Why should I hire a professional wedding photographer? Why should I hire someone to do something anyone or a friend or family member can do for free? Why should I pay such high costs for wedding photography? These are questions I am asked whenever I get a wedding photography inquiry and I feel it needs to be addressed. This article is something that I have been wanting to write probably ever since I started shooting wedding photography with my husband. I feel the need to mention it to people, whether they hire us or not, as it is very important.
People being let down with the results that a non-professional has produced. Couples choosing to let ‘a friend’ do it, or ‘I know someone with a good camera’, or ‘we’re just going to let our guests take the photos’. That's fine and you may feel that you will be saving money by doing this, but in the long run I guarantee you will be disappointed. Why? Your photos are the only lasting memory you will have of the day, and if they don’t turn out as you want, then your memories will be ruined. It is hard to see this in the present day, when you are planning your wedding. But do your best to think years in the future. What are you going to have to remember your wedding by and to show others? The photography. This alone should make you think twice about what you want to invest into your wedding photography.
Many people when they first start planning their wedding and researching prices may think that a photographer is incredibly expensive. They often think that paying such prices is ridiculous as photographers they, “only work for a day” or “anyone can take photos” and more. That is not the case. The following is just a short list of the duties photographers take on to ensure the preservation of your day:
– Photographers meet for initial consultation, second, and sometimes third consultations. They listen to wedding plans and answer your questions, in some cases acting as an unpaid wedding planner. The day of the wedding includes basically being your shadow for anywhere from six to twelve hours. During these hours, they deal with any issues that may arise, such as problem solving, gathering guests for photos, and more. They do whatever they do to ensure that your product turns out beautiful and they keep you as stress free as possible. They calm down the bride’s mother who asks what time it is every ten minutes. They make the bride laugh during a photo who is stressed out about the day. They are able to step outside of the day and look at it from a neutral standpoint, versus if someone hire a family member or friend.
– After this they will edit your wedding, going through the thousands of images they took and cutting it down to select images for you to look though. Going through images can take days and is very tedious. All these images will be edited individually, this can take anything from two days to a week. In our particular process, we run images through Photoshop, Lightroom, and use specific manual filters. Depending on the lighting of the day, rooms, and more, this can include balancing color, adjusting light, skin, and much more.
– Aside from the above, most photographers will shoot with two cameras, whose bodies alone cost thousands of dollars, as well as a back-up camera in case anything goes wrong. They also carry numerous lens (which in times can cost more than the bodies), flashes, batteries, memory cards, and more. If you then filter in the costs of insurance, editing software, costs of travel, and more, you’ll see where we are coming from. There are a lot of business costs that go into running a photography business.
So, why should you hire a professional?
As a professional, we are committed to you and your wedding day. We are guaranteed to show up on your wedding day, no questions asked. When you hire and pay a professional, they are contractually obligated to carry out the duties that you hired them to perform.
There’s nothing worse than having everyone standing around at your wedding not knowing what to do next. Hiring a photographer who has experience helps your stress level both before and during the wedding. You don’t need to be stressed out on your wedding day and we work to ensure that that doesn’t happen. We have a way of doing things, so there won’t be too much guesswork for you while planning your wedding. The last thing you want to have to do while planning your wedding is figure out what your photographer is supposed to be doing. There is already too much going on that day.
Ah, results – you get what you pay for. Hiring a professional will ensure that you get a great result. Whether it’s photos or flowers, or food or coordinating, having someone who does weddings for a living will certainly give you the best outcome. It may not always be the most ideal option to spend money on a professional, but really and truly, paying for a service makes SUCH a huge difference! Not to mention that yes, there’s a contract involved, and as we stated before, they are obligated to provide you with those awesome results.
When working with a professional, if anything, you will build a relationship with them. Almost always, when hiring a friend the relationship gets strained in some way. Working with friends can be a mess, especially during your wedding because it can be a very stressful time for you. What if you don’t like the photography they take for you? You don’t want a relationship ruined over this when all you had to do was hire someone who does this for a living.
And finally, some more reasons for you…
Professional, experienced photographers know a thing or two. That’s why you hire them. That’s why you pay them the money you pay them.
Take a look:
- A non-professional won’t carry back up gear with them. As professionals, we go through our gear at least three times before leaving for your wedding. We ensure that we have everything we need and more. This can be basic back up gear, such as extra bodies, lenses, batteries, flashes, and other photography equipment. We plan for the worst, not the best.
- A non-professional won’t think outside the box. We keep an eye on things like this was our wedding. We watch the weather reports, always have rain gear (umbrella, towels, plastic wrap, etc) with us for shoots, and carry what would be considered a survival kit for photography to ensure that nature won’t destroy your photography.
- A professional plans ahead because, let’s face it, we’ve done this before. We plan with you to understand what you want shot and what is special to you. Then we go past that, thinking of things you may have forgotten. For example, you’re going to want shots of that beautiful cake you put so much thought into, or the veil that has been in your family for decades, or the high end shoes that mean more to you than your dress, and beyond.
- What happens if a non-professional is ill or cannot make it to the wedding? As professionals, we have backup photographers that will ensure your photography in professionally covered.
- If you hire a non-professional, a friend, or a family member, are they really going to be committed to shooting the whole day? From the early morning to the end of the night? They may have the best intentions, but let’s face it, it’s a party. As professionals, we view this as work and as a job. As much as we love our clients, we find it highly inappropriate to drink while working (regardless of how late into the night it gets or if the bride and groom offer).
- How neutral is a non-professional going to be? As much as you love your friends and family, they may not be the best for the job, as they are personally invested into your day. They may have their own vision. As professionals, we work with you over the course of your wedding planning to understand you and exactly what you want. We don’t push you to do anything you don’t want to do. Through consults, emails, and phone conversations over the course of planning, we work with you to make sure you get exactly what you want.
This article could go on forever. I’ve heard such horror stories from people that hire us that say they are glad that they learned the hard way through friends and family to hire a professional photographer. We take a lot of pride in our work and want you to love what we do for you.