It may seem strange to ask if there is a difference between Normal People and Photographers but how often does someone see the work of a professional photographer and wonder why their images look so much better. Well I thought I would tell you, it is because we have sold our souls to the devil. No I am kidding, only a few of us have.
The real reason is that as photographers we have spent a lot of our time thinking about and shooting images plus learning our craft. This is not to say that we are better than a normal person just that we have no real life. Once again only kidding. However just like a musician who practices everyday will sound better than someone who only picks up their instrument once a month because we shoot and process more of our images tend to be better. This is not to say you can’t improve but with better knowledge and understanding even a weekend shooter can start get better images.
Here are some examples of differences and how to get better images without crossing over to the dark side of being a professional.
Professional: Only the best in cameras, lighting and props. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings of normal people. It has been said that a really good photographer can get a great picture with any type of camera. In fact there is a whole group of photographic style that uses an old plastic toy camera called the Hoga.
To get great images I need Photoshop. There are a number of good digital image programs from the free Picasa that can downloaded from Google to the Big Dog which is Photoshop CS 5. While Photoshop is the industry standard and on the computer of every major photographer this is no substitute for the knowledge of just what is needed to make an image look better. For many images it might take a bit more saturation of colors, a removal of something to keep the attention on the main subject, or a different crop. For many normal people you can even use the more consumer friendly Photoshop Elements which sells for under $100 than the Big Dog that comes in at $700. Elements can do about 80% of everything Photoshop can do and that extra 20% is what the pros need to process thousands of images or prepare them for commercial printing.
If I only had professional models my images would look great too. I am not saying it is not easy to take a good shot of a pretty person but in fact everyone can have a great photo taken of them. It just takes a little understanding of lighting, posing, and maybe taking the time to really look at someone and know what is the best time to push the shutter. People tend to reflex the emotions and expressions of the people taking their photos. Why do you think TV always has the actors playing photographers jumping around and talking to the subjects? This is what real photographers do to pump up the emotions and energy of the subjects to get the best expressions. One of the worst things you can do is to demand a smile from someone.
While it is important to have good equipment and sometimes more expensive does equate to higher quality, the best images are going to come from those with the best eye and understanding of the craft. Coming here is the best first step for that.