Can we talk just a minute about quantity vs. quality?
I'll be honest, for somethings I am definitely a quantity girl. I'd rather have a sack of McD's cheeseburgers than a fancy shmancy truffle burger. I'd rather have a bag of Hershey's kisses than a couple of Godiva truffles. It's all about what you value. I value photography and photos more than most things in life. Some people don't care about it at all.
So when it comes to pictures, quantity or quality...that is the question. I say, "Why not both?" Why shouldn't we have heaps of images? We have cell phones with amazing cameras in hour hands literally all the time. Why not take selfies, pictures of your loved ones, a beautiful sunset, your pets, or a delicious plate of food? Print those suckers out and frame them or put them in albums. They are all precious memories that encompass the happy, sad, crazy, silly, peaceful and exciting moments of our lives. My only word of warning is don't be so focused on pictures that you forget to be in the moment. You can take a huge, astounding amount of photos. You can have quantity with your cell phone, your point and shoot, or your "good camera". You don't need a professional photographer to get quantity.
Why, though, have we forgotten about quality, excellence and personal service? Come on, tell the truth...do you truly need 150 images of your child? Hundreds of similar poses, different outfits, mostly mediocre shots, with 1 or 2 hidden gems in there? Do you want 148 images on a disc and only 2 worthy of printing? Perhaps you do, and that's cool. But maybe photography is something you value greatly. You might want to seek out a photographer who wants to create a handful of truly unique and special fine art pieces, just for you. Pictures you want to print on giant canvases and hang on your wall. Pictures you want to display in your home. When you hire me, I'm not just a person with a "nice camera" who shoots all willy nilly with not much thought or attention to detail. I plan and visualize your session, communicate with you and guide you through the preparation to make your session a success. We will not copy cliched Pinterest shots, nor will we copy the work of other photographers. At the shoot I'll find the best light, pose you the most flattering way, tell you what to do with your hands. I'll direct you to interact with me or your family to elicit emotions and create connections. Then I'll press the shutter. And that's just the beginning. After your session, I'll cull your images down to the very best, then edit each one individually. I look at every detail, every stray hair, every twig. I'll remove distractions, I'll smooth blemishes and wrinkles. More importantly, I will enhance the color and light present in the image. In doing so, I will transform a snapshot into a piece of art. You won't get 150 "meh" images, but you will get a select gallery of impeccably edited images. I don't want you to pay me to do what you can do yourself; I want you to make an investment in my art, created for you, that only I can do. I'm not saying other people can't take awesome pictures, but if you hire me, you're hiring my artistic vision, my perspective, my knowledge and my experience. Those things are unique to me, just as they are unique to other wonderful photographers.
Not everyone values photography the same. People have different budgets. There are literally photographers everywhere who can give you what you want at different price points. You should hire your photographer based on their technique, style and vision, as well as the amount of money you want to spend. I may charge more than some photographers and less than others. You might love my images or you might love someone else's. Ultimately, I want clients to come to me because they love my art, my voice, my style. I want them to come to me because they want the things that are unique to me. I want my clients to see the value of a quality gallery, with breathtaking images. I hope that I have the opportunity to create for you some day.
Just for fun, I shot a few images to illustrate the difference between what you can do yourself, what high quantity galleries often look like, and what I can do for you.
First, here is an undirected, unedited selfie of my beautiful model, Bailey. She is gorgeous with no filters, just the way she is. Would you look at those eyes and lips. Good grief. This was taken with an iPhoneX. Most people have access to cell cameras with nearly unlimited storage. You could take 300 of these and use online or print them out. And you should.
This next image is a photo I took with a cheap Canon point and shoot with no editing. Still a beautiful picture of Bailey. If you have a point and shoot camera, you can take millions of these. Memory cards are very affordable. I believe you should take as many pictures of your loved ones as possible (until they get tired of posing).
This next image was shot with my Canon Mark IV with a 135 L lens (which is considered professional equipment). This time I edited the image with an overall action, which just means I clicked a button and it applied overall color toning on the whole image. You might notice that everything in the image has a brownish/orangeish tone. It's pretty quick and easy. There are lots of photographers who process pictures in this way and because it's fairly simple, they can process 150 images to give you on a disc. There's nothing wrong with it, if that's your style and preference.
This last image is the very same shot as above, except I hand edited it. I cloned out some distracting things in the background. I manipulated and enhanced the light. I individually color toned the different parts of the image, like the grass, the trees, the flowers, the sky, her jeans, the flowers on her shirt. I added rays of light. I probably did other stuff that I don't remember. The point is that I treated this image kind of like a digital painting, working by hand on all the individual elements. This type of editing is typical of my style. It sometimes takes a long time to edit a single image, but I enjoy making images look dreamy and idealized. You can tell that Bailey looks the same in all the images. She looks like herself, but the image is just a little more polished. When people hire me for pictures, they may not get 150 images on a disc. I prefer to give the fewer, yet impeccable images, that are classic and timeless.
I'd like to thank my sweet, beautiful model for being up for anything, even though before the session, she almost stepped on a snake in my garage. Never fear--I took care of the snake. My goal in writing this article is to educate potential clients, whether they are mine or someone else's. Whether you value quantity, quality, or both, you can find the right photographer for you in your price range, and you should most definitely use your camera. Remember, the best camera is the one you have with you. <3