Why Hire a Wedding Photographer

Hire a Wedding Photographer or Do It Your Self?

Here at Getting Married in Denmark, we try to document our experiences and knowledge about weddings in Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark.

We have done so by creating How to get married in Denmark where you can learn about each step of arranging your marriage in Denmark.

Why Hire a Wedding Photographer

Recently, I saw an article that displayed pictures from a wedding where the bride and groom had counted on the camera’s of relatives to capture their special moments during the ceremony and reception. The outcome didn’t turn out well and ten years on, they barely look back at those dreadful pictures. You can see that post here: Annelie Johnsson It inspired me to write this article.

Since then, a lot has changed. Camera’s and photography lessons have become much more accessible to people and a lot more are turning to amateur photography as a pastime than ever before. Even mobile devices not only offer relatively good quality camera’s for everyday use, but even have editing software for your images available.

So why hire a professional wedding photographer when your guests can take the images instead? Personally, I think that today, the images captured by guests are generally better than the above mentioned example because of the improvements in technology and information and the effect it’s had on the abilities of the amateur photographer. I’ve been to a wedding where the couple was on an extremely tight budget and simply didn’t have the funds to hire a professional photographer, so they asked their guests take pictures and upload them all afterward. This couple, however, knew their guests well, most of whom were creatives and photographers. The pictures turned out well and the couple was really happy.

I sometimes get a little annoyed when I read strong articles written by photographers who exclaim, ‘If you don’t choose one of us, your wedding pictures will turn out terrible, and don’t tell us that you don’t have budget…’ That sentence is not aimed at the example from Annelie Johnsson by the way, I think that is a great representation of what can go wrong. I’m talking here about a lot of other strong worded articles I’ve seen floating around the web. They are of course right, if you have the budget, you really should hire a photographer for reasons I will get to soon, but some people really don’t have the budget. And if you’re ‘some people’ don’t let those articles get you down.  I’m going to try and write an article in the next few days on things you can do if you really can’t afford a wedding photographer and I’ll pop that link at the bottom of this post when done. In all honesty, it will be difficult because I don’t want to ever encourage anyone not to use a professional wedding photographer but I can also appreciate that not everyone has the money to invest in this and I will try my best to come up with some great solutions, but I urge you to read through this article first because I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to forget.

Now, back to your guests. If you’re considering asking your friend or friends to do the wedding photography for you, consider this to begin with; Do you really want your guests to be busy taking pictures throughout your special day, or would you prefer they are present in the moment with you?

Note that I’m writing WEDDING photographer throughout this article. Wedding photography is learned through experience at weddings. A studio photographer could be just as lost taking photo’s at a wedding as an amateur. Just because you have a friend or have hired someone who is a professional photographer, doesn’t mean you’re going to get good results.

Reasons to hire a wedding photographer rather than rely on someone else.

Reasons to hire a wedding photographer rather than rely on someone else.

  1. A wedding photographer knows where to be and when. They won’t get in the way and they know how to melt into the background.
  2. A wedding photographer is experienced in working with constantly changing lighting and able to switch setting quickly so as to not miss anything. For example, switching from being inside the church, to outside or through the ever changing lighting outdoors on a cloudy day when the sun constantly hides and appears from behind the clouds. If they could not do this, they may miss amazing picture opportunities.
  3. A wedding photographer knows what objects and key points in your wedding are important. They spend all their time either at weddings or immersing themselves in the wedding industry. They know what parts of your decor is special to you,  they’re on the lookout for sentimental items and the key moments those items come in to play throughout the day.
  4. A very good wedding photographer is intuitive to the events at a wedding. They’re tuned in to your wedding like hawks, waiting for that happy, funny, joyful, tear jerking moment. Like paparazzi, only with kind thoughts, they can almost see an event before it happens.
  5. A wedding photographer will get the best out of a bad situation. If your little bridesmaid has found some scissors and decided to play dressmaker with the brides dress, the wedding photographer will capture it in a way that will make you smile some day. If suddenly the heavens open and rain begins to pour, a good wedding photographer will find a solution and make sure you still have stunning portraits.
  6. A wedding photographer is passionate about their work, Not only do they understand how important those images are to you, but also would be deeply saddened if you were not happy with them. They will go out of their way to get the best outcome for you. They’re creatives and their work is their art.

I used the word invest when I talk about wedding photo’s, a lot of photographers do. I’m not using this word lightly, it is a lifetime investment. And here’s why I know this to be fact-

In my teens, while I was studying, I worked as a healthcare assistant in elderly homes. Just to give you a picture. About 85% of elderly people in the homes I worked in were women. In the two main homes that I worked in there was only one couple. The pensioners there needed a fair bit of help, many had dementia and other age-related problems. In about 70% of the rooms of the pensioners there, there would be at least one picture of a man and wife, stood outside the church on their wedding day. I would be drawn to these pictures every time I was in their room. To see this person I was helping, who was so tired, so unaware and so sick,  look so young, strong and so in love in a picture they had kept by their side for decades, it both saddened and fascinated me. A moment of happiness captured in one click that had been enjoyed and cherished for almost a lifetime. It was a picture that brought comfort when their loved one had long past away and a picture that sometimes, just for a moment, brought them back from the haze of dementia, to show signs of the person that they once were.

