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Going with a Professional Photographer
by Heather Lilly

With the turn of the economy, people are "turning up their doing-notches" (thank you, Home Depot).

My husband and I recently turned up our doing-notches and painted our family room, kitchen, and dining room. We are very particular people, did all the proper prep-work, cleaned off the baseboards and used protective plastic on the floor and cabinets. We used painters tape, painters caulk, and even one of those nifty edging tools.

To our demise, as we pulled the tape away from the wall-to-ceiling line, the razor-sharp line we were expecting, just wasnapostrophet there. It looked awful.

This goes to show, even when you have the drive and what you think are the proper tools, the results wonapostrophet be professional.

While some would argue our paint job is "good enough" we plan to live in our home for a very long time, so starring at those jagged lines will absolutely drive us crazy until itapostrophes fixed.

Because there have been a lot of recent advancements in digital photography technology, more and more consumers are turning up their doing-notches in the wedding & portrait photography world.

Whether you have a consumer point and shoot camera or a "serious camera" (otherwise known as a DSLR), Iapostrophed urge you to take a step back and turn down that doing-notch. Learn from our painting experience: some jobs are better left to the pros.

So why invest in a professional photographer?

As a professional photographer, not only is it my responsibility to know my photography gear and know editing software, but itapostrophes my responsibility to continue my education as the industry evolves. Because this is a full-time venture for me, I make this a priority.

Professional photographers have multiple camera-bodies and even more lenses. Why so many lenses? Lenses are tools that help pros achieve different local lengths and varying depths of field in their images.

Youapostrophell find that professional photographers have proper backup equipment, on top of their primary set of tools. They also pay for business insurance.

An aspect of being a professional photographer that often goes unseen is the impressive computers that are required to run Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and store client files. These computers require a lot of memory, a lot of speed and monstrous hard drive space.

As DSLRs increase the size of files they produce (the Canon 5D Mark II is an amazing 21.1 MP), photographers need to increase the size of their hard drives. I say hard drives (as in plural) because itapostrophes imperative to have a main drive, then back-up hard drives (where you copy files to for safe-keeping).

Since most professionals shoot RAW, the image files are not compressed into JPG straight out of the camera - so hard drive space fills up rather quickly. For example, one of my wedding folders is 126 GB.

Ok, Iapostropheve scratched the surface of the geeky-tech part of being a professional photographer - how about education?

I love to learn, which is perfect for my profession since new techniques and styles are always being introduced. I make a point to attend seminars, conventions and any continued education I can get my hands on.

I am not only financially invested in my photography, Iapostrophem also emotionally invested in it. I live, breath, and sleep photography.

For an average wedding, I capture 2000 images and present around 1500. This of course varies, but if I were to spend just one minute on each image, I would be editing those images for 25 hours. With my approach for editing, the majority of my images take much longer than an minute to edit. This time does not include creating an online gallery, album design or processing any orders.

Every morning, usually by 7 a.m., I am editing away on a wedding, responding to client e-mails, and wondering if my job will ever truly feel like "work."

Wouldnapostrophet you want to choose a professional photographer who spends 50+ hours a week being a photographer verses someone who "does it on the side" or "has a nice camera"?

It still makes me tear up to witness the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time on their wedding day. I get goose bumps when I capture a tender moment between a mom and her newborn. I feel automatically programmed to soak in the beauty of Godapostrophes creation and then start to file it away in my head to use it for an upcoming portrait session.

Itapostrophes my job to make sure you feel just as special as you are. So invest in the professional photographer: youapostrophere worth it!

About the author:

Heather Lilly has an exuberant passion for photography and Photoshop and enjoys creating artistic wedding & portrait imagery. She has a B.A. in Journalism and minor (with a lot of extra classes) in Visual Arts. She is currently nominated for Denverapostrophes Best Photographer on Channel 7apostrophes A-List. Her website: