#1, The Equipment
We've all got cameras now, most of our mobile phones have one, and some are pretty good at capturing reasonable photos. But if you've ever tried to take a photo of something moving or in challenging lighting conditions you'll soon realise that they are not up to the job of providing a stunning high quality artistic image, that you could print on a huge canvas.
Photographers have equipment costing several thousands of pounds and that money goes into ensuring that the image is of high quality in the most challenging of circumstances and allowing creative photos to be taken. For example, only a camera capable of taking several pictures a second would be able to freeze a Dog in mid air, jumping for a ball, or freeze the water droplets around a Dog shaking itself after a swim. Additionally, this more expensive kit is able to link to to other equipment to provide artistic control over light and shade using Flash units (inside and in the field).
#2, The Knowledge
Whilst the equipment is capable of doing the job, it needs to be used by someone fluent in what all the knobs and buttons do. Its not just a case of pressing a button, the photographer will take in the scene, the activity the Dog is engaged in and the type of image required by the owner. With this information, the right lens and camera settings (and sometimes additional lighting) need to be chosen before the shot can be executed. The skills to do this take years to hone successfully to produce truly artistic works.
#3, The Software
These days, getting the shot in the camera is not the whole story. Photographers have amazing (and amazingly expensive) image manipulation software available to them that will allow them get the best from the images taken. Changes range from simply removing unwanted things in the background that could not be avoided on site, to turning the whole thing into a watercolour painting, the sky is the limit, whatever the customer wants. All of this will be at the highest image quality levels.
#4, The Owner
Your Dog loves you! not the Photographer (though he/she may show a keen interest!). By working with a Photographer you can play your part in helping to create the shot you want. All Dogs are different and react in different ways, you as the owner will know how your Dog will likely react and working with the Photographer will be able to utilise that knowledge to get the shot. Your Dog will take the most direction from you, and will go to you in preference to the Photographer so your role is crucial. Having only to focus on getting the Dog to do the right thing at the right time, whilst the Photographer worries about the rest will help get the best pictures.
#5, The Commitment
If you've engaged a Photographer to get great shots of your Dog, then that's what the Photographer needs to deliver. If you are trying to take pictures with your own camera or phone as you go for a walk you should know that its not the same as properly committing to a photoshoot and planning/setting up and giving the time to make it happen. You may get lucky, but more often and not you will have something substandard, whereas the Photographer is dedicated to providing stunning imagery, otherwise what's the point? you are not likely to want to buy prints of substandard images are you? So its in the Photographers interest to commit time, skill, artistry and technique to creating the best for you.