This experience shaped me, it taught me three things,

  1. Enjoy and embrace every single moment of your life, good and bad.
  2. Cherish those you love, they are absolutely and unequivocally precious.
  3. Be sure to capture your wedding day in pictures you’re likely going to be looking at them for the rest of your life, even if it’s just one.

However much I would like to encourage everyone to hire a wedding photographer then there are ofcause practical reasons for why one cannot. So below I have written the Cannot Afford A Wedding Photographer What You Can Do section with the best tips on how to get the best  DIY wedding pictures for your future.

Cannot Afford a Wedding Photographer, What You Can Do

If you’ve come to this page, then you’re probably looking for a cheaper alternative to using a wedding photographer. A lot of people choke when they see the prices of wedding photographers and they do tend to be quite expensive but there are good reasons why they charge those prices that a lot of people forget to take into consideration, such as the time it takes to process photographs after the wedding and so on.

I was a little worried about writing this article because I don’t want to encourage someone who might otherwise be able to afford a photographer, to decide not to use one. I’ve written an article Why Hire A Wedding Photographer which explains the reasons for why I think you should, if you can afford it. This article is for people who either cannot afford a wedding photographer, or for some reason would really prefer not to use one full stop.

What you can do and their pro’s and cons…

1. Ask your friends and relatives to bring their cameras and everyone takes pictures throughout the wedding day and night. Maybe you could buy old cameras or disposable cameras with film in them and leave them on tables for your guests to use too.

Pro’s

This is one of the most popular ways of getting by without a wedding photographer. These days, photography is much more accessible, with great equipment and free tutorials on the web, more people are now practicing photography than ever before and standards are much higher. It’s great to see the wedding from your friends and families perspective and it has the potential of working out really well. Particularly if you have some creative and tech savvy people around you. The old cameras and films could turn out great, especially if you like that genuine retro vibe and it can be really fun for your guests.

Con’s 

Your wedding photos will not be consistent and will look like they’ve been taken by many different people, for obvious reasons. There’s no true guarantee in quality and all of them may turn out bad. Your friends and family may feel pressured to get the right photo’s for you. They may not be as present in the moment if they’re busy taking pictures.

 

2. Ask a friend or relative you know that is either a photographer or someone who’s an amateur photographer to come and take some pictures for you. Check their previous work, make sure they know exactly what will be going on throughout your day and ask what equipment they will be bringing.

Pro’s

Another popular way of getting by without a wedding photographer. Everyone knows someone who’s a photographer or takes great pictures. You may know the person well and feel more relaxed with them.

Con’s

There is no previous experience at weddings and it can really show on the day, they could get in the way a lot for example. The images may not turn out the way you had hoped and there’s more chance that something could go wrong. You may feel uncomfortable that this friend or relative is spending their time at your celebration working for you.

3. Find a photographer who’s looking for experience in Wedding Photography. Take a look at their portfolio to check if you like their style

Pro’s

This is by far my favourite choice. The reason being is that a photographer who would like to become a wedding photographer and want’s experience at weddings has probably spent a lot of time understanding the role of a wedding photographer on a theoretical basis, which is the closest you can get to a wedding photographer without actually hiring one. They will likely either do it for free, or for a small fee. They will most likely have a photography portfolio that you can view.

Con’s

Again, no experience at weddings means that it can show on the day. The images may not turn out the way you had hoped and there is more chance of something going wrong. It’s difficult to see the style of the photographer if they don’t have any previous wedding work for you to see.

4. Find a photographer that will process/post production your wedding images.

Pro’s

Here you, your friends, your relatives can take digital images and then you can hand them over to a photographer you hire to do post-production on the images in a style that you like. This will cost you but it will be cheaper than hiring a photographer for the day and you can do this at a time you can afford it financially.

Con’s

Again you will be dealing with the con’s of friends and relatives taking pictures for you. There’s still no certainty that your pictures will come out good and they may not be consistent. If you have bad images, post production will only make them look a little less bad.

 

Final thought

There are always risks to anything you do DIY. But more and more people are choosing to take their weddings in to their own hands and through good and bad, a lot of people manage it beautifully. As long as you know the risks and you’re totally realistic about the outcome, then there’s no reason not to just go for it!

Feature Image: Anelle Image 1: Allie Pasquier Image 2: Stan Rawrysz

 

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