10 reasons you should hire and invest into a professional wedding photographer
I’ve quickly learnt as a London Wedding Photographer that a lot of the time, the way we structure our businesses and price our packages can be unclear (I promise we don’t just stick random numbers onto our wedding quotes!) I get questions asking: ‘Emily, what really goes into wedding photography? Why does it cost over £1000 for just 8 hours of work?’ I’m all about transparency within this industry, and alas, here we are with another of my blog posts breaking everything it all down.’ And here we are. 10 reasons for you.
1) A pro will have the ‘correct’ equipment which isn’t just a camera and a few lenses. Oh, and they’ll also know their gear inside out. When you hire a professional wedding photographer, you’re not just hiring them for their skill. You’re hiring them because they have the correct equipment to do their job properly. Equipment wise, they’ll need at least two camera bodies incase one camera malfunctions on the day, along with multiple lenses - after all, technology fails when we least expect it to. A pro will also have enough SD cards/CF cards for their cameras, as well as enough batteries to supply for EDF energy. (I’m half kidding, but in all seriousness, I don’t leave my house without having 10 charged batteries for my camera). A good wedding photographer will be experienced to understand the need for multiple flashes and speedlites, as well as being able to use them well under pressure. Weddings are extremely fast paced, and if the Photographer you’ve hired is busy trying to work out how to use their spanking new equipment, that could have been a once-in-a-lifetime moment they’ve missed. A professional wedding photographer will be ready for any scenario which may come up, whereas a new photographer may still be learning a lot of it throughout the day which would be too late.
2) Being able to photograph not only well, but in challenging conditions. Weddings and photoshoots are completely different. By hiring a wedding professional, you know that they have worked in challenging conditions that will likely arise in your very own wedding, where it be poor lighting and dimly lit rooms (which is all the more common), less-than-optimal spaces to work with. First dances are particularly ‘challenging’ to photograph - when you’ve messed up a shot in camera, no amount of post production editing the image will fix it!
Weddings are not photographically controlled environments which photoshoots are - we have to adapt to whatever pre-existing light there is, and create the best art we possibly can to do you and your wedding justice. These are memories which you will cherish in the years to come, and it is so easy to get wrong if you haven’t hired the right photographer. As a Wedding Photographer myself, we have to understand how to shoot in bright sunlight, when it is pouring with rain, in dark churches.. because that’s our job. More often than not, I’ll need to work with an off camera flash system to create the best possible photos. If the photographer photographing your wedding hasn’t got this experience, it is best to reconsider your options. Weddings are not trial runs - your excuse can’t be that ‘it was a dark church, so I didn’t get good shots’… You heard it here first!
3) Equipment failure - A wedding pro will have backup camera equipment for the times when technology decides goes astray. As a wedding photographer myself, we are handling the most precious photographs of a couple’s life. No exaggeration, but this is very much the truth. The level of responsibility placed in us not only to photograph, but deliver these (beautiful) once-in-a-lifetime photographs is huge. That’s why I always have backup camera equipment on me at all times. That’s the difference with a seasoned wedding photographer.
Imagine the photographer who offered to work for free to build up their portfolio, or the person you’ve hired which occasionally shoots photos as a hobbyist comes up to you and tells you ‘sorry, I can’t finish documenting your once in a lifetime event as my camera has failed me’ in the middle of your ceremony.’ What! Will they just use their iPhone?
Another scenario: what about if the Photographer you hired don’t have a flash system for their camera? Will they just deliver black images from your first dance? If the church is too dark, will they just raise their ISO and just let the photos be unusable and grainy?
Once you invest in professional photography, these excuses are out the question, and won’t even need to be something you’re worried about. You can usually tell in a Photographer’s portfolio and galleries, the quality of work you will have delivered.
4) A robust post wedding workflow for working with images from a once in a lifetime event. Imagine - you had the wedding of your dreams, and you have post-wedding blues. You’re super excited to be receiving your wedding gallery! Maybe you’ll blow some of the photos onto a canvas. Or maybe have them printed in a bespoke wedding album. Oops, never mind, your photographer doesn’t offer products as they’re only a hobbyist.
Anyway. You’re super excited to be reliving your wedding day again. After all, photographs are the only tangible thing from your wedding. Suddenly, you get a text message: ‘sorry, your wedding photos got deleted.’ Sorry what?
Turns out, the photographer didn't have the suitable workflow for working with images from a once in a lifetime event- in this situation, which would be your wedding. Maybe they didn’t back up the photos, or they lost the SD/CF card. Maybe it was eaten by their dog. We’ll never really know. Anyway, the point is, there needs to be at least two different locations to back up wedding images to afterwards, or you risk losing all of them. Like I said, technology could fail us when we need them the most.
5) ’My friend is a photographer - I’ll hire them instead to minimise costs!’ We all have family and friends that pursue photography in their spare time. Whether that be chasing sunsets or going to Hyde Park every Sunday to chase the birds, there are low entry boundaries into photography. That’s why there are so many of us.
