What to expect when you choose a Professional Wedding Photographer
So what is one of the biggest differences between a Professional Photographer and an Amateur? They cost more. Yes they will it’s a fact, but let me explain why. The amount of time they will spend on your wedding will be considerably different. The time spent getting to know you and making sure the day is YOUR day from start to finish, on the day they will be framing each photograph so that it flatters you and being observant on the job to capture those opportune moments. They spend a considerable amount of time after the wedding too editing each photo individual removing that fly that landed on the dress, the bogies on the sleeve of your page boys suite. In post production they will be correcting light, exposure, colour temperature. The list is long!
Professional photographer’s photograph weddings as their job, so they have a lot more experience in carrying out the job. We know how to approach a group of guests who are camera shy and coax them out for a group photo. We know how to get the ushers onside and keep them feeling useful. We know how to reassure the mother of the bride when she is worried everyone is running late and we know how to communicate with the vicar and venue staff so that we all are working as a team to make your day run smoothly. We have the experience to know when to let the couple have their time together uninterrupted and when to keep to schedule to keep them ontime. We know when to hover and blend in and when to take action and co-ordinate a large group and how to do it in a way that makes everyone respond well. I’ve received many a compliment from the happy couple that every one of their guests commented on how professional or friendly I was, how hard I worked and how I helped the day run smoothly, but without getting in anyone’s way. To the happy couple they may not see much of what I’m doing as my aim it so capture the day as it comes. But to others who see me they may see me tucked behind a pillar at the back or side of the church. They may see me out a window getting a birds eye view or lying on the wet grass to get a low angle of children playing. (I have to bring at least 3 changes of clothing as you never know what could happen. In the photo above it poured down with rain and I got soaked through on more than one occassion, but there was glorious sunshine by late afternoon and it is still to date one of my favourite weddings.)
We know the processes inside and out and most importantly it’s our full time job, so we go about every minute with care and with pride. We are invisible when we need to be allowing you to focus on your guests and making your own memories and we are there when you need us. We are always reading the room and running to your schedule so that you don’t need to rush, but also so you don’t miss out on any part of the day that you have spent time planning. We won’t be accepting drinks from guests or chatting to people. We may build a report with a guest for a short time to get the best photo of say your grandparent with a smile that feels easy and comfortable not forced. We show your guests respect, but we are working for you always.
For the most part a Professional Photographer will have high end professional equipment. The equipment will be fast to capture that moment just as it happens, crisper and clearer so you don’t end up with a blurred, fizzy or noisy photo. Higher quality so you can enlarge your photos or crop in tight to a person within a group. We have a variety of lenses and several bodies. Cameras fail, an amateur often won’t have a back up.
Knowledge and skill
An amateur may get some perfectly decent photographs in a set of hundreds, they may have an eye for photography and some amateurs may lack some of the points above but may be very good photographers. But with a professional photographer the percentage of beautifully framed perfectly exposed and correctly angled photographs should be far greater. After a wedding one of the bridesmaids emailed me after seeing the her friends photos and she said every photo was perfect, every single photo captured a memory or was filled with life and expression. She then went on to book me for her wedding. If you’re as concerned about how good the photos look and you just want some kind of documentation then why not hire some basic slr’s and let guests capture the day from their point of view? That could be a really lovely way of capturing your day? Or then an amateur photographer could be the right choice for you. But you must remind yourself of what you’re paying for. I’ve done many reshoots for couples who were unhappy with their photographer. We have recreated their day or simply gone down a completely different route to celebrate their day in a different way. They would always say how their wedding photographer didn’t live up to their expectations and didn’t capture the day as they wanted. In this case I will always remind them that the amateur was doing their best, but they are amateurs and a lot of their work may still be in the trial and error stage. I think if you want to save money and you feel photos are not important enough to spend £1000+ then your expectations of the end result should also reflect this.
They are cheaper yes!
They are starting out so you may get photos from a fresh set of eyes
They may be willing to give you more things for free because they need the experience more then they need the money as they have a full time job.
But remember if they don’t answer your emails within a day or two this will be because your wedding is not their full time job and they need to prioritise what pays their bills, so please be kind and understanding.
If they make a mistake or they aren’t giving you the service you expect please remember they are still learning, or they are supplying you the service that the budget has allowed for.
If you want to give people a step up then hiring an amateur photographer wanting to pursue a career change is a great thing to do. But I would always check they have shadowed a professional first if they will be your only photographer on the day.
There will be difference between someone with a keen interest who is wanting to pursue this as a career and has a real passion for people and photography and someone who is just trying to earn extra few hundred pounds on their days off. The service you receive and the final product will be reflected in the price you pay for the most part whether professional or amateur. Research well. Ask to see whole albums of full days not just the best bits. It’s your day, so choose what works for you. x