Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hire a Professional Photographer. . . or Friend?

Your wedding photographs are a precious keepsake. Your wedding day can never be repeated. Many couples often consider having a relative or friend who is “getting into photography” document their special day.

This is a disturbing trend. I often hear couples say that they’re going to have a friend take their wedding photos. Please don’t do that! It’s a bad idea!

I know. Everyone has been tightening their money belts these days. However you don’t want to do that when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime event – like your wedding.

Due to digital photography, the barrier of entry to become a wedding photographer has also become much lower, and more than ever clients have to do their homework before hiring their wedding photographer.

Many amateurs, equipped with sophisticated equipment, are capable of taking decent photographs. However, there is much more to wedding photography than knowing how to operate a camera. Beware. There are many part-time hobbyist out there that claim the title as a full-time devoted wedding specialist. If you hire a budget wedding photographer, you’ll get budget wedding photography. Remember, “cheap is not good and good is not cheap!” The photographs of your wedding will become permanent reminders of what should be one of the best moments of your life.

Wedding photographerWedding photography has truly become it’s own art form. Wedding photography is about seizing moments, capturing emotion and creating memories. The technical skills required to do this are essential, but it doesn’t stop there.

petalsAn experienced wedding photographer knows the flow of the wedding day. They know when to anticipate those special candid moments, and how to pose a large wedding group. They are experienced at knowing where to be and when to be there to get the best shots and angles. It also takes a certain personality and finesse to deal with the many people that the photographer will interact with during the day.

A professional wedding photographer does more than just take pictures. Most professional photographers spend anywhere from 10 to 20 hours or more carefully editing your wedding day portraits. The beauty of the photographer’s work extends into the way they process their images, not just showing up on your wedding day. They have pride in their quality of work, and their ability to produce images you’ll cherish.

Family members and friends rarely have the professional caliber photography equipment that is necessary to record an event as special as a wedding. If they get distracted during the ceremony or have inferior equipment, your memories of your special day could be compromised, ending in a large amount of disappointment for the bride and groom later.

While there are alternatives to having a professional wedding photographer, they should be used in addition to the professional, not instead of. A professional will be able to provide you with the high quality images that you will want, not the random, often inferior photographs that should never appear in your wedding photo album.

Proper planning and a focused effort in choosing your wedding photographer will allow one of the best moments of your life to be captured perfectly. How do you know a photographer is right for you? Before you hire a photographer, know who you are hiring. Check their references.

chirello5You can never ask too many questions. Ask questions about equipment, the time it takes to edit, products, travel fees, how long they’ve been in business, how often they shoot, etc. Make sure that they have a great tract record. The best method to find out about your photographer is word of mouth and former clients.

Never make your decision to hire a professional photographer on price alone. That’s a “no no.” Check out the quality of work first. The wedding images should catch your eye and make you want to see more. If the images don’t do that for you then inquiring about pricing is a moot point.

You absolutely need a photographer who knows their equipment inside and out and has photographed weddings before. If you don’t feel comfortable with a person you interview to photograph your wedding, don’t hire them. Sometimes personalities just don’t “click.”

Give your photographer a list of photos you would like taken. If you specifically want shots of your hands with your wedding rings, put that on the list. If you want images of you and a friend who isn’t in your wedding party, just make a note. Remind close family members and friends to stay close to the wedding party after the wedding so they can be available for photos when the photographer is ready to take their photos. Nothing slows a photo shoot down more than having to run around looking for the people you need. Your photographer will have a list of standard poses he/she shoots, but most are flexible with adding others.

photographersPhotography in its purest form is all about emotion. A photograph has the power to move us in many different ways. Make sure your photographer shares your vision.

Never mix business with friends and family! Your wedding photos are simply too important to leave to amateurs. Hire the best, full time wedding photographer because those pictures are very important and eventually they will become the time-keep of your marriage. When you see the photographer nearby, remember to smile for the camera. This is hopefully a one shot deal, so don’t take any chances.

NOTE: The photo (above right) was taken by Larry James at Anushka Turner & Jason Ray’s wedding, March 19, 2010 at Sassi Ristorante, Scottsdale. Jason Ray (right) and one of his Groomsmen. Photographer: Kelli Leslie of Kelli Leslie Photography. Videographer: Clyde Jones.

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (95 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Check Larry’s availability.

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1 Comment »

  1. Larry,

    You are so right on the money with this one. When I got married I didn’t have a lot of money. If I could go back in time I would so just spend the most of funds on the photographer. Why because I did have a friend do my pictures. And the thing is I had seen his work many times and he did so well for other weddings. But I think the reason why I got crappy pictures is because he was also a guest and the quality was lacking.

    While I have been doing photography for years, I am just beginning to make a living at it. The best way to gain experience is just to tag along with a photographer to gain that experience and help take pictures along side of them. I pray that my brother and sister in law who just got married there pictures turn out. They to had a family member do the pictures and while she is good, I still worry that her being a guest affected the quality like it did mine.


    Comment by Wendy McCormick Lopez — Tuesday, April 6, 2010 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

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