There may be plenty of great photographers amongst your friends - I know that’s definitely the case in my friend group! And maybe some of your friends have even done shoots for you, and you’ve loved the photos. They’ve offered to shoot your wedding and you jump on the chance. Everyone loves a discounted photographer, don’t they?
But will said friend edit the photographs? Many photographers I know bring their photos to life from their editing, including myself. Will they be able to direct the family formals? Are they insured? Have they got the sufficient camera equipment to handle the demands of photographing a wedding? Have they got professional lenses? Flash systems in place? Enough batteries for their camera? Have they got an extensive wedding portfolio? Because working with natural light, to artificial light is very different, and can make or break some photographers who aren’t experienced with weddings.
It is a huge risk, and more often than not, a risk not worth taking.
6) We do this as a career because we truly love what we do. We’re trained, skilled and have dedicated our lives into doing this. Weddings are a whole ball game in themselves. Not everyone is a wedding photographer, and there is a reason for that. It is super hard work, where for instance, the long days are a strain to our body… There’s barely any time to rehydrate, and we scoff our dinner quickly incase we miss anything. Lugging around all our heavy camera gear too, is one part of the job that I don’t enjoy. It’s not all flowers and rainbows.
However, been a wedding photographer is the most rewarding job I could think of doing. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m always looking for ways to further my education as a photographer so that I can serve my clients better, whether this through posing, client experience… My degree in Film Production also serves hand in hand in what I do so that I can be the best possible self for everyone that I work with. Of course, I didn’t magically become a wedding photographer overnight. I started out shooting weddings as a second photographer before leading my own. An experienced wedding photographer charges what they do, because photography is a skill. An art. We know what we are doing - we never just ‘wing it’ or ‘hope for the best.’ We are truly out there to dedicate ourselves in providing you with the images you’ve always dreamt of.
7) Having a professional photographer that knows what they’re doing provides as a huge stress reliever. Hey, we know what we’re doing, and on a day such as your wedding, this is a huge stress reliever. A professional wedding photographer can offer resources for planning your wedding, where it be through blog posts like these, breaking down each part of your day and deciding when the best time to have your family formals are, and a bunch of things that go unnoticed if someone inexperienced were to lead the wedding. These are the joys of working with someone that knows their craft inside out. We do it for as a career, and we can guarantee we sure as well know how to take an extra burden off the wedding day stress you may already be going through.
8) A legal business with contracts minded - extra protection. There are plenty of horror stories out there, such as ‘my wedding photographer took all our money, didn’t turn up, and we didn’t end up having any photographs from our day.’ This has happened to people I know, and let me tell you: it wasn’t fun. Not even remotely.
There’s also the: ‘our photographer cancelled on us last minute and we don’t have anyone to fill the spot…’ You’re probably thinking: ‘what are the odds?’ Well.. I’ve had to fill in, numerous times for these exact circumstances. The couple were stressed already, and this last blow was devastating.
When you hire a legal business to photograph your wedding with contracts set in stone and everything properly done, you can guarantee they will be at your wedding, and doing the job they promised to do. No flaking, no excuses. You also know this way that they are a legitimate business, law abiding and paying taxes and any relevant costs to ensure their business isn’t one to steal from you too! You’re fully protected, and prevents you from needing to shell out anymore money than you need to in order to hire another photographer.
9) Your wedding photographs are an investment for the future. They are timeless, and photographs which cannot just be ‘staged.’ Why do we hire wedding photographers?
We hire wedding photographers for a reason. These are once in a lifetime events that can’t be recreated. After the cake has been eaten, the songs have been sung and the vows have been said, your photographs are the only tangible item from your wedding. After months, maybe even years of planning your wedding- the only way to truly bask and enjoy your wedding over again is through your photographs.
Photographs are an investment for the future. It is really easy to overlook the value of them, because they are priceless. Ten years down the line, you can’t just suddenly go out and purchase your wedding photographs if you didn’t decide to hire a professional photographer for your wedding. It isn’t something which money can buy back. But what you can do, if you had hired a photographer for your wedding, is sit down and look at your photographs again and relive your wedding day. Memories which had been forgotten, being brought back to life again. This is why photography is an investment. Their value only increases as time goes by.
10) ’I’ll rely on the photographs from my guests!’ They will be drunk, low quality and shit iPhone photos. Let me tell you now. Also, how will they send those photos back to you?
Some of my friends have told me that instead of opting for a wedding photographer, they messaged the guests for the photographs they took after the wedding. I’ve seen these photos, and let me tell you: they were all low quality iPhone photographs taken with the flash. These are not photos that accurately represent your day, rather snippets and selfies of a wedding guest’s life. Add on the fact that Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger compress the quality so that it is even lower than it already was.
Oh, and add alcohol into the mix: drunk, low quality selfies.
Hopefully this (long-winded) blog post has given you an insight on the importance of professional wedding photography, especially if you were on the verge of deciding whether you needed a wedding photographer, and clear up some myths which float around!
All my love,
Wedding Photographer + Videographer