I remember in the early 2000’s one of my best clients called me with news. She explained how sorry she is because they no longer need my services. The company bought a digital camera.
During this time, it was not uncommon to hear such stories. It set off a wave of panic in the photography community. However, over time, as more business purchased digital cameras they realized their photography didn’t match the professional work. Placing their employee or product against a wall with fluorescent top-light didn’t look as good as the professional photographers images.
It took time. Eventually many of my clients came back after realizing it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.
Digital technology has both decreased the necessity to hire a professional photographer for some types of photography, yet increased the need for great images. A good amateur can take on some of the company photography needs, such as event and documentary work. However, the need for quality images is greater than ever in the history of photography. Websites, advertising, marketing, public relations and social media all need regular fresh imagery.
Why Do People Still Hire Photographers?
Below are seven reasons why people still hire photographers and will continue in to the future.
Time: This is a big reason. Although digital technology lowers the barrier to good photography, it has also lowered the barrier to other skills too. Professionals hire photographers because they don’t have time to do everything. Photographing distracts them from their core duties.
Style: It doesn’t mater if you are a family or corporation in need of imagery, it takes time to learn the photography skills which appeal to you. A photographer with a unique or pleasing style to their images attracts new clients. This is because the photographer has skills they do not; even with powerful technology available at their finger tips.
Convenience: Like the time answer, sometimes it’s nice to have someone else available to take the load off your plate. People pay for the luxury to place the pressure on someone else’s shoulders. This is true for both corporate professionals and family members.
I like attending weddings, especially when no one asks me to take a few photographs at the event. Most members of a family want to enjoy the event, not work it.
Reputation: Not your reputation, the clients. When a client hires a professional, they take the responsibility of creating quality imagery off their shoulders. However, their reputation is now on the line for selecting the right photographer. This is why building relationships is so important. Clients will hire you again, if you make them look good.
Technology: Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. People can’t keep up on the new opportunities, styles and methods of creating visual imagery. New equipment, lighting, video, virtual reality, panoramas, cinemagraphs, gifs and powerful software give photographers who keep up an edge.
Trust: I know it doesn’t seem like it, yet, most people can tell the difference between professional and amateur images (study). Lighting, composition, the experience and gut instinct as to when to press the shutter button does make a difference. Based on my experience, when a website, advertisement or marketing campaign uses professional imagery people instinctively trust the photograph more. This trust transfers and reflects on the company (just like bad imagery).
Money: Good photography helps companies make money.
I kept the last one simple because, honestly, that is all that needs to be said. If you can successfully share this idea with businesses owners, it lowers the barrier and your rate is less of an issue. It’s important for your career to be able to tell this important story of photography.
The same is true with family photography. A great photograph is how people remember you and your family for years. Seniors want to look like they belong on the cover of a magazine or CD (or MP3). Brides want family and friends to know and remember they were a princess for a day. Families want everyone to believe they are living the perfect family life.
A good photographer has the skills to make it happen.
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