now the question is “Why…?” Why, if you want a photograph of something or someone special, would you not give it at least the same consideration as you would when choosing an outfit or a restaurant? Everybody has a kitchen. Does that mean that everyone is qualified to prepare the special meal you went out for? Everybody has a car. Does that automatically qualify everybody to climb behind the wheel and win the Daytona 500? For that matter, does it mean everyone can parallel park or use their turn signals correctly?

There are degrees of skill and talent in every profession and every job. We take our cars to our trusted mechanics. We don’t just buy any television, or, for this context, any “smartphone” with photo capabilities. We look and research and compare.

Especially when we are concerned about the result! The best TV we can get or the best phone deal we can get or the most knowledgeable mechanic…

So… Consider the “why” and “what’s the point?”. If those are answered with any degree of significance and the result is weighted with any degree of importance then shouldn’t the consideration for paying a little for that result be reasonable?

** Part Two – The Photographer | Can of Worms * Coming Soon **