Imagine, if you can, to when mobile phones were the size of house bricks. If they weren’t slowly roasting the side of someone’s head they were most probably on another twelve hour charge cycle. And let’s not even mention those belt holsters.
However, things have come along away since the 80’s/90’s, mobile phone technology hasn’t just jumped forward, it’s leapt, considerably. The modern day handset is now a super sleek design with the ability to take a great looking photograph with a mere jab of the finger.
But in a world where everyman and his dog can take impressive looking pictures with little technical know-how, is there still a place for those that still dare to call themselves ‘professional photographers’?
Well, call me biased but I believe, yes. And here’s why…
In an age where image is everything, your brand identity is what links you with your customers, so why wouldn’t you want it to be the best it can be? Understandably, the economic climate has seen budgets squeezed to within an inch of their life and it can seem hard to justify the price tag that comes with a seasoned pro, but remember, your public image is a direct reflection of who you are as a company and this should be consistent throughout every part of your business. Nothing is worse than setting up a great PR opportunity only for it chances of success to be scuppered because of a poorly taken photo.
One of the most recent examples of a textbook PR disaster involving a a poorly taken photograph was the infamous picture of Tony and Cherie Blair’s Christmas Card. The hilarious grimacing image is a classic example of ‘all the gear, no idea’.
Thanks to the rise of social media and websites such as BuzzFeed with their ‘listicle’ approach to news, the amount of a text seen on a page is now dwindling. In its place are images, video and gifs. It’s news for a new generation, in a digital age. Quite simply, people either don’t have time or now lack the attention span to read paragraphs of text, especially online. Nowadays people want the long and short of a story within seconds and this is placing ever more importance on that killer shot that could be the difference between you getting your business message across and well, not.
But there’s also a reason why photographers spend thousands of pounds on equipment. Sure your iphone6 is great for that selfie and in the hands of a few experts it can yield some remarkable results. But for your average press shot, nothing compares to a well-lit, perfectly focused photograph. It looks slick and professional and in return it makes you look slick and professional. I don’t think I’m alone when I say a dark, pixelated and cluttered photograph can speak volumes about your business ethos i.e. these people don’t know what they’re doing.
I asked a press photographer of 12 years, Matthew Stewart, if he thought there was still a place for professional photographers in today’s industry, he said: “Everyone has an iPhone these days and there is only so much you can do with it. If everyone used iPhone pics all companies images would have a similar look.
“Most pro photographers use high quality gear and know how to use that gear to get the best out of it. There’s no comparison between pro equipment and an iPhone, it’s like comparing racing a Formula one car with an F1 driver against your average car and average driver.
“Working as a photographer day in, day out, means it’s my job is to know what media outlets want to see. It’s this knowledge that I bring with me to every job and it can really make a difference when companies want a story to be picked up by newspapers and magazines.”
But a pricey piece of kit isn’t the only difference between a have-a-go-hero and an experienced professional. After all, anyone can pick up a camera and call themselves a photographer. What you are really paying for is peace of mind. Like most things in life, things don’t always go to plan and you’ll want someone who can adapt to the situation if anything changes. Perhaps the location you booked isn’t available anymore or maybe you’ve been given a shorter window of time than agreed. Whatever occurs, you’ll want a photographer who can roll with the punches. A good photographer will be able to adapt to new scenarios and use their creative flare and knowledge to consistently produce great results and get the best out of people. I believe it’s this creative direction that makes pro photographers worth every penny.
So don’t undo that next great PR opportunity by using a substandard photograph. This image may be the first point of contact between your business and potential customers, whether it be in a newspaper or online. Instead, stretch that budget, hire a pro and let it be the best it can be. You’ll reap the rewards in the long run.