If you have ever looked back at you parents, a family member, or friends, wedding album, isn't it fantastic……”wow you look amazing,” “look at the two of you back then,” or perhaps “what were you thinking.” Having memorable images of your wedding day is something to treasure.
Most bride and grooms will have spent a long time planning and keenly anticipating this wonderful day, so to leave the documenting of it to chance when all else has had so much attention, is surely a gamble. Everybody is capable of taking one or two ‘nice’ images, so if you leave it to your friends, relatives, or inexperienced photographer, you will almost certainly get some ok images, but the chances of getting many, if any, great ones, let alone a complete set of images, is unlikely.
If you attend a wedding where the couple are fortunate enough to have a good wedding photographer in attendance you will see first-hand how hard the photographer works and the commitment given to achieve the very best of images for the couple who have entrusted this important task to them.
Reading about and looking at photographers work can only serve to help inform you in making the right decision for your wedding day. Many inexperienced photographers will produce images that ‘impersonate’ those great images you seek, but may lack true quality of lighting, colour, sharpness and clarity, to mention but a few areas of consideration. Unless you do some homework you may never know, or at least not until it’s too late!
There’s no secret to wedding photography - a good professional photographer will constantly strive to improve and develop their style and technique. If they are not, then they are unlikely to be taking their work in the right direction and therefore not offering couples the quality of work they deserve. They will certainly not be ‘match fit’ and ready to take on the challenges and countless demands of a wedding day.
It is such a difficult area of photography to work in – limited time, constantly changing light and weather conditions, various locations, and a vast mix of people with a range of emotions – a constantly ‘moving’ environment. From low light environments in church, to bright sunlit gardens, candid action shots, to formal groups, harsh sun to dark clouds, pouring rain and wild snowstorms, weddings arguably present more challenges to the photographer than any other area of work.
If a family member, or friend, offer to take your pictures, or accept your request, they may see it as an opportunity to get some practice in, or a start on the road to becoming a wedding photographer - I did many years ago, so thanks so much for the opportunity. We have all got to start somewhere, but be clear there is an element of risk in this decision, which is fine as long as you are fairly relaxed about the final images. I prefer to avoid photographing family and friends weddings because I simply won’t get a chance to enjoy the day – the demands of the day won’t allow it if you are to do a truly deserving job.
Of course where you place your priorities when planning your day and your budget will influence your choices and ultimate decision. Prices are not plucked out of the air, but rather based on the service and quality of the photographer’s work, so the majority of time you pretty much get what you pay for - there are of course always exceptions.
Every photographer has a different way of working, however in general each wedding is at least 3 days work to a professional photographer – attendance on the wedding day and easily 2 days editing the images to make them the very best they can be - that’s if you forget to include meeting couples, recce of locations and planning shots, general admin, pre-wedding photo-shoots, etc., etc., etc.
Once you’ve decided on 'pro' or not, you should consider whether you want a photographer to simply record your day, or record and create great images from your day - there is a difference. You should love the work of your photographer, who’s past and current work encapsulates the style of images you want from your day. The right photographer for you will fit in with your day and guests, make you feel relaxed, add to all the fun and excitement of your day, whilst documenting your day and creating beautiful, unique and wonderful images. You may learn only too late that having a friend, or less experienced photographer, take your images on your wedding day was not the best idea you’ve ever had!