The Top Reasons for Hiring a Professional Photographer or Videographer
In this article we will look at the top reasons why hiring a professional photographer or videographer will make a world of difference.
Use of lighting
Lighting is very important in photography and videography! This is especially true in real estate and wedding photography / videography. A camera does not see light and shadows the way humans do. In circumstances where there are extreme contrasts in lighting and shadows, cameras have the potential to “overexpose” the bright parts of the scene being captured such as those with lighter shades of gray, any parts with white color, sunshine, and indoor lighting sources, thus making them too bright in the resulting image or frame of video. Similarly, cameras can “underexpose” any dark parts such as dark shades of color and any shadows produced by objects that will be present in the captured results, thus making them too dark to be viewed. In either scenario, parts of the captured scene can be lost. For example, in wedding photography and videography, a bride’s dress may become so bright that it gets lost in the photo or video, and the groom’s black (or any other dark-colored) suit could become so dark that it loses its details in the resulting photo or video. Aside from being knowledgeable in the use of lens filters that can help reduce overexposure, professional photographers and videographers are good at fine-tuning cameras in order to find the right balance between showing the bright parts of the scene and the darker parts of it. This can be done by using the right combination of ISO (the camera’s sensitivity to light) a.k.a. gain on video cameras, shutter speed (the speed at which the camera’s shutter or “eyelid” is held open), and aperture (how wide the camera lens is open) a.k.a. iris on video cameras. These camera settings define how “bright” the photos or videos become by changing the amount of light captured and the camera’s sensitivity to this light. Correct use of these settings allows the professionals to highlight the most important parts of the photo or video. Furthermore, if required, a professional photographer or videographer is knowledgeable in using various techniques to expose the whole scene similar to the way our human eyes allow us to perceive different lighting conditions. For example, he or she can combine multiple photos or video frames exposed at different degrees or intensities into one photo or frame of video that shows all the bright and dark parts perfectly; this technique is known as High Dynamic Range imaging (HDR), which has recently become popular in the newer television screens on the market. Additionally, a professional photographer or videographer knows how to properly use artificial lighting such as flashes and continuous lighting, and he / she also knows how to guide light to different parts of the scene by using reflectors. Furthermore, professionals are experienced in manipulating lighting digitally in editing software to produce near perfect results.
Framing, focal point, depth of field, and sharpness in photos and videos
The focal point refers to the part of the photo or video frame that draws the viewers attention to itself; this is sometimes compared to “centre of interest” in fine arts, which can make artwork unique. Aside from the use of proper framing (what can be seen and where) in photos and videos, the depth of field can be used to change the focal point. Depth of field refers to parts of photos and video frames that are “sharp” and in focus. The pros know which combinations of camera lenses, camera settings i.e. aperture, manual focusing, and distance from the subject of the photo or video are needed to produce the desired results. For example, in product photography, you want to frame the product using the appropriate angle, height, and distance in order to represent it as true to life as possible. Furthermore, the entire parts of the product that are in the frame need to be in focus and sharp to show them off, and conversely, in order to replicate the depth of the product in traditional, 2D photography, the depth of field should be adjusted accordingly. In 3D photography, including virtual reality photography, various techniques and technologies can be used to replicate depth in the subjects; this merits another article on its own. In portrait photography, the person(s) or other subjects such as pets need to be in focus, while the background and any unnecessary objects in the foreground should be out of focus. In landscape photography and landscape scenes in videos, various wide-angle lenses (and sometimes fisheye lenses) are typically used to frame i.e. “squeeze in” as much of the scene as possible. Moreover, wide depths of field are usually used in scenic images and videos to show everything in as much focus as possible.
White balance and color representation
In modern photography and videography, true-to-life color representation of the subject(s) is very important. Conversely, in fine art photography, the aim is to capture what the artist sees through the use of a camera, which is just another tool in his or her toolbox. Similar to fine art photography, most cinematic and any mood-altering videos and photos use the process of color grading to alter and enhance the colors of the photos and video footage. In this article, we will focus on the former. Cameras use white balance to produce different “color temperatures” i.e. cold (bluish tint) and warm (yellowish tint) temperatures. Cold temperatures are used to give the image or video a sombre feeling, and warmer temperatures are used to portray warm, happy moods. The aim of true-to-life photography is to find the correct color balance in order to accurately show any white parts of the image as pure white, hence the term "white balance" has been adopted by the industry. Professional photographers and videographers are knowledgeable in using the correct lighting temperatures whether the light source is produced artificially or naturally, and sometimes both. The camera settings are adjusted accordingly and, often, artificial lighting such as flashes, continuous lights, video lights, etc. are used to “drown out” light produced at any undesired temperatures in order to achieve the correct white balance in the photos and videos.
Capturing perfect photos and video footage at the right time!
Aside from any formal schooling and training, professional photographers and videographers have a lot of experience in capturing photos and videos, and they rarely make any major mistakes. Therefore, it is important to hire professionals to shoot photos and videos of events, since once a specific event such as a corporate party or a wedding is over, one cannot simply reshoot the original event, if unrecoverable mistakes have been made. Time and time again, we hear stories of couples who are very unhappy with the quality of their wedding photos and video by taking a risk and asking an “uncle” with a professional camera or an amateur photographer / videographer to shoot the event. Simply having a better camera does not produce better photos and videos; skill and experience are a must! Again, although it is possible to retake some pictures such as bride and groom pictures, it is infeasible and mostly impossible to recreate the real wedding or any other event once the original event is over. Furthermore, having to hire a professional photographer or videographer to recreate any photos or videos will require the requestor to pay for the additional investment on top of any sum of money that was paid to the original amateur photographer or videographer!