Q: Just exactly what IS a PROFESSIONAL photographer anyway and why should I hire one?
A: It's a common question I get asked a lot— especially in recent years with decent equipment readily available to the consumer for a relatively low price—and obviously I argue in favor of using a professional every time, in any capacity, if you can afford it and you only accept + want the very best.
Let me explain. With the advent of the computer age it has become more and more common to see people getting into all kinds of business for which they have little training or experience. While there's nothing inherently wrong with taking full advantage of the many opportunities the www affords us all —and I'm the first to advocate creative entrepreneurship!—,it can also give prospective buyers of any product or service shopping in this new arena a false sense of a bargain or deal for something just a few short years ago would hitherto have cost many times the advertised price. Your inbox is the first place to find them: Deals abound through Social Media sites such as Groupon, Teambuy, DailyDeals, WagJag etc... In principle, I think it's certainly advantageous at times to seek out these sites to save a few sheckles. But never more than now: 'CAVEAT EMPTOR'*! [*A term I learned back in my college Marketing classes long ago = BUYER BEWARE]
You see, one of the things I find interesting about all of these initiatives is that while there may indeed be some true value in their advertised savings over the guy down the street, oftentimes it comes at a huge price in QUALITY. And if you really value quality above all else (and I recommend it to be at least a very high priority when it comes to growing your business and putting your best foot forward), the fine print usually offers a clue to the real nature of the enterprise.
Father used to say it best. Yours AND mine: " If it looks too good to be true, it probably is". Or "You get what you pay for".
It takes years of study, apprenticeship and practice of one's craft or vocation to master the skill sets required to objectively provide an actual PROFESSIONAL quality product or service. Yes, many may call themselves professional—mostly because 'hey, I have a great website' or 'X person recommended me on my blog!' But who's kidding whom? Get a simple website set up in minutes. You're in business! But there are many evidences of, shall I say 'less than stellar' quality products/services paid for by willing customers everywhere just because a little box flashed in their FB sidebar or a link appeared on their browser and they LOVE a bargain. It's found in substandard 'clunky' websites, laughable infomercials that look like they were made by your kid brother, photos that at best are just snapshots any wonk with a point-and-shoot camera could've snapped and at worst are, well, embarrassingly amateur. The list is long! .. CAVEAT EMPTOR, remember? (Ed. To say nothing of the fact that the prevalence of so much of this kind of activity creates a marketplace for 'X' product which is undervalued and drives the quality down across the board as customers come to expect (erringly) a certain 'lower' cost than what can reasonably be provided by REAL professionals.)
So the next time you are contemplating investing in some new images for yourself or your terrific + unique business or company—among other common services you'll see land in your inbox probably tomorrow— think twice before you click the BUY button and do a little homework first. More often than not, Dad's wisdom shines through and after all, it might be best to seek out a TRUE PROFESSIONAL; One who has spent years honing his craft & skill set, who has an experienced eye trained from countless hours and time invested in myriad situations which informs his every decision and recommendation; One who is sincerely passionate about his product or service and has demonstrated time and again that YOUR best interest is his #1 priority and in the end YOU are all he really cares about. Think about it:
"You never get a SECOND chance to make a FIRST impression!" -Ty