A few months ago I asked my friends and family what keeps them from hiring a professional photographer. Some of their answers shocked me! From concerns about price to indifference about capturing memories, maybe you’ve believed a few of these myths yourself! Read on if you’re curious to see the truth behind these professional photography myths!
You’re not wrong! Here’s the thing though, the pockets carrying them don’t always belong to a photographer. Have you ever noticed that the candid pictures you’re tagged in on Facebook are pretty much never flattering? Don’t worry, that’s everyone! The reason behind that is that is because you’re thinking of the moment, not the lighting. If you visit the Eiffel tower at noon and take a selfie, you’re not thinking about the fact that the sun is directly overhead causing bright highlights on your forehead and deep shadows under your eyes! But when you take the photo, you notice that something is off. You don’t look your best and you’re not sure why that is!
On the left is a photo of me from Halloween dressed as Hillary Clinton and on the right is a professional photo of me by Courtney Carney. In the Halloween photo, my forehead, nose and cheekbones are all overexposed from the fluorescent lighting. My eye sockets are casting deep shadows that make me look tired and the background is busy. In the photo on the right, the lighting is even and my skin is properly exposed. My features maintain their detail instead of being distorted and the lighting is flattering and doesn’t settle in wrinkles or eye sockets. The background is soft, out of focus and non-distracting. Am I glad that someone captured this memory from the Halloween party? Absolutely! But am I glad that I hired a professional photographer for my wedding? 1000 times yes!
That brings me to my next point which is *fanfare* education! Even if you have the best photography equipment available, your photos won’t turn out the way you want them to if you aren’t educated as a photographer. I’m not saying that you can’t take a good photo. I’m saying that once you learn how to recognize and utilize certain lighting, your photos will suddenly be exceedingly better! When I first started out I thought it was all about pointing your camera at someone and making them smile in a pretty park. Boy was I wrong! The time and energy (not to mention $$$) you would need to put into education to take a great photo isn’t for everyone. That’s why photographers exist! We get to learn all the technical stuff so that all you have to do is show up, feel like a rockstar and leave with awesome, flattering photos that you can share for generations!
Above are examples of the same flower, in the same lighting, and same distance away, all unedited. The photo on the left was taken with my cell phone in default photo mode. You’ll notice that more of the background is in view and the entire image is in focus.
The middle photo was also taken with my cell phone but using portrait mode. I see people using this all the time and I will say, it’s a pretty cool feature! It mirrors the effect of higher end cameras shooting “wide open”. That’s a technical term that could be a blog post on it’s own but I’ll spare you. All you need to know is that it means your subject is in focus and the background isn’t. However, because this effect is only an imitation of the real thing, it has its downsides. It’s a little harder to see in this photo but if you zoom in, you’ll notice that the camera is only guessing where the edges of my subject are. It’s not a huge deal with a photo of a flower but on people, the effect always has a telltale look around the hair line that looks unnatural. Not to mention that if your image has any foreground (Ex: a person standing where you can see their feet), the foreground will also be blurry making it look like your subject is floating.
The image on the right was taken with my DSLR camera “wide open”. Notice how the focus naturally lands on my subject and gradually falls off for a cleaner look.
I’ll try not to get too technical here, I promise. DSLR cameras have the ability to shoot with the file format called RAW. RAW images are huuuuuuggggeee because they record a ton of information when the photo is taken. This amount of information allows lots of wiggle room for editing without compromising the quality of the image. Cell phones and point-shoot cameras don’t have the ability to shoot in RAW which means if you take a photo that’s a little too dark or a little too light, there’s not really anything you can do with it. Changing the exposure in that case would only ruin your already lower image quality. Low image quality can look grainy, over or underexposed, or blurry. If you try to print any photos larger than a 4×6 you’ll run into serious quality issues and most online printers won’t even accept those smaller files. I’ve had some of my DSLR photos blown up to poster size and they still maintain their detail thanks to RAW shooting!
I think this one that everyone can relate to. We all have bills and obligations that have to come first and that’s ok! I would never ask someone to choose photography if they are struggling to put food on the table but I would also hate for someone to miss out on capturing important memories because they don’t have the funds. For that reason, I’m always willing to work with my clients. Typical payment is 50% down to book your session and 50% immediately after shooting.
I will NEVER charge any hidden “gotcha!” fees. I’ve heard so many horror stories from clients who have paid their photographer $500+ to later find out that they don’t actually get any of their images unless they pay an addition fee that was conveniently never mentioned until after their session. I believe in full transparency. If you’re 9 months pregnant and you only have 10% down to book, just let me know. We can extend your payments as long as you need and I’ll never charge you interest. You may also be interested in my seasonal mini sessions! Instead of 45-90 minute sessions with a little bit higher price tags, mini sessions are only 15 minutes and $150!
When you book with me, you also get my comprehensive styling guide free of charge! The best tip that I can give is to stick with neutrals. They match everything which makes it it easy to look cohesive without being too matchy. I also have a few blogs on the subject and some great Pinterest boards!
Styling for beginners: https://randiidellephotography.com/2021/12/13/styling-for-beginners/
Advanced styling: https://randiidellephotography.com/2022/02/15/advanced-styling/
Family outfit inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/randiidelle/family-outfit-inspiration/
Couples outfit inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/randiidelle/couples-outfit-inspiration/
I’ve been guilty of this one myself so I completely understand but here’s the thing; life doesn’t wait. Your kids are growing up so fast that if you miss even just one year, everything changes. They grow half a foot, they no longer carry their blanket with them everywhere and their personalities are evolving! Most importantly, YOU are their parent. They don’t see “those extra 15 pounds” when they look at you. They see the person that they love most in the entire world and to miss out on capturing that connection because you’re feeling self conscious is such a shame! Everyone struggles with insecurity but I have an entire arsenal of flattering poses and know how to use lighting to make you look your very best!
That’s why I have families interact with each other to create REAL, genuine smiles that look totally candid. AND I’ve just started implementing a very short questionnaire before every session so that I know exactly what your kiddos are into and what makes them laugh! My last session had a little girl who was so serious and would not crack a smile until I started barking like a dog. Every person in the park was staring but I got that little girl to laugh and it was all worth it! I’ll do anything for a laugh so don’t worry that your husband is going to paste on his “cheeeeeeese” smile. 5 minutes in I’ll have the whole family cracking up!
The trick to this one is to schedule out as far in advance as possible. I get that everyone has different schedules and some may not know their schedule until the week of! Choosing a date months in advance gives everyone time to request that date off and any time off they may need for travel. If your best friend chose to have their wedding on a Wednesday at noon, wouldn’t you still be there? That’s because your best friend is a priority to you! If your family sees how important photos are to you and you can remind them how precious our time together is, they will make it a priority too!
Guys, there are so many hacks to this! I always give kiddos some time to warm up and get to know them. Even if they aren’t interested in taking pictures, they always love to play games! I have so many game ideas to get adorable, genuine smiles and pure personality! I’ve had so many moms tell me “I’ll be happy if you just get one photo” and then they get their images back and are blown away at how many smiles I was able to capture!
This one is no problem at all! As a natural light photographer, I’ve been to soooo many locations around Columbus and have a long list of options on hand! Even if you’re outside Columbus, I can scout locations online and make sure that you love wherever we choose!
If you have any reservations that I haven’t addressed, I would love to chat with you about them! Feel free to email me any time at Randiidelle@gmail.com but I hope that this blog has officially busted all of your professional photography myths!
Until next time,
Feb 28, 2022