Several people were put to that exact test in this recent video by Ben Lucas of Nom Creative, a Seattle-based portrait and headshot photography studio. In the video, Lucas brings in several people for a fake (although the people don’t know this) headshot competition between himself and another photographer. However, that other photographer isn’t a photographer at all, but an actress with no photography background at all.
So the question is, could these individuals tell the difference between the images taken by the professional and the images take by the fake?
In this experiment, before even seeing the images most of the people were able to clearly note the differences between the two experiences, with most of the criticism aimed at the faux photographer for lack of posing guidance and other similar issues. But when it came to the actual images, the difference was even more apparent, with every single person correctly pointing out the professional image versus the faux image.
That is not to say that all of the images that the faux photographer took were bad, but the professional’s were better in every way, in every instance of this demonstration. This translates to the real world as well: A professional provides an experience and comes with skills that can help an individual really come out in their images.
Remember this video the next time that you find yourself in need of some images and you are comparing those bargain basement photographers to the established ones. Just because we all have access to digital cameras, that doesn’t mean we all have the skills to call ourselves a professional. The results speak for themselves.