Choosing a Professional Photographer
Everyone has a camera nowadays, but photography is about more than what camera you own. It takes a lot of time, effort, experience, and skill to make a good image. Here are some thoughts on what goes into a good photograph, and what you should look for in choosing a photographer for your portraits, events, and weddings.
You Can't Be In Two Places At Once
There are certain practical limitations, like time and money. Life would be easier with cloning, right? You could send yourself out for pizza, or write that TPS report while simultaneously playing with the kids . Unfortunately, in the real world you're stuck with one body, which means you can't be running around your own party taking pictures while also entertaining guests, worrying about food, etc. Hiring a professional can seem like a big unnecessary expense, but if you're already throwing a big event, it might not be that much more to commit to doing it right.
Relax, Uncle Ted
Everyone has a shutterbug in their circle. Let's call him Uncle Ted. He brings his fancy camera to every event, takes great pictures, and shares them willy nilly. You really want to save money, so you've considered asking him to bring his camera and be the DPN (Designated Photo Nerd) at your party. But it's a family reunion, and Ted's on the guest list. He hasn't seen Great Aunt Ella in years. You realize that asking him this favor might make it harder for him to enjoy the party.
I think this is a very common situation. There are two solutions: ask another friend else who is not on the guest list, or ask a complete outsider (ie a pro). You don't have to worry about asking favors or mixing business with friendship if you hire the pro.
Maybe Uncle Ted will say he REALLY WANTS to be the DPN, but many hosts tell their Uncle Ted (whoever that is for them) to leave his camera at home and enjoy the party. It's a kind of correlate to You Can't Be in Two Places at Once, but applied to others instead of yourself. It's the mark of a good host, and your Uncle Ted will probably tell you how much he was able to enjoy his chat with Aunt Ella.
The 10,000-Hour (Malcolm Gladwell) Rule
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote that about 10,000 hours are required to achieve mastery of something. It takes a lot of time and practice to develop an artistic eye and technical competency with your gear. Do you want someone with years of experience in photography, lighting, image processing, and Photoshop? Or do you want to teach yourself photography, take the photos, and then process them yourself while struggling to learn new software (which might cost a few hundred dollars)?