Your big day is approaching and you have everything in order. You have your caterer, your church, your reception hall, the cake, the rings, the dresses, vows are written, and everything is in place. Or is it? Who is doing your photography? Oh not to worry – your cousin is an amateur photographer and he is taking the pictures. It was a good way to shave a few dollars off the budget. Good idea right? Wrong.
Why is it not a good idea? Why do you want to hire a professional wedding photographer for your big day? Pictures are pictures right? Again wrong. There are benefits to having a professional photographer for your wedding and these benefits far outweigh what you can shave from your budget by having an amateur do it for free. These pictures are the placeholders for the memories of your wedding for the rest of your life. Your cake will be devoured in a night. Your pictures will last longer than a lifetime.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and those pictures will be one of the most important items in your box of memories. The more incredible the pictures, the more incredible the memories will be. What are the benefits of hiring a professional wedding photographer?
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer: Education, Training and Experience
A professional photographer is going to get you the best possible pictures, using the best set ups and props. The photographer will make sure the lighting and angles are excellent. When you interview photographers for your wedding, remember you want someone with great credentials. What are great credentials? Education and training in photography and years of experience, specifically with weddings.
Style is a vital component in why you should choose a professional wedding photographer. If you let a relative who is an amateur take your pictures what style will they have? Do they know they have a style or is it all haphazard? You take a huge risk by doing that.
Hire a professional whose style matches yours and who will give you the type of pictures that you want. Do you want modern shots that are black and white and very stark but stunning? Do you want the more traditional and formal style of pictures, mostly in color with set ups that everyone will recognize? Do you want pre-set pictures from a list you give the photographer or do you want candid, not preplanned pictures? Can an amateur deliver what you want in this area? Think this through completely and make sure your wedding photographer matches your desires and go with a professional who will immediately understand what you are talking about when you say you want modern, contemporary shots or you want a traditional wedding portfolio.
Camera Equipment Knowledge:
You will want to hire a professional wedding photographer because they have the right equipment to provide you with the pictures and quality that you want. Your relatives or friends might have a really nice digital SLR with zoom lens, but usually they will still be handicapped by not having a variety of lenses and a couple of cameras of professional caliber. The type of photographic equipment used is as important as the person behind the camera. This is your wedding day after all. You are looking for the memories of your lifetime and you need the right professional equipment and the right professional with the training and experience to make the best use of it.
The Photographer’s Role:
Another reason to avoid having a relative or friend be your wedding day photographer is that they are emotionally involved in the activities of the day. They are more likely to get distracted and not get the pictures you want. Then what happens at the reception when they want to eat, have cake, and dance the night away? Do you end up without any pictures from your reception? Also it is very common for the guests at your wedding to give leeway to a professional wedding photographer because they understand that person’s role. They understand that you are paying that person. However, they are far less likely to give the same leeway to Uncle Bill. They will not see him as a professional photographer. They will see him as equal to themselves in just trying to get a good picture. He might have better equipment than they do, but he is still Uncle Bill and they have no reason to get out of his way or to let him get the picture.
Unlike a professional, your friends or relatives will not have a proven track record of taking photos at many weddings. The professional wedding photographer needs to be able to show you a proven record of success – they should have a portfolio of pictures from all the different types of weddings they have done.
Wedding Photographers do More:
Another benefit of hiring a professional wedding photographer with a lot of wedding experience is one that most people never think of. Your photographer will be your right hand woman on your wedding day. You will spend more time with your photographer on this day than with anyone else including the groom. Because of this you need a professional who is focused on you and not on their own role in the ceremony. The professional wedding photographer does a lot more than take the pictures. They also make things easier, more relaxed, and more enjoyable for the bride and groom, but especially for the bride.
Think about this for a few minutes. Who will be with you, the bride, from the moment you start your day until you get in the car to leave for your honeymoon? He or she will be in the background and never interfere unless you need them. But you will need them. The photographer is probably the person who assists the bride the most as she goes through her day.
Your photographer will be there for your pre-wedding breakfast. They will tell you if your makeup is good and if your hair is out of place. Who is there every minute calming the bride and assuring her that she looks gorgeous? Who is there every minute to tell the bride that her jewelry is right and her hair clip works perfectly. The photographer is always says “That’s it. That’s good. You’re beautiful. Great shot”. All these things calm an over excited bride. What we know for sure is there will be moments when the only person available to calm the over excited bride is the photographer. If this is a relative, they are in the church seated while the bride is alone in her nervousness.
So many brides and grooms never consider this aspect of hiring a professional wedding photographer. Even if you have a wedding planner, they will not be your shadow every minute of the day like your photographer will be. Your photographer has to be an organizer and a cheerleader. They have to be a professional and the bride’s best friend for the day.
She also needs to be a therapist for the entire wedding party keeping them calm and keeping them on schedule. It is more likely to be the photographer who says “let’s go it’s time to start”, rather than the officiator. When something goes wrong the photographer has to be able to keep things calm and get whatever shots they can until the crisis is resolved. They also then have to readjust their timing to make sure they get all the shot you requested.
Communication and Reliability:
Because of the importance of the role as stated above you need a professional wedding photographer and not an amateur. You need someone who can communicate very well with the entire bridal party and get them where he wants them when he wants them there without anyone feeling like he is an intrusion into the day.
She must be available emotionally for the bride so this means she has to match the bride’s personality as much as possible, be relaxed and outgoing, compassionate and sensitive, fun and energetic. It’s a big order to fill and that is why you need someone who knows how to do it and has done it successfully for years. He or she must be all of this and yet stay out of the way, in the background and of course, most importantly get the best and most intimate photographs while taking care of everyone in the bridal party. No amateur, no matter how good, relative or friend, will be able to maintain the distance and impartiality needed while still offering the intimacy and support needed and still get the shot.
You need to hire someone that you, the bride, are comfortable with. Think about spending ten to thirteen hours with this person on the biggest day of your life. You had better like being with them. You will expose your most intimate self to this person. Make sure you will be treated with respect and sensitivity. This photographer needs to be the best possible combination of experience and patience. Patience just might be the most important characteristic any wedding photographer can have.
Props: Remember this is your photographer. You will spend all day with her but the most important thing is the pictures. Make sure she has the props and set ups she needs at every stage of the day: before the ceremony, at the ceremony, at the reception, and as you leave the reception.
Remember the most important thing is that this is the biggest day of your life.
They will give you the best quality and the most creativity. What is so important about having a professional is that they will find a way to be in the right place at the right time in order to get the right shot. No amateur can have the experience needed to be able to do this. It takes experience and training to be able to do this. The professional also knows how to coach the subjects of their pictures – to help them relax and look natural in every shot.
He or she has the experience to deal with the bride, groom, bridal party, families, guests, friends, officiator and wedding planner all day long and still stay out of the way, while taking great photos.
Establish a great rapport with the bride. If this does not happen then you will see it in the pictures.
Finally a professional wedding photographer will have outstanding planning skills. They have to be able to plan for any contingency that might occur on the day of the wedding. They need to have a plan for the story they are telling of your wedding day.
With all of this taken into consideration it only makes sense – both from a budgetary and a personal – for the bride and groom to hire a professional wedding photographer.