The problem with photographers is simple. Everyone thinks all photographers take photos. But, most make photos.

A couple asked me recently how much I thought an expensive photographer would be, how much a cheap one was, and how much I thought was a good price was to pay. Asking me “how much does a photographer cost” should be in the same basket as politics and religion! But, I can tell you that I believe there is a difference between professionals taking photos and making photos.

Here’s the difference.

Taking a photo

Taking a photo involves

  1. acquiring a camera
  2. looking at a thing and thinking “better take a photo of that”
  3. pressing the button/s on said camera
  4. having photo

Taking a photo is an action. Especially when any iPhone or Android can be snapping a pic in seconds. You take a photo to acquire a visual record of a single moment in time.

Making a photo

Making a photo is a totally different ball game. It’s art.

Art is a hard thing to play with. Art isn’t made to be enjoyed by the many, it’s created to be enjoyed by the few.

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern. – Alfred North Whitehead

Making a photo involves looking, thinking, waiting, talking, asking, moving, changing, trying, experimenting, deleting, trying again, clicking, relocating, thinking more, talking, being excited, being disappointed, clicking more, and generally not knowing what the end result is.

It involves lots of trial and error. Buying one camera then realising you need the other one. Borrowing gadgets and things and trying different techniques to make awesome art.

What’s the difference?

Here’s two photos of birds. The first one was taken. The second one was made.

Photo by Mushanga

Photo by Mushanga

Photo by James Day of Daylight Photography

Photo by James Day of Daylight Photography

Of course, all art is subjective, but I’m betting James’ photo would get framed and hung at your place before the other one would? It looks like the birds were all actors in a play. Amazeballs.

The problem with photographers is this

The problem is that any great wedding photographer, at least ones I’ve met, has transcended past taking photos. They make photos. And the business of making photos is totally different to owning a camera, pointing, clicking.

When you hire a photo maker, instead of a photo taker, you’re hiring years of experience, you’re renting their tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, and for your single day wedding, you’re taking up at least a week or two of their time.

When you think about the cost of a photographer, the business transaction taking place, think of all of that.

So for your wedding, do you want someone to take photos, or to make photos?

Talking about photographers, the feature image in this post is by Mia Domenico.