Who needs a professional photographer now we’ve all got phones?

11 Jul 19 ARH away tiny
Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes writes: Several studies have evidenced, in technical terms, what in a more general sense we all know: that the quality of cameras in mobiles improves apace. According to DxOMark (2018) “camera hardware and image processing are evolving alongside each other and at a much faster pace than in the ‘traditional’ camera sector”.

An implication of these developments is that we no longer need to hire professional photographers, right?

Well, no — or, at least, not necessarily.

One reason — an obvious one but unavoidably true — is the one becomes evident in a marvellous episode Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon Days. The town of Lake Wobegon are celebrating 4 July, Independence Day. The entire population wear coloured hats (red, white, or blue) and arrange themselves in the town square in the formation of the national flag, the Stars and Stripes. But then someone points out that, because everyone is in the flag, nobody is in a position to see it. As a consequence, the people of the town take it in turns to walk up the steps to the top of the church tower in order to look down on the scene — requiring  a procession that takes several days!

The second reason is that professional photographers, if they are any good, will be able to ‘see’ an image in their mind. They have an eye for lighting and, above all, for composition. They avoid taking photos in which, for example, it looks as though the office pot plant is growing out the side of someone’s head. When it comes to composition, phones have a way to go.

Certainly, the photographers whose services I’ve employed — shout out for Chris Loades in Cambridge, UK — would have been able to help the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP at the launch of his bid for leadership of one of the UK’s political parties. See images from that launch here and here.

My conclusion is that, when it comes to prioritising the things to spend money on in communications, the case for professional photography remain strong.

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