I spend a lot of time each week on the Internet. I look at trends in photography, and am constantly looking for new material in terms of tutorials to improve my shooting and to keep my classroom instruction up to date and fresh for my high school students.
One of the things that continues to amaze me is despite how important images are in American culture and the advances in camera technology, there are still an awful lot of people who accept mediocre (being generous with that label) photographs. It is becoming even more of an issue now with so many people relying entirely on the default apps on their mobile devices (smart phones are the most common culprit).
As my recent exploration into my photo a day project has been largely done with my iPhone I can say that the camera in the phone can do a lot if you understand how to work with it. There are certainly times that a phone camera is simply not going to work. Theses are the times that you need to know the limitations of your equipment and how to cope with them - or else get better equipment.
Today I discovered a slightly dated, but still very relevant, blog about why a professional photographer is better. The author did not stand on a soapbox and proclaim that a pro is better. Instead he set up a scenario where he let people on the street shoot with a point-and-shoot camera their way until they said they were happy with the results. Then he shot it his way. The blog post has comparisons that are so vastly different in quality that no other explanation was needed. The pictures tell the story.
So, if you want to see some really good comparisons between an average person versus a pro with a camera, take a visit to Adam Sternberg's Las Vegas photography blog.