Photographers...Professional photographers. What classifies a photographer as a "Professional"? I can sit here and tell you how I've had images on display in Galleries from Berlin, Germany to New York City, New York. Does this make me a professional? Sadly, no I don't believe it does. I may boast about competitions my images have won, still doesn't make me a professional. Photography has been a major interest of mine over the past 30 years. I've kept up on galleries, equipment trends that include locations, editing styles, color schemes. Simply put, does any of this make me a professional?
What about a photographers experience? Does experience determine the rating of professional or amateur? Is your ability to produce a quality image dependent on the amount of time your shutter clicks? No, in my opinion the amount of time you hold a camera doesn't determine your professional rating.
What determines it? Well, I'm glad you asked. It is a very dynamic thing that varies from client to client, because of this I will cover my four most important things to being a professional photographer you want to work with and that you can count on.
The four most important things are: Feeling, Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction and Image quality. How do you measure this? A good rule of thumb, if you feel as though you just spoke with or are speaking with an old friend during your consultation, then the odds are you have found a photographer invested if your desired outcome. This covers one of the four, Feeling.
Feeling - Your gut is the best judge of character and let us be honest, we [consumers] can usually tell when someone is in a profession for money or if someone is in a profession for passion. Passion maketh the photographer!
Customer Experience - Contrary to popular belief, your experience and satisfaction are clearly defined categories. Your experience is the process of discussing the shoot, what you're looking for, interests or specifics and demeanor during the shoot. Was the photographer able to make you comfortable during discussion? Were you nervous when the shoot started and soon forgot about everything and just followed what the photographer instructed while enjoying yourself? The young graduate above was soooo nervous when we first met up and it took minutes to have her at-ease and smiling through the shoot, achieving fun candid photos as well as her desired traditional graduation style.
More of her photographs can be found if you click here Don't be afraid, a good photographer will coach you and make you feel comfortable about the process.
Customer Satisfaction - The aftermath, the end state, was your intent or desire achieved. This is possibly the most important of the four. At the end of the day, the cost is always justified by the end product. If a photographer is not able to hear and comprehend your intent or desire, they will not be able to accomplish what you truly wanted. Again, passion maketh the photographer!
Image Quality - This is a focal point of my work. I strive to create the best images
from composition during the shoot to adjustments in post processing (editing). Take a look at the image to the right.
When you look at this image it is cold, bland, flat. There isn't a high amount of color or interest. It is almost down or depressing. This client wanted a warmer shoot, interest, fantasy, involvement. This was all taken into consideration during the shoot.
Now, take a look at the finished product in the lower left. Do you see a difference? Absolutely you do! The final product was envisioned during the shoot and photographed with intent.
This image brings atmosphere, color, interest, FANTASY, intrigue, beauty, warmth. There is a drastic difference here and this will vary from photographer to photographer. I strive to find images that make you pause and say "WOW!". Images that make you stop and analyze, make you think.
Nothing matters at the end if you're not happy with how the final images came out. Have your emotions captured, were you comfortable with the photographer, do you feel as though you were listened to and do you feel what you wanted was achieved? Just off these four simple things, you can determine if your photographer is a true professional. If you found this blog helpful and want to stay up to date, please join my mailing list! If you or someone you know is looking for a photographer in/near Colorado Springs and want to discuss your options, then click the button below.
"Passion maketh the photographer" ~ Chris Andrade