The Importance of Hiring a Professional Photographer

This morning I stumbled across a blog post from Artifact Uprising that encouraged me to talk with you all about hiring a professional photographer for important life events.

A lot of the time we are given conflicting messages. Spend time with your kids, but capture every moment of their life with the camera.

Do these people understand what they are asking you to do?

I spent a lot of time in a college art history class discussing with other students about how taking pictures alienates you from an event.

My life is a prime example. I am a quiet, shy person. I hate going to events where I don't know people. Sometimes I hate going to events where I do know people. I hate being expected to talk when I feel like I have nothing to say and nothing to add to the conversation. So what do I do? It really depends on the situation. I love to just ignore the world and play on my cell phone. I'm comfortable with my phone -- with facebook, twitter, and instagram. I don't have to pretend to be outgoing or pretend like I have something to say.

But then there are other situations when using a phone is not acceptable. At murder mystery parties or weddings, I simply pull out my camera. With my huge lens, the camera, itself, is impressive enough to spark conversations. Beyond that, no one expects me to speak. I can hide behind my lens and just snap, snap, snap. . .until it is time to go. Afterwards, everyone gets on facebook, looks at the images, and applauds me for a job well done. They feel like I was part of the event.

I hate to tell them this, but no, I was not part of the event. I don't mind not taking part in the event, because I enjoy taking pictures. I enjoy not having to worry about interacting. I sit there and stare at a bouquet, manipulating it and moving it, playing with my depth of field and iso until I can get a shot that is just perfect. Perhaps I was interacting with the bouquet, but I was not interacting with the people at the event. . .or at least not to the full degree that I am capable of.

When you plan your wedding or other life event, I want you to think about what I have said. Yes, there is a time and a place to capture moments on film (or digitally). The biggest question you have to ask yourself is: how involved do I want to be in that moment? Do you want to be talking with your family and friends or do you want to be focusing on getting that perfect shot? What about when you ask others to take pictures for you? Do you want them to get the perfect shot? If they are focused on getting the perfect shot, they aren't going to be spending time with family and friends. You are excluding them, whether or not you intend to.

This is why I advocate hiring a professional photographer for life events. It isn't fair when family and friends ask you to take pictures at events for free (or really charge, either). Because the photographer is behind his/her camera, they are going to miss something vital. It could be anything, something, or nothing that the photographer misses. The point is: do you really want that someone to miss that moment because of you? If Aunt Jean dies tomorrow, how will you feel knowing that the last chance to interact with her was at that party when you were out taking pictures?

Spend time with those you love. Hire a professional. Don't ask friends and family to do something you aren't willing to do yourself.

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