Not all photographers are pros..

When hiring a photographer for your portraits, special events & any other photography needs there's plenty of choices for you, and certainly it may be a difficult or confusing task when it comes to deciding which photographer to hire for your photo-shoot, so, allow me to help you make the right decision to meet your needs. Hiring a professional photographer is a very personal and intimate decision, and ultimately it often comes down to what your personal budget allows, and what you're getting for it, however, not all photographers are equal, and not all photographers are experienced professionals either. There's many photographers out there who do not have a strong educational and professional background in photography like I do, and many of them are providing their clients with mediocre, sub par images, and is that really what you want for your own photographs that you're paying for with your hard earned money. Pretty much everyone with a camera is a photographer these days, and the photography market has become very over saturated with photographers of all skill levels of experience trying to market themselves as photographers for hire.


From brand new enthusiasts who just got their first camera, to students, hobbyists & more, to the real professional photographers like my self, there's photographers of various skills out there, so you have a lot to choose from, but photography is an art, and a science, and not all photographers have the eye, artistic vision, nor the experience and necessary skills and talent to produce really amazing photographs, and sometimes they might even lack simple knowledge in things like basic composition, the science behind proper lighting, exposure and proper color management, etc. The list goes on.. I have 29 years experience in photography, so I know what I'm doing. The same is not true for many of the other photographers near me.


My intention is not to knock those other photographers near me down, because everyone starts learning as a beginner, as I did as a college student back in 1993 through 1997 studying photography and film production, from the beginning all the way through completion of the advanced level courses. My professional background afterwards gave me an advanced edge when it comes to lighting and composition too, having trained in, and worked in broadcast news and television studios in addition to photography, and even in modeling too,. There's nothing wrong at all with hiring the amateurs, hobbyists or students, if your content with average looking, mediocre photos, and ultimately, are they really worth what you're paying for them when there's much better options for you? Why not stop looking around and book your session now.


Another way to look at it is like this.. you get what you pay for. It's like comparing a barber school student haircut vs one from a pro stylist with 30 years of experience. Sure you might be content with the cheap haircut, but the latter would be by far more superior and a better value for your money even though it appears to be more expensive.


When it comes to hiring a photographer for a photo session, an experienced professional photographer is the only way to go. Contact me now to arrange for your own photo session.


Here's some examples on how to spot an inexperienced photographer that may not be the best choice for you and your needs.


  • Low cost "all of" the images from session, or a seemingly large number of photos.

This is a dead giveaway of a new, amateur photographer with very little to no experience. In the professional photography industry, the method used by these amateur photographers is called "spray and pray". They lack the necessary experience, knowledge, skill and talent, therefore are typically relying on auto modes of camera operation and shooting more in a short span of time, thinking that more is required to ensure some of the images are good enough for the customer. They're counting on luck. This is not a mindful approach, nor is there anything intentional about it. Sure you may get more images. but they're not going to be great. This kind of photographer is using volume of images as a selling point to make it seem like you're getting a good deal, that you're getting more for your buck, but the truth is, you're paying more just to get plain, average snapshots no better than what your every day average person can do using their phone's camera. Suppose that photographer is offering you 40 images from your one hour session? That means they have to take a shot at least every 90 seconds for the entire one hour session. Using this method, how can they possibly be mindful of all the little details to ensure it is the perfect shot? It takes patience, and skill to ensure proper exposure, analyze all the details in frame, & composing the best photographs possible.. An experienced pro photographer spends at minimum, at least three minutes per shot. An experienced professional photographer will shoot much slower than a beginner because they know the importance of nailing focus, exposure, and composition.


The spray and pray photographer is not a wise investment. It is best when used correctly, and that's usually when photographing sports and when there's a lot of action going on. It's not a practice any experienced pro photographer would do during a portrait session. There's a reason the real pros offer a lower number of images to their portrait clients. Quality is the main reason. Many images from a session will be duplicates with only minor differences. We cull out the not great ones and only provide our client with the best photos from the session. After the session, a pro photographer edits the final images and optimizes them for perfect prints. A beginner photographer giving away all the images, or a large number, like 40 images, is not going to spend much time on your photographs after the session. After all, they didn't even properly invest their time during your session, they're certainly not going to during post production.


