Camera Phone Vs. Professional Photos

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Here are my top 8 reasons to hire a professional photographer for your family photos rather than using your camera phone.

I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden show last week to see their annual orchid show.  And while I can visit every year, I can expect to have a different experience each year I go.  One other thing has changed…those point and shoot cameras that so many people were using to photograph the beauty of the orchids for so many years, have now turned into smart phones and ipads.  

It’s true…our cell phones have evolved dramatically over the past 10 years and along with the phone functionality getting better, our phone cameras also have gotten significantly better.  But, while the technology gets better, it’s important to remember that your phone camera isn’t all that it seems.  Yes!  They are convenient…and they are great for a snapshot that we may not have been able to take at a moments notice 10 years ago. But even as technology advances forward, there is SO much you are missing out on if you are strictly using your smartphone to capture moments with your family.  Don’t rely on your smartphone to capture all those family moments. Here are my top 8 reasons you should hire a professional family photographer with the right tools for the job.

1. Image Resolution

Mobile photography simply can’t compete with the display quality of professionally produced photos. Megapixels is one thing…but it’s the size of the camera sensor that is going to produce professional looking photos in a variety of lighting conditions.  There isn’t enough room inside a smartphone to get a large sensor in there.  While indoors, the light quality of smartphone cameras drops dramatically, and while the picture may look great on the phone, you’ll notice lots of noise (or grain) once transferred to a larger screen.  Have you ever tried to print out an iphone picture on Mpix or other consumer printing site and it has indicated that the resolution is not good enough for the size you are trying to print?  Smartphone pics typically cannot be printed larger then 5” x 7” without the image starting to look grainy.  That is…unless you are in perfect lighting conditions.  In that case, you may be able to get up to an 8” x 10”.  Full sized advanced sensors found in professional cameras allow for larger prints to be printed without the dreadful pixelated/grainy look. 

Engagement Session at Emporium Logan Square.  Love.  Engagement Photography.  Chicago.  Countdown to the wedding.
Engagement Session in a dimly lit arcade.  This clarity would have never been achieved with a phone’s camera due to the phone’s sensor size.  The only ambient light I had to work with was the pinball machines in the background and one small light from the ceiling. My large camera sensor was able to pull in enough ambient light to make this shot work.

2. Equipment

While skill is truly what is most important to get a good shot, equipment is still important.  Great photographers can work magic even with so so equipment. But in able to get the best photographs, having the right equipment (the right camera, flashes, lens, etc) helps jump some large hurdles.  Photographers invest thousands in their equipment, and there is a reason for it.  Good equipment will give you a good picture. The best equipment, in the hands of a pro, will give you the best and most beautiful photograph to hand down to the next generations. 

With DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, you also have absolute control over your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings so that you can create those blurred waterfalls and beautiful bokeh (the soft visually appealing blurred backdrop of a photo). Smartphones can simulate a lot of these scenarios thanks to depth sensors and a little AI, but they are only as good as the software that they ship with.  

3. Professional Photographers know tricks

Even with the BEST equipment, nothing can take the place of experience. No photographer sells themselves based on their equipment and that’s because it takes more than a good camera to get a good shot.

It takes knowledge of angles and lighting. Being able to adapt to changing lighting conditions is key to making your picture come out crisp.  A photographer has knowledge about what creates a good location. Professional editing. Posing.  And the list goes on—these aren’t things an average person with a nice camera can provide. It’s something that requires years and years of experience to become familiar with. 

Photographers are experienced at photographing all body types and ages, so we know how to make you look slimmer, taller, or younger. We know which posing mistakes to avoid and how to make you look your best.

While photographing you, I pay attention to things you may never have heard of such as composition or shutter speed.  These things are important as it will mean the difference between catching a crisp image of your child running toward you giving you the biggest hug during your session, or just catching a blur because the shutter wasn’t set correctly.  A professional takes all that stress off you and lets you just enjoy the moment.

