January 20, 2021

So you have a great camera phone? Why you still need a professional photographer…

Recently, I’ve increasingly been thinking about an experiment about cameras and how important they are in the final photo. Nowadays, there seems to be this idea that “you don’t need a photographer anymore, you have an iPhone, right?”

I agree, phone cameras are incredible and take great photos, but I don’t think they’re a substitute for SEEING how a good photo is made. So, I challenged my husband to a competition!

Is it the gear or the idea?

Years ago, when I was photographing weddings, it was rare that someone didn’t come up to me and say “wow, that’s a nice camera, I bet it takes great photos”. At first, I would nod, smile and chat megapixels. Gradually, this started to irk me so I started saying “yep, and I’ve heard JK Rowling has a nice typewriter”.

And people seemed genuinely puzzled about the connection.

Admittedly, this is impolite, but is it crazy to think that a camera is doing the whole job for you? Can I pick up the best tennis racquet in the world and expect to beat Serena Williams? (Man, would I be terrified to see that serve coming at me!) Anyway, the seed for the experiment was sown…

St Albans photographer vs non photographer

The experiment begins

All the following photos are taken using iPhones. I don’t really love taking photos with my iPhone as I’m very used to my DSLR. Dave also starts with a slight camera advantage as his phone is newer with a better camera on it. Let’s see how we get on!

Here’s a quick snap of where we put Grayson; Dave picked the first and last locations, I picked the middle photo location with the dirty puddle! Dave had first refusal on taking a photo. The rules were Dave and I could move anywhere we wanted and interact with Grayson in any way we saw fit. Grayson however couldn’t move his feet so that the position on him and the light on him didn’t change between our photos.

Fair’s fair after all!

St Albans photographer vs non photographer


St Albans photographer vs non photographer


Where’s the difference?

Same subject. Slightly worse phone camera in my hand. Same light. Same backdrops. Same time of day.

So where’s the difference?

I’d say the value of a professional photographer lies in so many thing but to name a few things I have in my favour:

  • the years of training I’ve done
  • my understanding of light and how to see it and use it
  • my ability to edit photos after they are taken
  • that I know how to anticipate moments before they happen
  • that I can see how a photo will work before I’ve even taken it
  • I know how to remove distractions from the frame in camera (really, who wants some manky building site in the background of their family snaps?!)
  • I have the skill to engage people, especially children, to get the best from them in a photo
  • I can actually get all of you in the photo at the same time (without the awful selfie double chin risk!)
St Albans photographer vs non photographer


Immediately when Grayson scooted past this puddle I could envisage a photo with a reflection element. And with a low vantage point I was able to eliminate all the ugly distractions from the building site behind him as well. Furthermore, the low viewpoint adds interest with the pebbles as the foreground.

St Albans photographer vs non photographer


So why still avoid having your photo taken?

I have heard a lot of worries from families about all the reasons you might not want to have professional photos taken, and I’m sure you may be worrying about the same things?

Do you worry about your kids being grumpy on the day? I’ve chatted about why that’s not a problem; I’m a total kid whisperer (I’m looking into where I can get a certification for this!) and I know how to get the best out of your little ones to get those gorgeous, natural giggles from them.

Are you concerned your home isn’t magazine spread worthy? I think your home is perfect (and I haven’t even seen it yet!).

Worried that it might rain on you? It’s always the right time of the year! Stressed about what you should wear? Here’s some ideas for that… Think your kid is still too young, or getting too old? They’re just the right age 🙂

St Albans photographer vs non photographer


happy St Albans family photographer


I appreciate you’re making an investment in something unknown and that’s scary.

But you’re writing a love letter to your children.

You’re showing their future selves how great their childhood was and how much fun you had as a family. The edge of these memories dulls over time.

So the question is really do you want snapshots or gorgeous photos taken by someone with the necessary skillset to make them for you?

If you’re nodding your head, it’s time to start planning your family shoot

About Tori

Hi I’m Tori, welcome to the home of all things happy! Here I reckon you’ll find some of the happiest photos in Hertfordshire…I love being around love so I was made for photography. Your wedding, your family days, your passion projects; they all give me the grins. Anything you want to chat about, I’ve probably seen it so get in touch because I love a good natter. Plus, maybe we’re friends that just haven’t met yet, who knows?!