Professional photographer or amateur photographer? | Sacramento Portriat Photography


So why talk about professional photographer or amateur photographer? Well, its not the first or last time I hear about “we hired our uncle (friend) who has a nice camera to be our wedding photographer, to photograph our products, or to photograph our family”. Even at some point in my life I said that as well so I’m not putting anyone down. But when do you choose your iPhone over professional photographer for that event or photo shoot? By this time you might say “Well of course, you will tell me to pick professional photographer” but I will try not to be bias and give you my insight on this without me telling you which side to be on. You as a reader have a choice to choose.

First and foremost let me explain in very few short words the difference between experience/professional photographer and amateur before we get into this mess. An experience/professional photographer is someone who knows what to do in any situation, regardless of what is thrown at him/her and still produce great photo out of the camera (not Photoshop), who enjoys photography and willing to learn new things to sharpen their skill. Amateur is someone who: is using that shutter button like a machine gun hoping for one good shot, someone who is still learning but thinks he/she has enough of knowledge to call him/her self professional, uses only natural light and doesn’t want to know how to use a flash and says that’s enough for him/her,  also spends thousand and thousand of hours trying to Photoshop a photo to make it look good.

I will not talk about how to determine the photographer by price because there are GREAT photographer out there who don’t charge enough and there are tons of sh#*@ photographers who charge way too much for their . . .  (I don’t even have word for them).

Professional Photographer or Amateur Photography

Wedding Photography

Wow this is huge, this is something that should not be taken lightly. Take it from experience, hire an amateur and you will be stuck with an amateur for the rest of your life. Before I get into details, I wanted to let you know that me and my wife was there. We had a budget for a photographer when we got married here in Sacramento and it wasn’t huge amount set aside. So we knew a friend of a friend and in the end to say the least it was cheap. Looking at the photos we regret it. Yes the person was just starting his/her career in wedding photography and everyone needs practice but weddings is something the photographer should not practice on without the knowledge.

With that said: to say the least, I too photographed a wedding as a first shooter with almost zero practice. I came home after the wedding and told my wife that I don’t like the photos. That was the beginning and the end of my career in weddings for a long time. It took years of practice in other fields (and weddings as second shooter) before I could say again, I was ready to be a wedding photographer. But my story is just a tip of an iceberg.

Or I see this happen so many times, its not funny anymore. When amateur photographer sits down and photoshops each photo after the wedding just to make them look better and spends hours and hours for what? Before I make this three page essay, I will end there and say this: if you are on a budget slap yourself silly and don’t look back. I would love to say that but it will not be fair to anyone. So my guide to you would be: first thing look at the portfolio of the photographer, then ask yourself would you be able to live for the rest of your live with those kinds of photos? Hiring uncle bob just because of nice camera or your friend who everyone thinks is a great photographer doesn’t mean anything. Wedding photography is so much different from taking photos of family, animals, landscapes. Don’t be fooled, and make sure you are ok with hiring a photographer that knows what he/she is going with his/her photos.

Professional Photographer or Amateur Photographer

Family Photography / Portrait Photography

Most of the time people don’t think about this and just blindly use their phone cameras or cheap dslr with cheap lens that best buy person sold them by making you feel you have bought the state of an art camera. Me and my wife we use our iPhone like crazy to take photos of our daughter, ourselves, cousins and so on. So hiring a professional photographer on day to day basis would be very costly. In reality, there is a time to hire a professional family photographer or portrait photographer and there is time to use that iPhone camera. As a father, my daughter who is growing up so quickly, I have realized one thing: 70% of the time it doesn’t work trying to running back and forth to start a camera with a timer (or even using a remote) to get those great shoots. Why so, well kids don’t sit still and then teenagers don’t like to be told what to do, but then the grown-ups for them the time has passed too quickly and sometimes there is regret that they don’t have photos of everyone in family photo. Yes you can go to a portrait people studio or sears to get your family photo but those places don’t capture with feelings and they don’t care about you, they are there just to take a photo and be done with it. If thats your things then thats cool with me. There are times when a father or a mother does need to use available camera (iPhone or point and shoot) to capture that moment at the soccer game or school play. Because for professional photos you need a little bit more planning to be done then just “stand still let me take a photo, and we are done” scenario. This is the reason why family photography with professionals doesn’t happen in 15 mins photoshoots. This is where amateur photographer come in handy. Let them practice, usually its cheap to almost nothing and this is great to get those three or five photos of yourself for facebook, prints or what ever. Yet if you want a hand full photos to create an album, or collage, update family photos in the frames, then a professional photographer would be your choice.

Professional Photographer or Amateur Photographer

Business / Product Photography

Being a business with a brand, a new product, new staff, how are you going to stand out from the rest of the crowd? Especially since most of the business is now done online your presence (photos) speak for you. If you are a starting business your budget might be very tight, so I might turn to amateur, but if you want to reach that next level of marketing then it would be wise to hire a pro. This goes to even business that are runned from home, just because you have home office it doesn’t mean your photos need to look like it was done with point and shoot. Point and case is etsy, restaurant menus and so on. If the product doesn’t look appealing we don’t like it and will not buy it or if a business portrait doesn’t look good we just turn away sometimes even laughing at the photo. Every business makes this mistake and makes a decision with their pocket, but in reality every business should have at least one good photo to represent themselves. Don’t take it to a chance hire a professional photographer. This applies to headshots, business portfolio, politicians, and even run from home blogs.

Professional Photographer or Amateur Photographer

In the end, I can talk about this all day long how to choose a professional photographer or amateur photographer and make this a 10 page paper. But you have to make a decision why are you hiring a professional or amateur? With every side comes its own pluses and minuses, you just have to wave them all and make a right decision. There is a reason for the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” which words would you like to hear from yourself and others?

Feel free to comment on Facebook page about this post, do you disagree with me, or just have a question, let me know and I will try to give you my best answer.


Service Information

Shutter Avenue Photography offers Sacramento wedding photography and Sacramento portrait photography coverage in the Sacramento metro area, including but not limited to San Francisco Bay Area and the surrounding areas. In addition, we also offer wedding photography coverage in Colorado and other states. Call for more information.

Not looking for a Sacramento wedding photographer? Please be sure to consider us for your portrait photography and all your family photography needs in the Sacramento area.


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