PRO PHOTOS ARE WHAT GET DRAMATIC RESULTS
By Bill Dobbins
IMAGES THAT MATTER
Want people to notice you? Want to be famous? Trying hard to market your image on websites and social media? Are you images all over Facebook? OK – then why isn’t this working? Why isn’t the world paying the attention to you that is deserved? Maybe it’s because the photos you post are too mediocre. Or just plain suck. Perhaps it’s because the are billions (literally) of photos being uploaded to the Web and yours just get lost in the “noise.”
And perhaps what you need is better photos. By better photographers. Who are professionals – therefore expect to be paid.
For photography, one of the problems is the invention of the fool-proof digital camera. Using this type of equipment, almost anybody can shoot adequate, reasonably okay photos. They focus and set exposure automatically, so if the subject is at all interesting the result is an image that is acceptable. A young model looks at photos like this and is excited – because it’s of her! But just because she is happy, and her friends and family like the picture, doesn’t mean it is going to make any real impact out there on the Internet competing with so many, many, many other photos.
LOST IN THE “NOISE”
Think about it – if photos shot by somebody who happens to own a digital camera were that effective, the major ad agencies and fashion magazines would use pictures like this instead of paying thousands of dollars to professional photographers. But in fact when the public sees advertising or promotional images of Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Kate Moss or Heidi Klum they are usually photographs done by expert professionals and then post-processed by retouchers and Photoshop experts. Not digital snapshots by relative amateurs. (Not counting Paparazzi, of course. A different category.)
Some photos are “better” than others in that they grab your attention and stick in your memory. They are more interesting and compelling and they evoke an emotional reaction. Certain photographers are able to achieve this on a regular basis, just as some songwriters and musical artists are more successful than others when it comes to creating hits. Anybody can point a camera, click the shutter and rarely, every once in a while, create a really effective image. But you can’t depend on them to do this. You can’t really expect this to happen very often.
A professional photographer, on the other hand, is expected to create effective images on a regular basis. Not every photographer is 100% successful, some are better (or much better) than others and there are so many kinds of photography, so many different subjects, that a photographer is usually much more effective making some kind of images than others. If you want food photos, you seek out a food photographer. Hire a wedding photographer to capture your wedding. And not every pro shooter is going to be equally good at things like fashion, beauty, products – or dramatic body shots.
EVERYONE LOVE TO SHOOT PRETTY GIRLS
What is almost never going to be satisfactory is working with somebody who has learned to use a digital camera and wants to shoot photos of pretty girls. And is willing to shoot those photos for free. There are good reasons to shoot for free in some cases. For example, a photographer need certain kind of images to build up a portfolio. Or knows a way to market them to earn income – such as publishing in a magazine. In some cases, the model herself is so famous or special or unusual that the image seems worth shooting just to have it. But in most cases, photographers need to make a living and if they are good enough to provide photos that actually do you any good in terms of marketing your image and making you more famous, they deserve to be paid,
Of course, when it comes to the fitness business, there are an increasing number of photographers who charge for photo shoots. Again, some photographers are better than others. You really need to look at a photographer’s work in comparison to others. To his (her) track record. Also, there is the matter of ethics. Some photographers promise you copies of images you never get. Or use or publish them in ways you never agreed to. There are lots of stories of models getting ripped-off by photographers. You can’t protect yourself totally, but you can be aware and be careful. When in doubt, get it in writing. That can help in some cases.
Just remember, in this age of billions of images, how good your photos are can make all the difference. So you need the best images possible and should expect to have to pay for them – unless the photographer has some clear purpose in working with you on a trade basis.
The old saying is still true: You get what you pay for.