As a professional photographer I hear all the time “I have a digital camera; can take the pictures myself. Why should I pay you?” In fact I was speaking to a potential client yesterday who said exactly that. He is a retired developer who started out as a painter doing very high end residential painting. He has been known to charge as much as $25,000 or more to paint a New York apartment. He understands the idea of a high end service, but more importantly he understands the need for high quality work.
As with painting high quality photography can save you a lot of money in the long run. In the short term, when done correctly and done at the right time, it can make you money too. As my client pointed out it may take him weeks to prepare a space to be painted and painted properly. Some say why bother? The prep work isn’t seen “once you slap a coat of paint over it.” That is sometimes true, for a little while. Over time the lack of preparation can allow heat and moisture to affect the paint and how the paint binds to the surface eventually leading to discoloration, pealing and flaking. Then the prep work, or lack of it, does matter; the initial job may look OK, not fabulous, but OK and the overall quality begins to suffer. Before you know it you have to strip away the ‘old’ paint and start over.
My clients (not this one though) will ask why I need to survey a space before I shoot, or they ask why I can’t just go in a take a few shots and call it done? Sure I can do that but in time, most likely a rather short time, the images will lose their appeal and become dated, dull, and boring. Yet if I prepare for a shoot properly and I work to capture a timeless image I can create an image that will still wow people 100 years from now. Unlike a painter though, my preparation can easily go unnoticed.
There are thousands, maybe millions of professional photographers. But quality photographers are a bit more rare and they almost always are more expensive in the beginning. A quality photographer will spend time, years often, preparing for your photo shoot. Those years are spent learning composition, tone, looking at all the details of an image, the shadows, and most importantly, studying light.
Learning light is the hardest thing there is in photography. It is also probably the most important thing we can learn. I can go into a thousand words and not even scratch the surface of light but photography is the art of capturing light. To capture it you have to understand it and understand how it works; how light and the lack of light affect the subjects you are trying to capture. Learning light takes time and more importantly it takes the ability to see light differently than most people. That is the beginning of the preparation.
Preparation for capturing the image you want and/or need is a matter of taking those years of learning light and composition and incorporating that into generating the image that will be as timeless as possible.
So how does this save you money? We, just like the quality painter whose work need not be done time and time again and will last for a good long time, so shall your images when done by a quality photographer. The images you will get from a quality photographer will do that as well: they will last a very long time. If the right image is created for you it can represent you and your company for years to come. This means that you will hire a photographer less often, though it may be a bit more money in the beginning, the timeless image will not need to be reproduced every six months, a year or more.
So what of the images that need to be created more regularly? How can quality save you money in that case? Simply put they represent your products, your services and ultimately you. Those images that need to be created regularly can be done at a more cost efficient rate when you chose one quality photographer. That person can streamline the process and produce the images you need regularly and reliably. If the quality of their services is consistent, so is your reputation. And what costs more to recreate than your reputation?
Those that value quality, hire it.