Photos are some of the most precious things we can own.

They are physical reminders of our favourite memories, a visual way to be taken back in time to a moment we never want to forget.

As technology progresses, the film camera is now almost obsolete and people are able to capture memories on their digital cameras, their cellphones and a myriad of other digital devices.

Read more: Papamoa photographer wins prestigious industry award


These days, most people will be carrying some sort of camera about their person as they go about their day-to-day life.

It has evoked a love of photography in people that, in the past, may not have had the time, money or expertise to take photographs.

But there's a big difference between the kinds of photos we take ourselves and the ones taken by a professional photographer.

Justin Aitken, a 36-year-old father of two, was recently named the 2017 NZ Institute of Professional Photographer's Bay of Plenty/Waikato Regional Photographer of the Year.

His specialty is wedding photos and, when you take a look at his images, the difference between a passionate amateur and a skilled professional is clear.

While planning my wedding, I heard many, many horror stories of people who got their mates to take their wedding photos, or used a friend of the family who had an album of beautiful vacation shots, only to discover after the fact that these amateurs had no idea how to capture the look in the groom's eye as he saw his wife-to-be for the first time, or how to make sure the lighting doesn't give the bride a shadow moustache under her nose.

Photography is an art - and a hard one at that. If you miss a moment, you can never replicate it again exactly.

If you want a photo that will last the test of time, make sure it's a good one.