I've Got a Smart Phone! Won't That Work For Family Photos?
Sure. You spent $1000 and have the newest and greatest IPhone. Sure, it takes decent pictures. But, your IPhone is a gadget. It is not a professionally trained human being, who knows the most flattering angles and poses. Your gadget does not know how to edit your photos into a fine piece of art. Not to mention, if you ever wanted your photos printed, they would not print well any larger than a 4x6 coming from your device.
Bite the bullet and hire a professional photographer. Your photographer has top of the line equipment that is solely made to capture stunning photos. While your IPhone can capture images at 72 dpi (great for posting to the web), a professional camera can produce images at 300 dpi and create wall sized prints without them looking grainy or pixelated.
Trust your photographer. Your photographer can analyze the environment and usually capture flawless photos with a few setting adjustments to the camera. We have a trained eye and knows what looks good on camera and what doesn't.
"Ok. You've convinced me to hire a professional. How do I choose one?" Browse your photographers website and see if you like their editing style. There is no cut and dry way to edit a photo. If you don't like their style, move on to the next one. You're not just paying a photographer to push a button. You are paying for their time editing as well. There are countless hours spend behind the computer to make your pictures flawless. The editing that a professional can provide is going to be 100x better than any built-in app on your phone, or anything you can do on your computer. Photographers have specific training and software for this.
One last tidbit, hire a professional that will print for you! The last thing you want is to pay loads of money and be handed over a disc with images that you have no clue what to do with. When a professional photographer prints for you, they calibrate their computer monitors to the printing labs they use, so colors will match (reds will be reds, greens will be greens, etc). They also appropriately size a photo for you so it does not appear pixelated when it comes time to print. I have heard numerous horror stories of people being handed files and trying to print and the photo comes out looking like it just went through a washing machine. Don't do it! You have been warned. Haha.