When it comes to planning your wedding, and keeping costs within your specified budget, it can seem very tempting to save money on your wedding photography. After all, we all seem to have friends or relatives that own digital SLR’s nowadays, so why not simply ask them to photograph your wedding as a ‘favor’? Think of the money you could save!
The perceived wisdom here is that all it takes to get great photographs is the ability to point a camera and hit the shutter button. After all, modern cameras are so sophisticated that the ‘photographer’ doesn’t need any real skill, knowledge or experience, right? I would strongly argue that this is not the case- that despite the advances in camera technology, its more important than ever to hire a skilled professional to shoot your wedding. Here’s why:
Firstly, weddings are not events that you can simply ‘repeat’. If the friend or relative shooting your wedding messes up, you won’t get another chance to re-run your day. And that means the single most important day of your life won’t be captured and documented as it should be.
Secondly, photographing weddings requires more than just creativity and a ‘photographic eye’. There are a myriad of technical skills that photographers need to learn and apply, from understanding lighting, to setting exposures, through to posing the bride and groom in an aesthetically pleasing way, and managing large groups of people for formal shots. You also have to be able to think on your feet in difficult situations. For example, if it rains, a good photographer will have a contingency plan in mind for capturing the portraits and group shots. A significant part of a wedding photographers job is good old-fashioned time management and problem solving.
The third reason I would recommend hiring a professional wedding photographer relates to camera equipment. More often than not, when I’ve seen an ‘Uncle Joe’ shoot a wedding as a ‘gift’ to the bride and groom, they often use entry level DSLR’s with very basic lenses. The lenses in question are what we call ‘slow’ lenses. This means that in low light situations, these cameras struggle to focus properly, and also let in sufficient light to freeze the action. A good professional wedding photographer invariably invests in high quality fast lenses that work superbly in low light situations. And let’s not forget that there many times in the course of a wedding day when light levels are low- for example, during a church ceremony, and in the evening for the first dance.
Finally, if we look beyond these issues, there is still the general concern around ‘professionalism’. An experienced wedding photographer will be available to answer the bride and groom’s questions and concerns, and provide them with a quality service. They will also be covered by public liability and professional indemnity insurance, just in case the worst should happen. Bearing all of these factors in mind, surely the risk of handing over the responsibility of photographing your most important day to a friend or relative is simply too high?
About The Author: Peter Bur Wedding Photography is based in East Dulwich in South London. Peter offers high quality wedding photography services for clients across the United Kingdom.