When it comes to choosing a photographer for your wedding day, the options are endless and often overwhelming. Comparing one photographer’s packages to another is like apples to oranges, especially if you don’t really know what to look for in a professional. What it really boils down to is you get what you pay for – meaning the price may seem great and budget-friendly, but what are you really getting from your photographer? An amazing, professional experience or just some photos taken by someone with a good camera?
The list could go on forever, but here are my top 10 benefits of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding day:
1. Experience does make a difference.
No two weddings are alike, which means that an experienced, professional photographer is coming into your wedding day armed with an arsenal of knowledge on how to craft your story given the weather, lighting, the day’s schedule, venue setup, even down to the perfect place to capture your mom in the background of the father-daughter dance. We move and breathe at least 60 seconds ahead of everyone on a wedding day, positioning ourselves to capture the best moments even before they occur.
2. Choose a photographer that you love, not just one that saves you money.
Trust me when I say there’s a photographer for every budget. If you can’t afford your dream photographer (#goals), look for someone who has a similar photography style that’s more aligned with your price range. Better yet, schedule a phone call with your photographer before you book to make sure you hit it off, too. You will feel more comfortable in front of the camera of someone who makes you laugh, even if it’s because of a super cheesy joke!
3. Walking through your wedding with a plan.
Whether printed out or recalled by memory, all professional photographers have a shot list. There are so many moments to be captured on a wedding day that it can be very easy to miss one if it’s not planned out in advance. Be sure to discuss the photos you want to have with your photographer in addition to their recommended image list. However, it can be quite overwhelming to hand over your entire Pinterest board and request tons of images by other photographers. Remember, you’re hiring a professional because you love his or her vision behind the lens, not because you want to art direct your own wedding. Talk about your ideas with your photographer and trust that they will provide you with beautiful images, even if they aren’t exactly the same as your pins.
4. Posing people is an art form in itself.
As professionals, it’s our
job duty to make our clients look and feel amazing in the final images! With years of posing experience, we know how to hide double chins (it’s my secret weapon!), mask insecurities and breathe life into each image. We understand that being in front of the camera can be uncomfortable for basically all humans who aren’t full-time models, but you can trust a professional to take photos of you looking your best. Like I said, it’s our duty!
5. The one thing that remains from your wedding day is your photographs.
You put in tons of effort into making sure every detail of your wedding is beautiful, but much like Cinderella, it will all turn into a pumpkin by midnight as you are whisked off to your honeymoon. Quality photographs are all that are left to visually remember your wedding day.
6. Your photos are safely backed up the same day.
Speaking of quality, you can rest assured knowing that a professional photographer backs up your wedding images multiple times in different places the same night as your wedding. We basically drive straight home and stay up until 2-3 in the morning backing up files and editing sneak peeks to share with you the next day. I can’t say the same type of effort would go into saving your wedding photos shot by your Uncle who got a nice camera for Christmas … (no offense to your Uncle, I’m just sayin’)
7. Great camera? Check. Know how to use it? Double check!
Just because your Uncle (friend/friend-of-friend/craigslist guy) owns great camera gear doesn’t automatically qualify them as a professional. I know, surprising right? 😉 There’s a lot more that goes into taking beautiful images than just having great gear. It’s about understanding what type of location is best when photographing in the middle of the day or how to work with lighting inside a dimly-lit church. Knowing how far to push your camera before pulling out your flash. Heck, just working your flash alone is huge! It’s not the camera that anticipates moments or makes decisions like these, it’s the professional behind the camera.
8. Prints and albums for your grandkids to enjoy.
Your engagement, bridal and wedding photos should not live on the internet alone! Pros have access to amazing wedding album vendors and top-quality photo labs that are not available to the general public, which means your prints and albums will last long enough for you to show your kids and grandkids someday.
9. Cohesive, beautiful images from shot to shot.
The wedding day flies by so quickly, but that’s just the beginning stage in the photography process. Once we’ve downloaded and backed up all of your images (see above!), we then review each image and make decisions on what images will make it into the final gallery. The main reason every single image isn’t edited and included in the gallery is simple – closed eyes, multiples of the same image and a face full of food? No one needs to see that and it’s not a part of your story that will ever be printed and hung over the mantle. Trust your photographer to include the very best images of your wedding day and remember that quality wins over quantity every time.
10. If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.
At the end of the day, you want to be thrilled with your images, not regretful that you hired a friend or someone with little experience to back up their work. It breaks my heart when I hear couples talk about their unfortunate photography experiences knowing that there’s not much you can do to salvage bad images from a wedding that only happens once in a lifetime. Trust me, a professional will prove their value over and over again, even if it’s just by saving you from that same heartache.
Just to recap, keep these in mind when hiring your photographer:
– Beautiful, consistent style that fits your personality
– Explains how they work and when to expect images to be delivered
– List of images with a specific plan for your wedding day
– Offers quality print and album products