The hidden truths behind what makes a pro photography business great

The rise and rise of digital technology over the past 15 years has revolutionised photography and imaging – as it has in many fields. Image quality has dramatically improved, and handling images is now simple. The significant change for everyday photographers and phone snappers has been the improvements in automation. So much so that now, anyone can snap a technically good image.

However, achieving a technically good image is just a small part of creating valuable images for business. There are typically considerable differences between amateurs and pros, and not all photo imaging businesses are created equal.


Composition and symmetry and a touch of colour combines with creativity and patience


The first difference is that a technically good image is most often not a valuable or even a good photo or video. The best professionals are qualified and highly practised experts. They see beyond the moment into how the lighting conditions, subject matter and the composition, or framing will result in the final picture. The best photographers can see as a camera sees.

The best photographers know how to control light and have the equipment required to do so. They know how to work with the subject matter, be it a building, a person or a hole in the ground, to create something special. Moreover, they can do so time and again in any conditions.


The additional lighting used in this image transformed an otherwise plain environment


There is also a vast difference in the way that different photography businesses operate and serve their customers. Most are moderately resourced one-man-bands. A few are well resourced multi-person small businesses that operate around the needs of their clients.

Resources cover everything from people to equipment, process, systems and safety.

Today’s photo imaging businesses need to be able to serve all the imaging needs of companies and brands. From stills to video, time-lapse, aerial drone and even interactive 360-degree imaging. Each of these types of imaging are specialised and unique in their own ways.


More than meets the eye. This photograph was impossible to create from a single image. What you are seeing is a composite of nine perfectly blended images.


Regular training is required to keep up with the necessary certifications and to adapt to fast-evolving technology. There are also CASA certifications needed for aerial drone imaging and a myriad of safety certifications for operating in hazardous environments. The best businesses invest in that training and have a mix of specialist and multi-skilled people to perform and achieve the very best results across every discipline.

After people, ongoing investment in the very best technology is a significant resource investment. While time-lapse technology is maturing, it is still relatively new. Aerial drones are evolving rapidly, and 360-degree imaging is just in its infancy. With video, the resolution continues to advance to the point where 4K is now standard. Furthermore, the technology outside of the camera that keeps the image smooth and stable continues to improve.


Composition and symmetry and a touch of colour combines with creativity and patience


Then last but definitely not least is the business itself. Today’s large enterprises and government organisations are highly process driven. They have unique procurement and payment systems. There are often multiple stakeholders to manage. The best service businesses in imaging are built to serve the individual needs of every client. They have the technology and human resources to meet the demands of their clients and strive not just to be helpful, but to make the entire client experience pleasurable and straightforward.

So please take a look at the images within this article and the captions beneath. It provides some insight into the work that’s gone into making these images something much more than a simple snap. They describe the pieces of the puzzle relating to light, composition and equipment.

Then consider what your business needs beyond that. The ability to make great images is just the basic requirement.


Look closely at this image and see the intensity of the moment. Remaining unobtrusive was the secret ingredient.



Building rapport with subjects is essential in all forms of portrait photography.



Photographing this highly secure complex came with heavy restrictions on access, movement around the site a thorough understanding of what cannot be shown.