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Your most precious memories are best remembered not only in your head but also in photographs which will last for generations to come. You will never be able to verbally describe an event or person as clearly as a photograph can, but despite our best efforts and intentions, sometimes our amateur photographic skills fail us when we need them the most. Hiring a professional photographer will ensure that your special occasions will be safely preserved on film or digitally long after the initial memories have faded.
The Washington Post newspaper in America defines a professional photographer as “anyone who earns more than 50% of his or her annual income from photography”. From this definition, it is clear where the line is drawn between an amateur hobby photographer and one who makes his or her living from this medium. In order to earn an income from taking photographs, it is implicit that the person behind the lens has a strong creative side which is supported by skill, training, knowledge and experience of the camera to produce clear and sharp pictures in any given situation.
Photography involves more than simply pointing a camera lens at the subject and clicking the shutter. One has to take into account technical aspects such as film and shutter speed, lighting, colour saturation, distance and subject movement. When using analogue cameras for extremely high definition pictures, the photographer is responsible for the development of the film, as well as producing different effects by controlling the chemical components during the development process. This is an art which takes skill, experience and a very creative approach.
Digital cameras do not use film. The photographs are downloaded directly onto computers where there are a number of software programs available to manipulate the image in order to produce a vast array of special effects such as sepia tones, black and white, faded images, enhanced colour, deliberate blurring, etc. Of course, one should never forget Photoshop, which is used extensively in fashion photography, and which can be used to correct a wide range of imperfections on the finished photograph.
Each professional photographer will have his or her own strengths and specialist areas, as well as being skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of photography. For instance, you will find photographers who advertise portraiture, or those who excel in spheres such as weddings, fashion, flowers and plants, sports, action, news, travel or nature, to name but a few. Wedding photographers, in particular, have the experience and skill to capture unusual and personal photographs of the bride and groom which reflect their relationship and personalities within a very intimate setting.
Wildlife photographers have to have a great deal of patience in order to capture a particular shot, since animals cannot be posed, and hours, days or even weeks of patient and silent observation may be required to film an award-worthy picture which captures the essence of the animal itself. News photographers, on the other hand, have to be on the scene in often dangerous situations and able to capture pictures very quickly and clearly at the moment incidents happen. Who will ever forget the pictures taken on the day that President John F Kennedy was fatally shot in Dallas, or when the Twin Towers in Manhattan were attacked and collapsed, or when Nelson Mandela was elected as President? It is photographs such as these which form part of our visual history and are passed down through generations. All of us can think of at least one photograph which has told an entire story in one single image. For these moments captured so precisely and clearly on film, we can thank professional photographers.
When choosing a photographer for your special event, be sure to concentrate on those whose style and experience suit your requirements. The best recommendation is often by word of mouth, but this is not always possible. Professional photographers can easily be found through adverts placed in magazines, catalogues and on the internet, and all of them will have portfolios which showcase their previous work for different clients. A photographer who has been in the business for a long time will have a wide range of clients and events which he or she has covered. From these, you will be able to gauge the style and mood of the photographs and see if this suits your requirements. Many photographers now have their own websites showcasing their work and reviews from their clients. Please check their reviews for client satisfaction, including speed of post-event service and presentation of the photographs. After all, you don’t want to wait for weeks or months after the event before you receive your pictures! Uptasker is a valuable resource when looking for professional photographers and checking their online reviews.
When choosing a photographer to record your special event, make sure that you are working with a professional who is able to record the occasion accurately and in a style which suits your expectations. Be prepared to listen to advice and guidance from this specialist, then hand over the artistic reins and leave him or her to handle the photography whilst you enjoy the function without worry. For more tips see our photographer articles.