You may ask yourself this question when browsing beautiful photos from your latest Samsung or iPhone and it’s something that does come up in conversation these days.
So, I have a few points for you to consider and by the end of this article you can decide for yourself what’s the best decision for your company… PHONE or PHOTOGRAPHER?
Mobile phones have really come on in quality and I enjoy using mine especially on holiday. However, on an event for me they don’t cut the mustard, once you hit low lighting conditions or anything fast moving the final quality and ability of a phone’s hardware to freeze action will struggle.
When you hire a professional photographer part of what you are paying for is a person who has the ability to innately absorb a brief and to take ownership of it. Relying on staff to haphazardly take snaps will naturally result in many aspects of the day not being captured.
A big part of being a photographer is pre-empting action, after years of shooting certain subject matters you get used to the pace of that activity and you get used to placing yourself in the ideal position to capture “that moment”. That can involve hovering around one spot for twenty mins, where patience is the key or running where appropriate from one spot to the to another action spot with just seconds to spare. Doing this on a mobile phone would be very challenging and would lead to a lot more errors in the photos, controlling the shutter speed & aperture on a digital SLR gives you the ability to freeze action & depth of field (background blur) with ease, which ultimately will give you the best shots to show case your event, a mobile phone will give you a nice overall feel, but with less precision and quality.
A big part of being a photographer is discretion and confidence are key alongside the camera we use. At an event being discreet is a tricky balance, you mustn’t interfere with the action in any way, however this needs to be juggled with the confidence to e.g., move around an auditorium whilst the action is in full swing. With a variety of lens lengths, it’s easier to stay out of the way verses the more limited optical lengths phones currently offer.
During an inside event the light quality will drop drastically, when you take a phone snap it will probably look great on the phone, however once it’s transferred onto a big screen, you’ll notice lots of noise (messy dots). Ultimately you are being limited by the size of the rather small phone lens and the sensor inside. A professional photographer will have a digital SLR that by its nature has large lenses (which maximise the limited available light) and will have a very advanced sensor that is designed to cope with very low lighting levels.
Us photographers have the ability to “tell a story” and event in many respects is a story, you have the main characters (the speakers and high-ranking staff members), there’s a journey to follow in the day and various locations featured throughout that journey. We know inherently how to tell it visually from start to finish.
It’s worth thinking about how much you have spent on the event and budget wise and it is worth getting those efforts captured in the manner described above verses a few phone snaps? Obviously, I’m biased, however I thought it would be great to write this article so people really understand the differences of a professional person using professional kit vs staff members using phones. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on this subject matter?