6 Reasons To Hire Professional Wedding Photographers
The Importance Of Hiring Professional Wedding Photographers
By Jeffrey House Photography
I cook dinner almost every night, but I don't consider myself a chef.
I cut my grass and plant flowers, but I don't consider myself a landscaper.
So why do so many people consider themselves "photographers" just because they take pictures? That's not to say you can't take nice pictures just because you're not a photographer, just as it's not saying I can't make a great dinner because I'm not a chef.
In this article, we are going to learn the importance of hiring professional wedding photographers.
It's A Great Deal
As professional wedding photographers, I can tell you there is an increasing and an alarming amount of people selling themselves as "photographers" or worse yet, "professional photographers." There are huge differences between professional photographers and self-proclaimed professional photographers. A lot of these self-proclaimed professionals promise to photograph weddings at ridiculously low prices and, unfortunately, trick couples into believing they are getting a great deal.
As a wedding photographer I know what it costs to photograph weddings and I know a lot of these self-proclaimed professionals are cutting a lot of corners in order to offer couples these very low prices. What's even more disheartening is that couples don't realize their "deal" wasn't so great until it's too late! Half of their pictures are blurry, they were poorly edited, the pictures were poorly composed, etc. The horror stories are endless! Couples have reported their photographer showed up to their wedding in sweatpants or even drunk! Other couples reported having to pay an additional $2.000 to get their digital files - However, they were promised they would be part of their original wedding package. The "photographer" essentially held their pictures hostage until they paid the additional money. Sickening!
There's Another Side To All Of This
Sometimes, in an effort to save money, couples will hire a friend or family member to photograph their wedding. This person loves photography and they have a nice camera. Hey, what a great way to get beautiful pictures at a fraction of the cost. Perfect! While this friend or family member has the best of intentions, it won't take long before they realize they are in way over their head. Wedding photography is highly demanding from many perspectives. It's a unique beast that requires very specific equipment, skills, and expertise. Putting anyone in the position to photograph a wedding with no experience, is just plain cruel. And later on, when you have to approach your friend or family member about the poor quality photos, it's more than a little awkward.
What Are The Benefits Between A Self-Proclaimed/Amateur & A Professional Photographer
This isn't to say an amateur photographer can't or doesn't have a wonderful personality. They may be the nicest person you will ever meet, but wedding photography requires specific personality skills. A professional photographer is highly effective in the art of communication. They need to know when to direct people, when to be assertive, reserved, personable, etc. Most amateur photographers tend to be very timid, especially when photographing weddings and they have little to no control over the moment. They are unsure of themselves and unsure of what they are supposed to be doing. Most couples report that hiring a friend, family member or self-proclaimed professional only created more work for themselves. They found they had to spend a lot of time directing their photographer and had to constantly keep an eye on them to ensure they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. Kind of like putting the cart before the horse.
2. Training & Knowledge
Professional photographers are a wealth of knowledge. We are experts in our fields with a wide and varying skill set, but true professionals never become complacent. Our quest to continue learning and developing is endless. You can always learn something new, improve your skills, and grow as an artist. Professional photographers invest a ton of time and money into their personal development.
Camera's don't take pictures, people do. While this statement holds a lot of truth, don't be fooled into believing equipment doesn't matter because it does........a lot!! In the hands of a professional photographer, professional grade photography equipment provides more reliability, consistency, creative control, and professional images. Professional equipment is made to withstand the elements (rain, snow, etc.) and provide superior performance in extremely demanding situations, such as low light. Professional photographers spend thousands and thousands of dollars on their equipment to ensure they have the tools required to photograph a wedding. This not only includes photography equipment, it also includes computers, monitors, editing software, etc. Most amateur photographers will fall short of possessing the necessary equipment needed to photograph a wedding, and even if they do, the majority of them will not know how to utilize their equipment to maximize the benefits. .
4. Credibility, Protection, & Piece of Mind
Every wedding professional I know, including myself, won't photograph a wedding without a contract. A contract is essentially an insurance policy for all parties involved. In simple terms, it outlines the agreement between the wedding professional and the couple. It also outlines the responsibilities of each party. Having a contract in place supports your professionals credibility and provides you with protection and piece of mind. Contracts will certainly help to prevent the situation in which a couple's pictures were held hostage until they paid an additional $2,000 to get them. A contract should outline the price you're paying for the services and it should outline exactly what's included in the price.
5. Experience, Technical Expertise, & Instinct
While a lot of weddings work on similar time frames, all weddings unfold in their own unique way. No two weddings are ever the same, which is exactly why having an experienced photographer is invaluable. They understand the job at hand and they don't panic when thrown a curve ball - And there will be curve balls! They approach each wedding with a game plan and understand the unexpected will happen, but when it happens they handle it with professionalism. When an amateur shows up for a wedding the little voice in their head starts running wild. They are unsure of where to go and what to do. There are so many little details that need to be captured during a wedding and I can almost guarantee an amateur photographer will miss a lot of them. It's experience that allows professional photographers to flow through the day, capturing the critical shots, while also photographing the natural moments that unfold throughout the day.
With regards to technical expertise, professional photographers are amazing. Wedding ceremonies can take place indoors or outdoors, and each location presents its own challenges. As professional photographers we sometimes have to photograph weddings in churches that don't allow flash photography. Churches can be pretty dark environments and require professional grade cameras and lenses designed to handle these difficult situations. Outdoor weddings can be difficult as well. The harsh light created by the sun can be a nightmare, but there are definitely some tricks we can use to combat the situation. Often times, while photographing weddings, we are moving from very dark to very bright conditions in a fraction of a second. As a professional wedding photographer you better know your equipment inside and out, and know how to make the proper adjustments instantly. These might sound like extreme scenarios, but I can assure you they aren't. They are actually fairly common and must be dealt with on some level at every wedding.
One skill that almost all professional photographers possess is instinct. Part of being a good wedding photographer is being in the right place at the right time. You have to be great at multi-tasking. You have to be "in the moment" making all the necessary adjustments to capture the moment that's currently happening. However, you also have to be existing 30 seconds into the future preparing for the moment about to happen! You have to essentially be everywhere, but remain unobtrusive while doing it. It's these skills and these instincts that really separate professional photographers from amateurs.
6. The Intangibles
One thing that's pretty unique when it comes to being a wedding photographer - you are practically the only person that will spend the entire day with the couple getting married. As an experienced wedding photographer we often wear several "hats" during the course of a wedding. Sometimes we wear the wedding planner hat and sometimes we even wear the therapist hat. I know that sounds a little funny, but weddings are very hectic and often times the couple getting married can get pretty frazzled. We are often there to help the couple take a deep breath, smile, and enjoy the moment. Your wedding photographer is part of your team and it's these "intangibles"they do for you throughout the day that really add value. They may be subtle, but they definitely contribute to the success of your day!
Did you like this article? What do you think about the need to hire professional wedding photographers? We'd love to hear from you!