Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Professional Touch

There is no doubt about it; weddings cost a lot and can be hard work and not just for bride and groom. There are a lot of  people involved in making the Big Day perfect: caterers, florists, hair and make-up artists, dress-makers and tailors, entertainers and of course, your friendly professional photographer.

I am always dismayed when I am told by a bride, that a friend with a 'good' camera will be taking the photos. I always ask if they would entrust their hair to a friend with a great pair of scissors? As with many professions, the camera is just a tool and you are paying for their experience and expertise. The friend with a camera is invariably unlikely to have this and in the case of weddings, shooting one is not the same as being a guest.

A professional photographer does not just take fabulous photos, so why should you pay what may seem a lot of money at first glance?
  • They are trained professionals. many photographers have undertaken training and will continue to update their skills regularly.
  • They are experienced and will know the best spots to take photos, they will know how to get great shots when the weather does that very British rain act, they know what to capture and will anticipate the key moments at a wedding so that the bride and groom can treasure them forever.
  • They will have pro kit, including a range of lenses which is far more important for fantastic shots than the camera itself. They will also know which lens to use for best effect.
  • They know how to use light to make you look fabulous. This includes using natural light and flash (which they will know how to use properly).
  • They will know how to handle people and will make the shots quick and fun - no standing around for ages while someone sorts themselves out.
  • As they are not a guest they will be focusing on you and getting those important shots rather than mingling and drinking. 
  • They will meet with you beforehand more than once, to ensure they know what you want and which shots matter to you. You are also likely to get an engagement shoot as part of the price. 
  • They will have access to professional photo printing (not high street photo printers), and be able to provide other professional products like great albums and photo books, canvas wall pictures and framed prints.
  • Your album or photo book will be professionally designed so it will look as fabulous as you did on the day. The photos are often the only lasting reminder of the special day. A pro photographer will capture all the details you carefully spent time choosing, will capture how fabulous you looked and will show you and the venue at it's best.
  • Last but not least, weddings are hard work and a photographer is likely to be there the whole day (or until the first dance). Many photographers go the extra mile and end up being invaluable when a crisis occurs. For example, one of my brides was pregnant and broke the fastening on her dress. Luckily I was prepared and had safety pins to hand! I have also calmed down anxious mothers, helped brides get dressed and fed one that was feeling faint from hunger as I always carry breakfast bars in my bag in case I don't get anything to eat!

 With the average wedding cost being £10,000 - £15,000 (less for smaller ones), why risk your future memories on an amateur (no matter how good their camera is!). The same rules apply to portraits and other occasions too. All my brides tell me that the day goes by in a blur so don't risk your future memories, but hire a great wedding photographer who knows how important your photos will be to you and has the skills and experience to make you looks as fabulous as you deserve to be in them, for years to come. Of course, the reasons outlined above apply just as well to any important occasion or capturing special moments like a stage in a child's life, or even family and pet portraits too. The professional touch can make all the difference.


    1. one of my favorite things to do at a wedding is watch the photographer
      for the most part weddings annoy me ;)
      and go on forever but I love watching how the photographer sets up a shot, changes place and lens and so on

      the shots you have displayed are wonderful

    2. Hi Dianne. Thanks! I do catch people watching me work and sometimes the camera shy keep an eye on me too! :)

    3. You should've bee there for my wedding 24 years ago, instead of the clown who double exposed 95% of the wedding photos. I'm going to hire you for my 25th anniversary, provided to photoshop away all of my physical deficiencies.


    4. You have some great advice and commentary about getting it done right. Are you out there shooting them now??

    5. Hi Rashbre, I have shot a few weddings now. It's an honour to be part of someones special day but very hard work as a photographer is literally on the go the whole day, especially as I take a journalistic approach to much of the day.

    6. I think you left out an important reason not to use your friends to shot your wedding - if you are to take good images I think you need to concentrate on observation - not participation. I invited people to my wedding because I wanted them 'there' - not off in photo-land getting stressed about f stops and white balance.
      We cut corners on our photographer – and we paid the price!
      Enjoy your wedding – and let a photographer deal with the pictures!

      Stewart M – Australia

    7. Hi Stewart M, thanks for visiting :) You are quite right and I mentioned just this at bullet No. 4. A pro photographer will be totally focused on getting the shots while a friend will be torn between being a guest and a photographer which isn't fair on them either. As a photographer friends often think they can use me as their photographer but I want to be a guest then as I find I cna only be one or the other :)

    8. I wish you'd written this post a couple of years ago! A friend asked me to be her "official" photographer for her wedding... and to be her bridesmaid too. I'm not particularly a girly-girl (but was proud to be asked to be bridesmaid) and couldn't stress enough how much I don't "do" wedding photography. But my friend ignored the complete horror on my face and the words coming out of my mouth and insisted.

      I think the photos came out okay (and the bride seemed happy with them but certainly weren't on parr with yours or any other reputible wedding photographer. My friend had also roped in family member to take photos too.

      I didn't really enjoy the day as much as I should have done as a guest and I don't think brides that ask friends to take the photos really realise how much stress they are putting on somebody to do that. I'd said no, but I think we'd have fallen out if I really had gone with my gut instinct and refused.

      1. I am sorry to hear that you felt pressured into doing this favour. I don;t think people realise what a big 'ask' it is. Weddings must be the most stressful of things to photograph as you simply don't get a second chance to capture them a second time! I am glad to hear your friend was pleased with the result though (and I am not surprised as i know you are accomplished with a camera). I have also been put in this position by friends and being a guest who also takes photos really doesn't work and you don't enjoy the day. Thanks for dropping by!

    9. My husband did become 'unofficial' photographer once, at the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law, when the official photographer failed to turn up at all. It was all a little bizarre at the time, as he was also best man, so there are no photographs of the wedding party with him in!

      Despite the bride and groom being very happy with the finished pictures, it was very noticeable that my brother did not ask hubbie to be the official photographer at his eldest daughters wedding last year.

    10. It's hard work photographing a wedding so it's very difficult to be a guest and the photographer.


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