From time to time I hear people complaining about how much their wedding photographer cost or I will give someone a price for a photo session and you never hear from them again. Everyone seems to have the Uncle Bob who picked up Canon or Nikon DSLR kit from Costco and now they are a "photographer" and we all have cell phone cameras.
While your cell phone and Uncle Bob's DSLR camera can shoot some great pictures. The range in which that can get great pictures is small. Lighting needs to be just right and the subject needs to be still when you take the picture. You are at the discretion of the camera to process those pictures, adjust the white balance and pick the right thing to focus on.
So why are professional photographers so expensive when cameras so inexpensive? There are several reasons for it. A good professional photographer shoots in one of the manual modes on their camera. They adjust the shutter speed, f stops and ISO to get the desired results when they push the button. There are always tradeoffs when you are making adjustment to the camera. If it is a little dark, the ISO goes up so you can keep the shutter speed fast and the pictures are not blurry. But with a higher ISO, your picture could become grainy. A professional photographer will know the limits of their camera and where they can make the tradeoffs without sacrificing the quality of the picture.
It has been said may times that better and more expensive equipment does not make a better photographer, but that is not necessarily true. If the photographer does not know how to compose a picture and light it correctly the best equipment in the world is not going to make them a good photographer. But, professional grade equipment will allow a photographer to shot in harsh conditions and still get a good picture. Glass lenses over plastic lenses will give you a brighter more vibrant picture. As with any tool, better quality lenses will focus faster and more accurately. There is a reason a mechanic uses Snap-On tools over the generic tools that you can buy Target.
A professional photographer will always shoot in RAW. RAW is a digital negative. RAW pictures must be post processed just like pictures from a film camera before they can be delivered to the customer. Most photographers use either Lightroom or Photoshop. Both programs are created by Adobe. A RAW picture gives the photographer much more range to correct and adjust a picture over and JPG picture created by a cell phone and Uncle Bob's DSLR in "Program" mode. However, post processing has gone way beyond what could be done with a film negative. While the phrase " that pictures have been photoshopped” has become a somewhat negative statement. Good photographers use Photoshop to fix small imperfections that exist in every picture to make it more appealing.
Look at the two pictures below. The first picture is straight out of the camera with no adjustments and that second has been Photoshopped. Can you tell the difference? The first pictures is perfectly acceptable straight out of the camera. Most people would think nothing of the little distractions in the picture. besides adjusting the white balance and the exposure. The leaves have been removed, the stains in the sidewalk are gone, the dent in the corrugated sheet metal has been removed and the bushes have been trimmed. They are all small things, but removing them keeps your eye on what is important, the bride and groom.
Professional photographers are continually honning their craft. We buy new equipment to help us craft the right look for the picture we are trying to get, and we spend at least two to three times the amount of time to process the pictures we took as it did to take them.
So when you ask yourself why do we cost so much, look at what is done in the process to give you the best quality pictures.