Nowadays, everyone and their mom has a smartphone.

And let's be honest, its main function (besides calling or texting) is for taking photos of your life. However, a phone camera just can't compare with a good DSLR camera with a trained professional photographer running the show. A pro has artistic skill, technical know-how, and a passion for creating beautiful and timeless moments that you get to treasure forever! Sure, you might not need a professional following you around capturing every single part of your day, but there are definitely a few important moments where investing in high quality, professional photography matters.

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1. Weddings

This is the absolute one place you should never skimp on photography. Never ever. Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime day, and there's not a chance for a do-over as far as photography goes. Precious moments like your parents seeing you for the first time in a wedding dress, having that first kiss as husband and wife, or your bride smashing some cake in your face during the cake cutting are fleeting, and a professional who is prepared and skilled won't miss those shots. You, your children, and your grandchildren will be pouring over these pictures for years to come. Weddings are hard to photograph, and your uncle or sister's college roommate who has a camera just isn't going to cut it. Personally, I like to be invested in my brides and walk through the wedding planning process with them, helping to create their day and make it special to them. A professional wedding photographer has plenty of wedding experience, and let's face it, you've never done this before and it's pretty overwhelming. Budget a little extra for good quality.

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2. Annual Family Photos

"Kids grow up in the blink of an eye" is a saying for a reason. One day they're a newborn in your arms and the next they're walking across the state at their high school graduation. Family photos freeze these precious moments in time and lead to reminiscing at family get togethers in the future to the chorus of "aw look at baby Julia with no teeth!" or "Wow, remember when you cut your own bangs?" When you hire a pro to do your family photos, you're hiring someone who can capture personality and good photos. Family photographers don't make you say cheese and don't take awkward group shots - they try to capture all the spunk and personality your family has to offer. Little kids are hard to take good personality photos of but your friendly neighborhood photographer won't struggle with that! I never want my family clients to dread a photo session. I keep it easy, fun, and painless so that it's a breeze to get your updated portraits.

Photo by Adrienne Louise

3. Personal Branding or Website Images

I feel very strongly about this one.

Websites are everything in this digital and smartphone age we live in. You have a small amount of time to attract a customer to your product, and if you're using stock photos or iPhone shots, you're not going to make the sale. It looks unprofessional and untrustworthy! When you work with a professional photographer for your website branding images, they can offer you so much and bring your brand to the next level. I don't personally offer these sessions because this is not my area of expertise and I value giving quality products over making money, but those that do have poured time, energy, and money into training and education to ensure that you will be communicating a clear brand message with the images they make!

Personally, I love the branding work shot by Adrienne over at Adrienne Louise Photo + Film, so if you're looking for a quality branding photographer, she's your gal.

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4. Engagement Photos

Whether it's the surprise proposal or just celebrating your engagement, you really should hire a professional photographer. I've seen so many engagements shot by friends with DSLRs or iPhones that were out of focus, bad quality, or missed the moment! An engagement session is also the perfect time to test out that wedding photographer you've been stalking on Instagram to see if you'd like them to actually photograph your wedding. Most people are engaged only for a short time and once, so don't miss out on celebrating this important life milestone!

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5. Baby Milestones

Honestly, most of my reasons for this are the same as the reasons you should hire a pro for family photos. Kids aren't easy to photograph, and a lot of photographers I know just straight up refuse to take photos of little ones because it can be a headache. Kids are only little once though, and an iPhone photo isn't going to compare to a studio cake smash session or a beautiful newborn session. Also, they make an easy Christmas gift for the grandparents!

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6. Headshots

Ah yes, headshots. The apparent secret to having a good LinkedIn profile. Make a good impression on your prospective employer and have a nice headshot available for job applications, please! As someone who worked in HR/Recruiting, it does matter and people can tell if you took the photo in front of your closet door. I always make my grad clients take time for headshots during their sessions because it's the one photo they will use, 100% guaranteed. Invest in yourself and get good headshots. If you're an actor, I recommend finding a photographer who specializes in acting headshots, since those are their own kind of ballgame.