Ok, I’m going to take a deep breath here, and attempt not to rant. I feel so passionately about this – I’m not going to spin you a line and feed you a sales pitch (ok, there’ll be a link at the bottom). Basically I don’t care if you hire me or someone else to photograph your wedding, just please, please get it done properly!
Photographs form such a precious part of our lives, and weddings are very personal and special events for the couple and their close family and friends. It’s so important to get it right. So save on the bows for the chair coverings and the box of doves, and hire someone to capture the story of your day for you – properly and professionally, and with minimal fuss.
Yup, I hear you, you don’t like the thought of endless staged shots, bored guests, and a hideously bossy photographer.
Well, I’m definitely not the only one who doesn’t operate like that! (I can’t stand bossy people and having bored guests either!). Find a photographer who specialises in in-the-moment photography. Maybe you want one or two group shots, maybe you don’t want any. That’s fine, it’s your day, simply discuss your needs with your photographer in advance!
But wedding photographers are EXPENSIVE!!!
Not necessarily. Wedding packages can be surprisingly cost-effective. For a start, the photographers carry all the kit they need to capture the best shots of your day. And they carry spares. And back-ups. And they back up your photos as soon as they get home (I’ve heard some will even do this in the car park). And often they’ll keep your photos on a disk in case anything happens to your copy. (Bet you didn’t know that!).
Photographers will also go through all the photos and select the best ones, do the post processing, and have your images all ready for you to use. Many (myself included) will even put together a photobook for you, saving you HEAPS of hassle.
Oh yeah, and they also know (a) what they’re doing, and (b) what they’re letting themselves in for (it’s not an easy job!).
Here are some more reasons why hiring someone to take your photos is better value for money than relying on your guests:
- Firstly, your guests are there to celebrate with you, not to work. And wedding photography is hard work. If they’re doing it right, they won’t be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the day with you…which isn’t really very fair, is it?
- Most of your guests will have camera phones – these don’t work well AT ALL in low light conditions (like the venues where wedding ceremonies take place). They also don’t work well when photographing movement, and are hopeless when operated after a few glasses of bubbly.
- Some of your guests may have better cameras, but the cameras and lenses which work best in ceremony venues are very costly and need practice and experience to use them correctly.
- A (good!) hired photographer will do a scouting mission ahead of the day to check out venue(s) and will get in touch with key people in advance (such as the registrar or vicar) to help make things run more smoothly.
- A hired photographer can access areas that the guests can’t – like behind the registrar or vicar, so your faces will be visible in the pictures, not the back of your heads! We can also often access high up places like balconies, that are usually off-limits to guests, in order to get some more interesting shots.
- The techie bits… like lighting and colour balance. Artificial light makes people look yellow. Our brain corrects this for us, but many cameras don’t. Even the expensive ones don’t get it right automatically. Pros know how to get it right. No weirdly-hued faces.
- If everyone is taking photos, the photos will basically be of everyone taking photos… not a good look.
- And here’s the toughest one of all: there are a lot of people out there who think they are good photographers, but all too often they’re not as great as they might believe. As I mentioned above, wedding photography is hard work: mentally you have to be constantly on-the-ball, watching everything, thinking ahead and getting your settings right so you don’t miss anything. Physically, not only are you carrying the kit around, lifting, lowering, lifting (even a standard DSLR will start to feel heavy after a few hours), but you also need a strong core and sturdy thighs (I kid you not, 95% of photography seems to involve squatting).
If your guests take your photos, you will inevitably end up with (possibly) hundreds of almost-identical shots – probably blurred (low light/alcohol), yellow (artificial light) and of the back of your heads and other people brandishing camera phones. It will be up to you to find the will to sort through all the photos and find the best ones. Good luck.
Still tempted to place an unfair burden on your guests, who just want to come and have fun and celebrate with you?