Photography it's the lasting memory

April 15, 2015
20140806_18345520140806_183455 I bet every week a scene like this is played out somewhere ...
 
A chap browses Amazon.  He clicks over to the objects of his dreams, the high end cameras, the one's he sees the pros use but he can neither justify nor truly afford one.  So he settles for a high street alternative instead, it costs about 1/4 of the price, comes with a lens or two.  Some few hundreds of pounds later he leaves Amazon as happy as excited about his up coming delivery ...
 
Next thing you know this chap a bonafide photographer, well that's what he calls himself.  He's got his shiny camera, seen a few YouTube videos and now he's charging money.  Not a lot, but he's charging money.  He goes to the function, setup flashes and umbrellas for portraits, sets the camera to automatic and shoots the party.  He's not that bad, had the foresight to borrow another camera from a friend and the pictures turn out alright. 
 
Here's a secret ... he's me 4 or so years ago.  Sure I made mistakes, and I only had what I could afford.  However, thankfully a few people believed in me and helped me to turn a dream into a reality.  But here's the thing and this is why now I consider myself a photographer.  Over the first 3 1/2 years I still worked a day job.  I shot at weekends and evenings learning professional technique along the way.  Many many many hours of shooting, trying new things.  Many many hours of learning Lightroom, Photoshop and the other associated tools.  Every penny I made went straight back into the kit bag.  I upgraded the camera body, and then the lenses.  Somewhere along the way came portable studio kit, flashes, modifiers, stands, memory cards a plenty and two new computers.  The investment is not small in either time or money.  I have made personal sacrifices along the way and for a while weekends were when the family didn't see Dad in the evenings rather than in the days.
 
So why is a photographer so expensive ? The investment for true professional kit is not a few hundred pounds, it's many many thousands of pounds.  I generally turn up with 3 cameras 9 lenses and 4 flashes, not because I think it make me look like a better photographer but because I will use them all at some stage.  Then I need to know how to use it all ...  besides what you might think about all the automatic modes, not a single one of them is useful to me.  It's like asking a Tour De France rider to use stabilisers, I bet you could finish a stage but not in anyway a competitive time.  Once the party is over and the 8 hr dance that hurts your feet on the Monday is done I've still got about 20 hrs work to do to get the pictures to you, and it all needs doing whilst you remember what happened. All of that takes place on high end computers using expensive software.  Add to that the cost of my car, the professional insurance and all the clients I go to that don't go on to book me and you start to understand a little about my cost of doing business. 
 
But here is the thing.  In most cases the food, something that is over and done with in a few hours, takes about 50% of the budget for a function.  A hall maybe 7% - 10%, disco or band 10%.  The one thing that will last for more than a lifetime the thing that your childrens, childrens, children may well see is the photos.   Don't cut corners on the one thing that will provide a long and lasting memory of your special time.