Do I need a professional photographer?
My friend has a nice camera...
It's true; most wedding photographers, at some point, were that friend with the nice camera.
We all have to start somewhere, me included, but it's how we progress from this point that turns us in to successful wedding photographers.
Yes, the camera is important, but it's a relatively small part of our job role come the big day. There is so much going on during a wedding day - it can be overwhelming - unless you know what you're doing.
So to help you decide if we're worth your investment here's my...
5 reasons to hire a professional.
1. It's not just about the shiny camera
Wedding photography takes more than having an expensive camera. You need to know how to use it , and not just in its 'Auto' mode -that's not good enough.
Light, is a photographers best friend, and anyone taking a picture in ideal conditions will get good results. Take that light away, in an 800 year old chapel for instance - one that only has two north facing windows, and you're in a whole new ball game. A professional wedding photographer can cope with this, and the seamless change to the bright sunlight outside - without missing a single shot.
It's situations like this where the expertise of a wedding photographer are really worth it.
Not everyone gets married in an 800 year old old chapel, but changing light conditions are often the biggest challenge we face and they're present in almost all weddings. We need to think, and act very quickly to get the best results. The camera doesn't do the thinking - we do.
2. We work hard...very hard.
Don't be fooled, wedding photography is more than just pushing a button - if you're doing it right.
Photographers carry a lot of kit; I'll often be seen carrying two cameras, lenses attached, plus my shoulder bag stuffed with extra kit and tissues for guests!
Tripods, step ladders, boxes, props. light stands... it all needs carrying.
It's a long day for a wedding photographer, it's mentally & physically tiring to remain so focused on every detail of the day. But we love what we do and just keep working to get the best results. We've invested our time and enthusiasm into your wedding from the early stages, way back from our first meeting, pre-wedding shoot, and every conversation since. You've given us the stage, and now it's our turn to perform.
But we're not done there; we have your albums to craft and carefully piece together to tell the story of your perfect day.
Will your friend with the shiny camera have the same enthusiasm once they've tasted the prosecco with the toasts?
3. Plan B
Professional wedding photographers should, and in most cases do, have a plan B.
Let's not be naive; sometimes things can, and do, go wrong. Sometimes, events on the day may change a planned shoot, or the perfect sunny day that Michael Fish forecast just didn't happen and we're all searching for umbrellas. Sometimes, it's more serious and the photographer can't get there at all.
Whatever happens, a professional wedding photographer has usually experienced it before and has a list of back up plans and alternatives. We have back-ups for all of our kit. Some of us have OCD about our memory cards - and won't go to bed that night until your photos are backed up at least twice.
We have other photographers in our phone book to call on if needed. I am part of a network of photographers around the UK who check their social media every Saturday morning to see if we're needed to help out a photographer in distress - even if it's just to lend some batteries!
A lot of thought goes into your 'back-up' wedding, should something go wrong.
Will your friend with the shiny camera be prepared for this?
4. Less work for you
You've spent a long time planning every detail of your big day and I hope you'll want some input into your wedding photography too; but do you want to be arranging your group photos, trying to find uncle Neville, and diffusing a squabble between your two nephews about who is the tallest? No. You want to be enjoying your day, and have your photographer taking control of this.
Organising the photos can be incredibly stressful and time consuming. Professional wedding photographers have done this a lot, and usually have it down to fine art.
I'm not going to reveal all of my secrets here, but for a recent wedding, in a very large venue, I managed to fulfil the Bride's wish-list for group shots, all 42 of them, in under an hour.
Having a professional photographer means they know what shots to take, when, and how to go about it. There's also one photo you're not allowed to take for legal reasons. Having a professional photographer will free you from any worry about your photos, and leave you to enjoy the moment.
Will your friend with the shiny camera give you the same confidence?
5. Consistency & Creativity
Apart from your own memories, and they could be softened by prosecco, your wedding album will be the one thing you can rely on to re-live that special day. It needs to flow, and tell the story of your day to its fullest. It needs to look like it's one giant memory divided into 300 individual pieces - not a collage of varying colours and styles.
Your wedding album should highlight all of the effort you put in to the finer details, not just the big picture of you exchanging vows at the altar.
The impact of this album is partly down to the shiny camera, but mostly down to the vision, empathy, and understanding of your wedding photographer. Wedding photographers are a strange breed, we really love what we do.
Wedding photographers dont just take pictures.
What does your friend with the shiny camera do?
Wedding, Portrait & Event photographer
Based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and working nationally.