In light of my recent marketing campaign for my wedding photography business, I have received quite a few inquiries requesting my services to photograph weddings for various couples. However, I am getting some push back when it comes to hiring me to shoot a wedding. Whether it's because of affordability of a professional photographer, or just not seeing the value that a professional photographer provides on a wedding, I really do not know (or ask during these inquiries). One of the most common things I hear is that the couple has "a friend who has a nice camera take the photos", or "everyone at the wedding will have their phones and can take photos". These comments that I've been hearing has prompted me to write this short post as to why you should hire a professional and not your friend-of-a-friend's-brothers-cousins-uncle who has a camera.
1. A professional is Contractually Committed to You
We'll just get the most uncomfortable topic out of the way and that is contracts. Most professional photographers have contracts (If they don't, then find a new photographer), that make them legally accountable for your wedding day photography coverage. This means they are guaranteed to show up on your wedding, take all the photos that were agreed upon, and deliver those said photos to the newlyweds, and if they don't perform said duties, you can legally hold them accountable. Why? Because it is in the contract. Hiring a friend who has no obligation to you can be a recipe for disaster. I have heard stories of people hiring a friend to shoot their wedding and at the last minute cancel, leaving the couple in a bind. Not Good...
A photographer who has experience shooting weddings will know what to do so everyone is not just standing around wondering what they are supposed to be doing. Every photographer will have their own way of doing things, but the important take away from this is that a professional has a plan and a backup plan for your wedding day. This takes away the stress from the couple to try and figure out the next steps during the wedding day. Besides this, a photographer will know how to capture moments and know when to look for certain things to shoot. These photos are the only tangible memory left of your wedding day, one day your children and grandchild will ask you to see photos of your wedding. Why leave these important moments in the hands of a novice?
3. You get what you pay for (or don't pay for???)
You'll get high quality printable images of your entire wedding day. It is not uncommon for a photographer to walk around with 5-10k dollars worth of camera gear at a given event. I dont know if the same can be said about a friend with a camera that was asked to shoot a wedding. Wedding photographers need high end gear that will take high quality images, take a beating from daily use, and have the ability to shoot in a variety of lighting situations with either just solely their camera or with lighting equipment. I know that camera gear is not everything, that a great photo ultimately depends on the photographer. However if you look at any photographer that has made it in the wedding industry , I can gurantee you that they are using top of the line equipment for their weddings. So while yes, the doesn't always matter, it is important to remember that photos like the ones below couldn't have been taken with just any camera, or any "photographer" with a camera.
4. Ruining your Relationship
You will actually be building a new relationship when you hire a professional to shoot your wedding. You will be straining your relationship in some way when you hire a friend to shoot your wedding for various reasons. They will either resent you because you are making them work for free or underpaying them, or rather, you are unhappy with the photos they took and you cannot tell them because they are your friends.
5. They get to enjoy the day with you
If someone is truly your friend, you would want them to enjoy the wedding day with you instead of having to worry about taking photos all day. If that is not the case then why invite them to the wedding in the first place?
Before I end this I just want to say that these topics mentioned are not black-and-white. I do not want people thinking that I am against anyone other than a professional to shoot a wedding. Circumstances are different for everyone, budgets are different for everyone, and there are friends that can do an outstanding job with your wedding photos. However what I would like from you to get from this post is to make an informed decision about hiring anyone other than a professional for anything regarding your wedding.
If you are planning a wedding, I love working with and meeting new couples!
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Thank you for stopping by and God Bless!