Why indeed? Who needs to pay all that money for a wedding photographer these days? After all, camera technology is so advanced now that almost anyone can get a very good shot just by pushing a button. It’s a fact that more and more engaged couples are opting to have “Uncle Bob” shoot their wedding because he is “really good with a camera”. Let’s discuss the many reasons that skimping on your wedding photography budget is a terrible idea.
Weddings are becoming increasingly expensive and engaged couples are understandably looking for ways to save money anywhere they can. The bride’s brother, for example, is a great photographer and has been for a long time. So why not have him shoot the wedding, it won’t cost a thing! So yes, brides and grooms should look for ways to save money, but why chose the one thing you have left after all the money is spent and the wedding is over. The wedding day goes by so fast that many couples will tell you they barely remember anything. So why then, would you want an amateur photographer to capture one of the most important moments of your life?
Photographing a wedding is extremely challenging. You are being asked to create beautiful, romantic and photo journalistic photos under difficult and rushed circumstances. Weddings rarely go according to plan. A photographer is almost always being rushed by the catering staff, the family and even the bride and groom! Nobody will remember any of this 3 weeks after the wedding when the photos are produced and they are less than satisfactory. Pro photographers have experience shooting under these conditions and know that just getting the shots is not going to be enough. The photos need to be memorable, no matter how little time was allowed for photography. Can Uncle Bob really be expected to handle this challenge?
Now let’s talk about equipment. We started by mentioning that camera technology has improved to an amazing level. The amateur photographer that is chosen to shoot the wedding usually will possess equipment that is as good as many professionals. But is that enough? Professional wedding photographers will come to the wedding equipped with extra back up cameras in case of equipment failure. They will bring extra flashes, batteries, and lenses. What happens if Uncle Bob’s great camera happens to stop working? Does he have a back up camera body? Probably not.
Speaking of back-ups, do you think that Uncle Bob knows the proper way to back up your wedding photo image files? When I am photographing a wedding, I constantly back up my files after each card is full. Then when I get home, the images go on my computer hard drive and then on my external back up drive. The images are copied to a DVD and then, most importantly, an off-site back up is completed. Failure to do this extensive type of back up system could result in a total loss of the wedding images.
The obvious advantages to hiring a professional is the experience they have and talent for this type of photography. Creative posing, romantic images, and knowledge of lighting are just a few of the things you might not get with an amateur or friend doing your wedding. The professional photographer will also understand how to do the family photos and deal with all the challenges that come along with trying to get large groups together. But the real trouble with Uncle Bob usually starts at the reception. I have been to a number of weddings where the so-called official photographer decided to take advantage of the free beer. There is nothing like a drunk wedding photographer. Your friend or relative is supposed to be at your wedding to have fun. They might take the first part of the wedding seriously and get some decent photos for you, but don’t count on any good shots once the cake is cut!
Author Mike Dubnoff is a well known and respected wedding photographer especially in the San Francisco Bay Area region. He operates a number of wedding websites including an Indian Photography and his new Bay Area Weddings.
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