{I thought this was a great little piece I read on the PPA.com website. The photos below I found just by searching on google images. A good example of amateur photography vs professional is how they can handle tricky lighting scenarios, such as backlighting, or photographing people on a sunny beach. Obviously, the photographer in the first photo didn’t know how to handle the strong backlight, and the couple came out very dark, vs the second photo, the photographer was using additive lighting (probably strobe and/or reflector) to color correct and light the couple properly. – Diana

Affordable prices have put DSLR cameras in the hands of many people. You will find many parents toting around these large cameras, snapping shots of their kids at the park or during the school play. The truth is, most don’t know how to use these cameras effectively.

Even worse, almost everyone has a friend or knows someone with a “big” camera these days, and entrusts them with once-in-a-lifetime events, like their wedding. Craigslist.com is filled with ads from these so-called pro photographers. Their results are often disappointing.

“You only get married once—don’t trust it to ‘good enough’
“You only get married once—don’t trust it to maybe ‘good enough.’ It’s give and take, but you can budget the rest of your wedding and still do phenomenal things. Maybe instead of a five-course meal, you could have hors d’oeuvres; but don’t cut the budget on photography. No one’s going to say they had a bad time at your wedding because the linens were cotton, not silk. But you WILL look back at your photographs.”  
– bride, Anna Marie Huffman

Photography is much more than just having a “big” camera!

If I own a race car, does that make me a professional driver? No, certainly not. Having the gear is one thing, but knowing how to use it takes skill, training, and experience. Quality photography is no different. There are many tools that pro photographers use in post-processing that the average consumer simply does not have.
When you hire a pro photographer, you are paying for their time investment more than anything else. Many hours go into creating quality images and delivering a polished product that you will cherish forever. It is this time spent after the shutter is pressed that often makes the difference between just another snapshot and a great photograph.
-from PPA  – the Professional Photographers of America
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