In this age where everyone and their grandma has a camera phone (I’m not exaggerating, my grandma has one), anyone can sell their phone-quality images for stock photography, or snap a photo of their kids for the annual Christmas card – professional photographers are quick to be labeled too expensive, outdated, unimportant, unnecessary, pretentious even.

Professional Photography Still Matters

But, that doesn’t mean professional photography is irrelevant when everyone can snap a picture to document their every move. Professional photography actually still matters a lot and here’s why.

A Professional Photographer Brings Quality

I’m not saying that people are incapable of creating beautiful images on a camera phone. I know it’s possible, I’ve seen it, and I’m often quite impressed. I am saying that that iPhone imagery cannot replace the quality and skill of a professional photographer.

After delivering a session earlier this year, I had a very interesting conversation with one of my clients. It went something like this:

“I don’t mean this to be rude, and I don’t want to hurt you or have you take this the wrong way, but I really didn’t see the need for hiring a professional photographer. I mean, we have a million pictures from our phones, and I thought ‘Why can’t we just use one of those?’ But then I saw the gallery you delivered, and I was absolutely blown away.”

Yes, I am paraphrasing slightly, because I can’t remember the exact words of the conversation, but you get the point. A quick iPhone image is no substitute for the quality, eye, skill, and editing of a professional photographer.

Professional Photography Allows You to be Present

As a documentary, lifestyle photographer, this is one of my biggest reasons that professional photography is still important. The camera phone doesn’t make professional photography irrelevant, but actually more important than ever.

Being attached to our phones to document every moment of our lives prevents us from truly being present in them. It’s more like watching a documentary about the Grand Canyon on TV versus actually visiting it. You may have a great appreciation for the idea of what the Grand Canyon is and be in awe of the colors, in awe of how big you’re told it is, but you can never fully grasp the expanse and scope of the canyon without seeing it in person.

When you are more focused on getting that Instagram-worthy photo, you are completely distracting yourself from the actual events going on around you. You may have an awesome image of the bride walking down the aisle, but what do you really remember about that moment aside from what you saw through your phone? Were you caught up in the emotion of the moment, or trying to get the perfect image for your feed?

A wedding is a horrible place to have your phone out if you’re not the professional photographer, but the point is that hiring a professional photographer means you can be fully present without worrying about missing the most important moments. The photographer has those covered anyway.