In the professional photography industry, those photographers are called "shoot and burn". They're a waste of your time and money. If you want a real photographer that's a pro, call me now.


You have a choice, so use it wisely. You can have a set of beautiful, amazing, expertly crafted photographs that you're proud to have printed and framed by hiring a real pro photographer, or you can get a lot of uninteresting and mediocre snapshots that are not worth what you paid. They're cheap for a reason. There's no real value in their work right now. Chances are they're even giving away "print rights" with that session too, leaving it up to you to have your photos printed at some low budget photo printing service like a pharmacy. That's a high risk situation, and a recipe for disaster.


I've been photographing people for 29 years, so I know what it takes to produce an amazing photograph. Go take a look at my portfolio and see for your self.


  • Plain, boring, flat, center composition...

When you're checking out a photographer's portfolio, if in nearly every photo everyone is in the center with a lot of space around them, this is a sure sign of an inexperienced, amateur photographer lacking knowledge of photography composition. Personally, it is boring and dull. They do it this way because they don't know any better, because they didn't take any photography classes or properly learn the craft. There is nothing artistic about their "style". Yes center composition has its rightful place in photography, but it's not always the right choice, but more importantly, having all that space above, below and beside everyone in the photo is a very poor mistake only an amateur would make. No experienced professional photographer would deliver such poor images to a paying client. Again, this is nothing more than a mediocre snapshot and playing it "safe".


  • They use "presets" and call it editing...

Pro photographers do not use presets they did not create themselves to match their workflow & style. Only amateurs use them, mostly because they do not have much, if any, experience with digital image editing. Using presets is similar to using Instagram filters and there's nothing professional nor artistic about it. What exactly are you paying for in this scenario?


When I process and edit a photograph, it is done by hand to ensure the best outcome for every photograph. If the photographer you hired used presets, it was due to lack of skill and laziness. They're relying on automatic machine processing to do the work for them because they do not possess the knowledge and skills to do it on their own, and while sometimes a preset can work out well for certain images, this is often not the case, and almost always is not the best outcome. That kind of photographer is just out looking for a quick, easy buck with minimal effort.


I take great pride in my work and put a great deal of time into each image and would never rely on nor use a preset. Presets are gimmicks for consumers, not industry professionals. Save your money and hire a professional who knows how to properly optimize your image for superior printing results and knows how to retouch and edit without the use of automated application of filters.


  • Offers mini sessions

This is a marketing gimmick that's only used by inexperienced beginner photographers. Often they just got their first camera and are using this method to practice, and fill up their brand new website with photos. No experienced professional photographer does this.


  • Gives away "print rights"

A photographer giving away print rights does not care about image quality and is a recipe for disaster. Experienced photographers utilize ICC color profiles to color match the photographs file to the printer & paper your photograph is being printed on. If a photographer does not do their own printing or use their own professional photographic lab like I do, but instead just gives away print rights for the client to print wherever they wish, it means they do not care about image quality, and the resulting print is not going to be what you expect. Your photo may print darker or brighter, or the colors may be different, as well as many other issues because every printer and every paper is different and a digital photograph MUST be soft proofed with the ICC profile of the printer and paper in order to get an exact match.



  • Beware of the "Natural light photographer"

There's 1000s of new photographers out there who just purchased their first camera and immediately jumped right into marketing themselves as photographers for hire. The trend with these photographers is to call themselves natural light photographers. This is a dead giveaway that they're brand new to photography and do not really know what they're doing beyond capturing basic snapshots on auto settings. They usually do not own any professional lighting equipment, nor do they even know how to use it. Yes you may find a couple that do, but that's exceptionally rare.


When you book me as your photographer you’re paying for my skills, knowledge, decades of experience and my qualifications to supply you with the best photographic works possible and a luxury client experience.


Portrait photography is widely regarded as one of the hardest skills to master as a professional photographer, and unlike many of the other photographers near me, I excel at it.

If a trained, experienced, & highly skilled photographer that excels in photographing people is what you're looking for, Lita Xú Líng Kelley Photography is the right photographer for you.