Everyone has a friend with a camera. A few are professional and most are not. Further, everyone knows someone who has planned a wedding. Some are wealthy and again, most are not. In between these two points comes the elusive who of wedding photography. As in any other area of a big day, a myriad of options vie loudly for your attention. All over the internet you can find great articles on what to and what not to look for in choosing the photography for your big day.
This blog post only wants to stress the someone not to hire:
…and that one person is anyone you know who isn’t a professional.
But my friend has a camera!
Sure, we get it. And weddings can be quite expensive as it is. It could work out, and what a bundle you would save if it did? However, to someone not quite in the know—such as your photographer-friend with a camera—there is much more than initially meets the eye to quality photography. Rather, to say that photography is simply pointing and pushing a button is akin to the claim that good cooking is simply turning on an oven. We all know it’s much more than that, for both points. Photography is truly a science and an art of knowing how light and timing work, exactly like cooking is a science of ingredients.
A professional photographer is going to know exactly this science we’ve described. Those simply perfect wedding shots you saw on Pintrest? You think someone’s friend shot those? The most important aspect of this entire piece is to remember that if professional photographers were not a necessity, then the market would not be so thick.
So why professional?
Varied experience in many different environments gives someone the knowledge of how to create tasteful and unique photography. Someone without this experience, well, simply just doesn’t have it. That may seem very obvious to you, but until it’s spelled out, it’s easy to assume anyone who wanted to might have that kind of know-how to create great wedding shots.
Also a point to remember is a professional photographer has attended a wedding much like yours many, many times before. While it’s impossible to say someone’s mistakes are forever behind them, large glaring ones that ruin a set of wedding images generally become less frequent with the more experience someone’s gain. When you finally out yourself past the idea of hiring a friend and start choosing among the professionals; check references, portfolio work, and see that’s there’s plenty of both. This idea is starting to drift off into another blog topic, but simply put: the more work and references someone can show off, the more mistakes are behind them, and the greater of a job they will give your big day.
One more point to consider.
So what exactly happens when you hire that friend? Besides possibly mediocre photos—which should be enough to strike fear into the hearts of any hopeful bride—it’s one relationship that is definitely ruined. Imagine your best college friend comes out of the woodwork claiming to do great photography on the cheap, then, come day of, he/she simply doesn’t. All that work into a great wedding and you don’t even have much to show. That best college friend isn’t exactly your best friend, if not even your friend anymore. Not only did you not get your photos, but now you are one less friend.
A successful wedding leaves you with a few beautiful items: a ring, a dress, a piece of wedding cake in the freezer and of course the photography that will hopefully be exactly what you’re looking for. When you consider that you only have a single afternoon to capture and get these photos right, it is important to have someone working for you who has done this before and is confident about it. Why trust that final point with anyone but an experienced photographer?