I was browsing a mobile phone review web site recently and noticed that some of the leading brands now ship with a 23 megapixel camera. While only two-thirds the resolution of today's top DSLR cameras, it is impressive nevertheless. Reading the review of one particular mobile phone, it described the photos as “... pin sharp, brightly coloured, and full of fine details in both the bright spots and shade. The camera can also be launched and a shot taken faster than with any other mobile device.” 
 
So what are the tangible elements that set the professional photographer apart from the keen amateur? 
I was browsing a mobile phone review web site recently and noticed that some of the leading brands now ship with a 23 megapixel camera. While only two-thirds the resolution of today's top DSLR cameras, it is impressive nevertheless. Reading the review of one particular mobile phone, it described the photos as “... pin sharp, brightly coloured, and full of fine details in both the bright spots and shade. The camera can also be launched and a shot taken faster than with any other mobile device.” 
 
What Ansel Adams would have made of it is anyone’s guess! More to the point, with these in-phone camera developments, is there a future for the professional photographer in 2016 and beyond? Well, this particular professional photographer would like to put forward a compelling case that there most certainly is – while still accepting that incredible results can still be produced with the latest smartphone cameras. 
 
The essence of my argument is this. When it really matters, when it’s critical, you get the best person in for the job. I don’t see too many professional wedding photographers washed up because the best man's mate, Fred, has told everyone to gather around the hotel staircase and record the only photos of the day on his new iPhone! In hiring a professional you take away the risk of disappointment – critical when it’s not easy to re-create a situation again. 
Some sample photographs taken for five commercial clients from completely different industries over the past few years – a hotel, school, and PR company. Click any image to enlarge 
In my specialist fields of aerial and architectural photography, there are similarities. A property coming onto the market for £2.5 million needs to be shown at its absolute best. An agency is aware of the discerning nature of clients in this market, and I am pleased to say I work with many of the area’s leading agents photographing such properties. What will wonky, underexposed, dull amateur photographs of the property say to its potential buyer? Don't bother with this lot, go elsewhere ... The point is that the cost of professional photography as a percentage of the sale price is minute. 
Some sample photographs taken for five commercial clients from completely different industries over the past few years – an estate agent and tennis club. Click any image to enlarge. 
So what are the tangible elements that set the professional photographer apart from the keen amateur? 
 
Experience – They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. In hiring a professional photographer, you’ll be directly benefitting from thousands of hours of photographic expertise and post-processing skills; 
 
Capturing – It’s not just a question of buying a fancy camera and pressing the shutter button – choosing the right camera, the right lens, the right lighting conditions and the right composition can make all the difference between an inspiring masterpiece and a dull snapshot; and 
 
Post-production – Post-processing with software like Adobe Photoshop will ensure the viewer's attention is drawn straight to the main subject of the photograph, rather than any peripheral distractions. Post-processing is half the work in creating professional photographs. 
 
The result should be a set of exemplary photographs. The viewer is immediately taken by the allure and appeal of the subject – the touch of a master craftsman if you like, who has managed to create that all important emotional connection between the viewer and the image. 
 
I suppose I’m somewhat biased, but you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m grateful to all my clients who have kindly provided testimonials after commissioning me to photograph their projects. This one from a high-end estate agency for example: "After over a year of working with David, we and our clients continue to be blown away by his aerial and architectural photographs – they really help our property adverts stand out on our website and in our brochures." You can read more on our dedicated testimonials page here
 
So the next time you are looking to capture an event or a subject that’s really important to you or your business, don't try to make do with an amateur or you may end up feeling the OW factor with a set of dull photos that are of no use to you – instead, commission a professional photographer and let their expertise provide you with a set of photographs that have the WOW factor! 
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