My uncle has a camera…

This post is to explain the difference between your uncle and a professional photographer and yes, there might be some little differences. I am aware that just about every second person has a camera, and so does their phones and you are more than welcome to bet your professional modelling career, wedding, business brochures and website, basically all the important events on your uncles camera. For this blog I took your wedding as an example, but it can be anything important.

  • Equipment: a professional photographer’s equipment includes at least two cameras (in case of technical failure) most likely more, lighting equipment, soft boxes, reflector boards, quite a few different lenses, and usually takes more than a few years to accumulate. This (very expensive) equipment helps to not only to do the job, but to do it perfectly every time. Just by the way, equipment like this also needs to be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis and is a permanent expence, just to explain prices of photography to you.
  • Eye: It is not the camera that takes the photos, it’s me. Becoming a professional photographer takes quite a few years of practice, hard work, facial angles, body types, technical reading and in my case, a degree. This is not my hobby, it’s my job and I do take it very seriously.
  • Experience: working on photography jobs regularly means that a professional photographer has probably dealt with specific situations before and knows how to handle different lighting situations, like the difference between the indoor church and outside sunset. And also your mother in law/ aunt/ best friend who wants to dictate everyone.
  • An assistant or two: While your uncle will be outside chatting to the cousin he has not seen in years, my assistant/s will have taken more photos than he probably took in the whole wedding. This will include guests, behind the scenes, decorations etc. You know, the little details that you pay by the hour for or had specially made or printed. For your modelling portfolio, if your photos look like they were taken in you back yard, you will not get any jobs!
  • Technical knowledge. Not a day goes by that a photographer does not read about new techniques, equipment and trends. Ever seen those yellow photos in church, silhouettes on the beach, photos black around the edges etc. Yes, you know what I’m taking about! Well, the professional photographer actually knows how not to make those mistakes.
  • RAW: Shooting in RAW photo format instead of JPEG means you can blow your photos up to billboard size, they will not pixelate or become blurry.
  • Processing. After your wedding it might take about 3-5 weeks of processing to get your photos print ready. This includes not only perfect colour management, but also cutting that weird guy out of the background of at least 20 of your favourite photos. This also includes getting your photos ready for print, which might sound like a small thing, but it’s not.

What is going to happen between your uncle and you? Well that’s quite easy to answer. You are going to ask him to take your wedding photos and he will probably remember to grab the camera on the way to your wedding. You’re going to place him under enormous strain for a job he can not do, does not know the scope of and can not process afterwards. You’re going to end up with poorly exposed photos, a lot of your guests backsides and quite a few hours of your wedding will be missing, because he was drinking at the bar. Your relationship with your uncle will probably never be the same.

But that’s all ok, though. As I understand most people nowadays get married at least twice and you can always have great photos of your second wedding.

Just by the way, if your uncle was advanced enough to take such important photos you would have said: “My uncle is a great photographer,” and I might have believed you.

Till next time

Elsofie

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