Don’t let Uncle Sam shoot your wedding! The Importance of Hiring a Wedding Professional.
To some this may seem like a silly question. Why WOULDN’T you pay for a wedding photographer? Unfortunately, today there is a growing trend of brides making the jump towards using their friend or uncle who owns a nice digital camera in order to save a little money. I get it completely. I am a budget minded person and don’t have a great deal of money to spend on a lot of the things I want or even need in many cases. It’s important to stretch every dollar when you are planning a wedding and not everybody has the budget for the high end glitz and glam that graces the covers of popular bridal magazines. I know I didn’t when I was getting married.
The thing is, however, that most amateur hobby photographers just aren’t experienced enough to be able to handle every possible challenge that may arise during a wedding. Asking a friend who is an amateur photographer to take your family portraits when you can’t afford a portrait session is completely different from having that same friend take your wedding day pictures. Your wedding day can’t be re-done. The lighting can’t be changed to fit the needs of the photographer. The photographer must change to fit the needs of the wedding, and that is something only an experienced professional can bring to the table. I was told by one groom that it’s “not like you do more than just click and take the picture, right?”. No, that’s not right. There is a great deal of leg work that goes into wedding photography as well as the 20-40 hours of post processing (editing) of the wedding day images and album compilation. I hope that this article can give you some insight onto what a professional wedding photographer can do for you that someone with a very basic knowledge of photography can’t.
Professional wedding photographers are more than just photographers on the day of the wedding. If the couple does not have a planner the photographer typically becomes one. We are often times in charge of creating the wedding schedule based around the images you want and at the best time of day for lighting. We know what a typical wedding schedule looks like, and we know the best times and locations for pictures. We also know the key shots you as a couple want captured as well as the typical sequence of family groupings for your family portraits and bridal party portraits. These types of portraits also take a lot of planning and requires a photographer that knows how to get a group engaged.
The lighting during a wedding day WILL change dramatically from location to location and hour to hour. Your wedding photographer has to have the ability to adapt to the changes. She or he MUST know how to go from shooting a ceremony in direct sunlight to formals in the rain, or a dark reception hall that must be lit with additional flashes off camera. This means that the photographer has to know how to shoot in manual mode like the back of their hand, how to set up and use various lighting systems, and how to expose their camera’s properly for each lighting challenge.
off camera flash to the side
Using a flash behind the subjects as well as on my camera
The level of knowledge a photographer has regarding composition is extremely crucial in providing you with unique, emotional images that you will be proud of. Most photographers who are just learning about their camera’s are doing just that..learning about their camera’s. It’s hard to focus on creating a unique, captivating image if you still aren’t sure whether or not your settings or the lighting is correct. The last thing you want is for your wedding images to look one dimensional.
As appealing as it may be to cut the photographer from your budget in order to save money, I caution you from doing so if the memories from this special day are important to you. After the dress has been worn, the food has been eaten, and the decorations are all taken down, what will you have from your wedding day? What will you have to look back on 10, 20, 50 years down the road? What will you show your children? It’s very enticing to let your friend and family member shoot your wedding because they will do it for free or discounted to gain experience, but just remember what it is you are really giving up. It is ultimately your decision and I hope that this post has been enlightening. I became a photographer because I felt very strongly about making memories stand still and giving someone cherished and priceless pieces of artwork. I spent a great deal of time studying under other photographers and second shooting with wedding photographers so that I could give my clients images from an experienced level. I never took on a wedding during my first, second, or third year in business and only took my first solo wedding after second shooting at least 10 weddings. It’s your wedding day, a day that cannot be re-done, and you deserve only the best.