This site is all about teaching you how to take better photographs on your own, but there are times when you need a professional to create something special…that canvas wall portrait of the family, the children, or best of all, individual portraits (easier to pass down in the years to come, as our children become parents). The reprint of the article below is a great example of why you don’t want to hire your sister’s best friend, that just bought a new camera and declared herself a photographer, to do the job. I know it’s hard to pass up that great deal of 500 images on a CD for $75, but you get exactly what you pay for! Way too many out of focus, poorly exposed images, and a bad experience for you and your children. Read through the tips here, and I promise you’ll be taking better shots yourself – for free! When it’s time for that serious portrait, hire a professional that really knows what they are doing.
A Slide Toward Mediocrity (reprinted from PPA Magazine December 2013 by Kalen Henderson)
It was only a matter of time. A former customer called me the other day for some advice. She had opted to have her annual family portrait taken by “a friend who has a nice camera and really wants to be a photographer.”
“You should see her work,” the client said. “Her Facebook page is absolutely beautiful. Her pictures are amazing.”
“Then what’s the problem?” I queried. “When I took the disc she gave me to Walmart to have prints made, the photographs came back all blurry, not like they looked on Facebook, “ she said. “I figure it’s a problem with Walmart’s printing and was hoping you could make the prints for me.”
Swallowing the temptation to say, “I told you so,” I agreed to take on the printing. She mailed me the disc, and I slipped it into my computer drive. Opening the images, I noted that the resolution was incredibly low on every one.
“I’m sorry, but the settings on the camera determine whether or not an image will look good as a print, and these can’t be printed much larger than a postage stamp, “ I explained.
“But she has so many “likes” on Facebook,” she said, exasperation in her voice. “I just don’t understand.”
I sympathized with her for a few days before the larger context hit me. We’re seeing a generation of hobbyists who want to be photographers and are gauging the quality of their work by the number of “likes” they receive on a social network. They’re not necessarily interested in putting in the work required to get their prints hanging on clients’ walls or earning PPA (Professional Photographers of America) merits for image excellence. They concentrate on conquering Instagram rather than the CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) exam.