Since the beginning of the digital age of photography, the need for technical knowledge to a create a good photograph has taken a steep nose dive. Once we had the introduction to the digital back, or preview screen on a camera, the need to actually know and understand lighting and camera functions became much less important. This is a great thing for camera manufacturers that make taking pictures so easy that people are willing to purchase camera’s they normally never would because of the knowledge and start-up capital necessary. Cameras now have TTL(Through the lens metering), which basically is a light meter. So when a camera is in auto mode, it measures the light, sets the camera settings for an accurate exposure and transfers that data to a digital sensor which then creates a digital preview of the subject matter just photographed. Very complex, but simple for the user.
There is basically two types of photographers working today. Those that take great pride in the craft, exploration and technical understanding in creating, really truly creating a photograph, and those that walk around a take snapshots. The second type puts their focus more on the business side and very little effort on the technical, creative, or quality aspects of photography. Of course we all know this happens in all types of business, but the sad part of this particular art form, is that there are so many people’s once-in-a-lifetime events, and their hard earned money gets taken for granted.
Charleston, SC is one of the most visited cities in the nation. Considered the number one place to visit by Conde Nast Traveler, a huge nod for Charleston, makes us a hot bed for tourism, weddings, and visitors needing portraits for a variety of needs. Now you can only imagine how many Charleston photographers there are. Thousand as a matter of fact, and they all use the term professional. For the most part, just making any amount of money in this profession allows you to crown yourself a professional photographer these days. No schooling, no pre-qualifications, and not even a business license is checked for by most clients looking for someone to document some of the most important times in their lives.
With these few facts alone, you can see how, and why, it is so easy for someone take a few pictures, put up a website, and ask for hundreds, even thousands of dollars with very little experience. The worst part is they can do it without accepting any responsibility for their failure. I think everyone pretty much feels like it’s their fault for not doing better research and finding a true professional. In today’s world of get it fast, cheap, and as easy as possible clients make so easy for non professional photographers to get away with amateur work at professional prices and devastating consequences.
So when your researching your photographer, ask some key questions, and analyze their work for consistency and quality. If the first thing that comes to mind is “I Can Do That”, they are most likely not a true professional in control of their craft. Ask them about their business license, insurance, and even what accountability they will take on if your not satisfied.
Charleston photographers generally have only a few areas of focus, but they will still try to be a jack of all trades. Some of the most common descriptions you can search for is Charleston photographers, Charleston wedding photographers, Charleston portrait photographers, Charleston beach photographers, Charleston family photographers etc. many variations for each will come up and give you different results, but you will see the two types I described above. Top listed photographers get ranked well because they work consistently and Google rewards this through the longevity of their website and consistency in published work, inbound links, visitors etc, and those that just keyword stuff their website for your first click attention. In short, be sure to take your time when researching Charleston photographers. Trust your instincts and look for consistency in their work. Your wedding, family portraits, special event and baby portraits can be almost impossible to re-do or fix. And if your on a tight budget, it can be even more frustrating and devastating when your photographer does not deliver and accepts no accountability for your disappointment or their failure. You will hardly ever hear someone say I spent too much money on my photographer and I should have just got a cheaper one. But you will hear over and over: “I wish I would have spent more money on my photographer”! It is one of those things that the more money you spend, the better the product, service, and overall experience you will have.