Back in the days and I am talking about up to mid-late 90’s, we had film cameras that were the only means available for capturing photographs. And we had hand held video cameras that recorded video on tape drives.
While point and shoot film cameras were not that expensive to purchase, taking photographs and sending them over to a studio for hard copies was a time consuming and expensive affair. It would take anywhere between 2 to 7 days from taking an picture to being able to have a look at it. If one wanted to have hard copies earlier they had to pay a premium rate to the studio.
I have had experiences during those days where I thought I took some awesome pictures only to discover that I had my finger on the camera flash for some important pictures and those pictures looked smokey when the prints were out. Since I got the prints after a week, the moment had passed and there’s nothing I could do to correct my mistake.
A professional photographer at that time charged for his time, experience, travel costs and the cost for developing the film as well as using photo albums for organizing the pictures(optional).
It was highly recommended those days to have a professional photographer take pictures at important occasions. We needed someone reliable, who knows the trade, would be able to capture moments as they happen and be able to process the film negatives to develop images.
The same is true even today, although we all possess camera phones that could churn out really good pictures, the quality of the photograph depends to a large extent on how good the person taking the photograph is and how serious he or she is in covering the event. If it’s your friend or cousin wouldn’t you want that person to be in the photographs as well, wouldn’t you want that person to enjoy that event and be part of the celebration?
A professional photographer is a person that you hire to ensure that you get the best pictures at an event while you and your guests have all the fun. The photographer doesn’t need to be in the pictures or be part of the celebration, all the photographer has to do is click pictures and capture moments that you’ll cherish forever.
While a professional photographer today uses a digital camera and hence doesn’t have any costs associated with developing the film, professional photographers extensively use image editing paid software to edit images and make them look awesome. These days there’s lots one can do with these image editing tools which was not possible after a photograph was taken in the film camera days.
The photographer has to take backups, work with the client to finalize images, crop them, adjust lighting, add filters and finally deliver the images to the client. All these tasks are time consuming and not visible entirely to the client. Most of us think that we pay a photographer for his time at the venue for taking photographs, while in reality there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes that goes into giving the client exceptional images. Some professional photographers outsource this work, they hire specialized trained staff to edit images and work on post production tasks like touch ups in Photoshop, ever wondered how all those freckles on your skin have disappeared or how your hair appears so much more neater, these are all examples of touch up work that a studio does on photographs taken to make them look perfect.
Moreover the photographer has pay his rent, constantly upgrade or buy new equipment, cover travel expenses, taxes and operations costs like banking fees, insurance costs etc. All these costs consume money and time, what you pay per hour is directed to cover all these costs and much more.
If you still find a professional photographer expensive then you could always hire a new photographer who’s just making an entry into commercial photography or ask your cousin to take photographers at your wedding and hope that he stays sober while everyone else is having fun.
Unless he’s passionate about photography he might never do it again, and if he is passionate then he’s a professional photographer in the making.
The bottom line is that professional photography is a business that’s someone’s livelihood and passion, the pictures taken are works of art and tell a story about hard work, dedication, professionalism and being present in that moment.
For a client the photographs taken would be memories that last forever, for a professional photographer a great picture is worth a thousand words and nothing makes a photographer more happy than to see the smiles on client’s faces when they have the first look at the photographs taken.