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Pros vs. Amateurs:
Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

August 29th, 2011 by Jeannine

Guest Photo vs. Professional Photo by Generation Photography

I pretty much lived on wedding forums when I was planning my wedding and I was amazed how many times I came across brides who were actually willing to rely on an inexperienced friend or even their guests to take their wedding photos instead of hiring a professional… All in the name of saving money! I’m all about being frugal but I think that is a huge mistake. If anything, that’s one aspect of the wedding which is okay to splurge on because you’re talking about your memories here, and you want to make sure those memories are preserved well. Look at the above photo of me signing the registry… the left one was taken by a guest at my wedding and the right one was taken by my photographer, it makes huge difference! If that visual still doesn’t sway you, read on and see what else you can expect if you don’t hire a professional wedding photographer…

Sacrificing quality

Amateur photos may not be composed properly and have no consistency in quality. A person may have the best camera in the world but it doesn’t make a difference unless they know how to use it to its full advantage. A professional photographer should have the right skill sets to produce quality photos. Not only that, they are designated to follow you and your groom around, capturing moments that happen all day, not just the ceremony and reception. They also get to play with different apertures, creative compositions, or use effects to create images that are beautiful and also interesting to look at.

Timing is everything

A professional photographer will catch the important moments because they are trained and know exactly where to position themselves at key times during the event. Pros usually scout the locations beforehand so they are familiar with the venue come wedding day. They are also usually given a schedule so they know ahead of time if there are any significant events that need capturing. It can be hit or miss for amateurs. Even if they have a decent camera, if they don’t know what is coming up, they will probably not get the shot at the right time because they aren’t prepared for it.

Possibility of little to no editing

Every professional photographer has their own editing style, some like to transform each photo to make them look more vibrant, others like vintage and romantic, or maybe add a bit of edge or character. It’s one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a photographer. Amateur photographers may possess only basic editing skills or none at all! Photos will be the only things you can look back on and you might as well enjoy looking at well-edited photos. Plus, pros can re-touch photos… who wouldn’t want flawless skin, am I right? ;)

Missing photos

If you’re getting a friend or a guest to take photos at your wedding, it may be tough getting those photos back unless they’re really reliable. They have lives too, after all, and more often than not, they are doing you a favour which makes it kind of hard to bug them about it. Professional photographers have a timeframe they work in and guarantee you your photos within a specific amount of time. Depending on the photographer, some may even show you some teasers as soon as a few days after the wedding, which is always nice. I know a lot of guests took photos at my wedding and I haven’t even seen half of them.

I’ve also asked a few local pros for their perspective on this topic, here’s what else they can bring to the table that amateurs couldn’t:

Jeanie Ow from [Stu-di-o] by Jeanie

“It’s not just the photos … it’s what you can do with them after, too. Pro photogs have researched on what the best products are out there to showcase your wedding photos. I love that I have that know-how because I’m in the industry. Our wedding photos are appreciated by our families because we take the time and effort to make the products that will bring smiles to Ian’s mom’s face, or bring pride to my parents when they talk about what I’ve been up to lately. Those products can be ‘hidden’ if one hires a family friend. Plus … I’ve heard of so many relationships being ruined because of wedding day photos. What is more important, ensuring that your relationship with your friend lasts for a lifetime, or saving a few thousand dollars?”

Daphne Chan from Daphne Chan Photography

“In addition to experience and expertise, another main reason to hire a professional is due to their equipment. This is not because they have access to the latest and greatest cameras. It’s due to the fact that professional photographers know their equipment well and have practiced using it many times over. They ensure their gear is in working order and check it again the night before. They also have back-up equipment of everything including another camera body and extra lenses, memory cards, batteries and flashes. Professional photographers also have liability insurance to deal with any potential mishaps on your big day. They also have lighting equipment to be prepared to deal with low and mixed lighting situations found in most wedding ceremony and reception venues.”

Back to those brides on the wedding forum… some were fortunate that they got decent photos, but most were disappointed and regretted not investing on a professional. Remember, you don’t have to spend an obscene amount of money for good photography. Do your research because there are SO MANY affordable Metro Vancouver photographers out there, ready and waiting to serve you! A good place to look first would be my Vancity Vendors. I’ve profiled a bunch of talented photographers at varying price points but all in the low to mid-price ranges. If none of them are your cup of tea, just keep an eye out for my next photographer feature :) If you do choose to splurge on a photographer, be willing to cut costs on other aspects of the wedding in order to stay within budget.

Tell me… is wedding photography high on your priority list?

Photos courtesy Generation Photography, [Stu-di-o] by jeanie, & Daphne Chan Photography

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  • August 30th, 2011 at 5:08 pm
    Melissa Welsh says:

    Great Article! As a pro photographer it makes me sad when I hear about married couples that regret not hiring a pro. On your ten year anniversary when you’re cuddled up with a glass of wine, flipping through your album – you’ll be glad you spent the dough! I’ll be sure to pass this along!

  • September 2nd, 2011 at 2:06 pm
    Isabelle says:

    Very good article, thanks for writing so inspiring!

  • October 2nd, 2011 at 9:42 am
    Tonya says:

    Awesome article! I borrowed this to share on my blog….it’s too great not to pass along, and OH SO TRUE!

  • October 15th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
    Tamea Burd Photography says:

    Another excellent post Jeannine! One more compelling reason to hire a professional wedding photographer is that it greatly reduces wedding day stress!

    If you’ve asked friends or family members to take your wedding photos, you don’t have that sense of confidence that it’s all going to be taken care of, done well and with results that you’ll be happy about.

    But when you’ve hired a professional photographer, all you need to do is relax, enjoy your day and know that your photos are going to be beautiful!

  • November 15th, 2011 at 8:56 am
    Ivan Packer says:

    Such useful information for couples included in this article! So important to know.

  • April 13th, 2013 at 9:44 pm
    Ken Tan says:

    Great post! I can go on and on about this topic. These days in age, anyone can pick up a camera and take a photograph. Digital cameras are so accessible and everyone is a photographer. But the question is what differentiates between a photographer and an amateur. So, thanks for posting this blog post. Definitely helps out bride to really think about investing in a real pro. Not just uncle bob coming into their wedding to take pictures.


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