4. Knowledge and access to the best photography locations

Photographers know all the best places around their area to take certain types of photos. As a professional photographer, I am always in search of new places for both indoor and outdoor photography. Have you ever thought of doing a photoshoot in a 1950’s Diner?  An Arcade?  In Naperville, Warrenville, Wheaton, Lombard and surrounding suburbs, I have a list of places for family photos, couples’ photos, business head shots or cake smash photos. To get the best results, I do pre-session scouting at our discussed locations during the same time of day our session will be and make sure if it will look pretty on the session date and the lighting will look good. In Chicagoland, the weather can change in a moment.  Spring can come late (or early like last year), and summers and falls are usually short, so I am constantly watching the changing conditions and working with you to get the best backdrop we can for your session.

5. Access to high quality prints

Professional photographers work with high end photography print labs that only work with photography companies. The quick photo prints you get from Walmart or Shutterfly will not please you as far as quality, color accuracy or sharpness as their printers are set for “low ink consumption”.  The bigger problem is, if your photos are taken in a different color space than sRGB their printers will not recognize it and you will most likely end up with lifeless photos with cold colors, unwanted tints (think all of your family looking green or yellow) or low contrast.  Printing at a consumer lab will make those beautiful photographs that you are paying for, are not actually the ones you are getting.

Also, professional labs offer a large variety of products as well as a variety of print papers such as metallic, and cotton.  What you have your photographs printed on can completely change the look of your photograph.  Your photographer can help you decide what paper and/or product would be best based on the look you are hoping to achieve when displaying your photos throughout your house.  

Front porch mini.  Front porch session.  Fall Mini session. Naperville, IL.  Mums and all things fall.  beautiful flowers.  family.  1 year old milestone.  Naperville photographer.  Warrenville photographer.  Wheaton photographer.

6. Access to props, client closets and backdrops

Have you ever struggled with finding the perfect outfit for your kids to wear during your session?  Or finding the perfect props to celebrate your baby’s 1st birthday?  You don’t need to worry about props or backdrops when you hire a professional photographer. And at Novella Photography, I have been slowly building up a client closest with a variety of styles that will fit a large array of children sizes.  I have my client closet available to view online so you are able to “shop” without the stress on you or your wallet.  One less thing to think about.   If you have a specific theme on your mind, you can also communicate it during pre-session phone meeting.  

In studio session.  Spring mini.  beautiful flowers.  client closet.  flower market.  Naperville photographer.  Warrenville photographer.  Wheaton photographer.

7. Professional Photographers knowledge of editing

Photographers look at the pictures they take as works of art.  And while you see the end result of our work…let’s face it, not all images come out perfect straight from the camera.  There are so many variables that come into play during a session and sometimes things beyond our control, like the weather or current conditions (people/objects), play against us.  Editing tools and having experience in those editing tools, helps us overcome some of those obstacles and allows us to give you a consistent and eye popping album when it is delivered to you.  

8. YOU get to be part of the pictures

What a thought, right?  Instead of being behind the camera, or hoping to make it into the picture before your timer goes off…hiring a professional photographer allows you to sit back and be part of the picture without the stress.  Editorial photographs can be a beautiful addition to your gallery. Everyone likes images of the subject(s) looking at the camera. But to me, the most memorable photos are those when everyone is interacting and connecting in their own way.  I use prompts all throughout our session to help bring out those organic connections. If you are doing your own photos,  you simply cannot recreate that.  You’ll be too busy running back and forth between the tripod and your family.

When those little ones grow up, one day they will be looking back at family pictures to relive some of their memories.  What will they find?  Be sure they find pictures with YOU in them.

Kim Novella is a lifestyle family photographer based in the western suburbs of Chicago, IL. She services Warrenville, Wheaton, Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, Lisle, Downers Grove, Batavia, Geneva, Oakbrook, and surrounding locations.

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