January 19, 2012


Some people aren’t sure why they would need to hire a professional photographer when they have a friend or family member with a nice digital camera.

This discussion has come up quite a bit lately in my social circle, here are my top ten reasons to hire a professional.

10. Insurance: A professional photographer carries liability and workman’s comp insurance. They will also have equipment insurance and generally just have a solid backup plan in case something goes wrong. There are a lot of what if’s but here are a few things to think about… what if your photographer gets into an accident on the way to your wedding or they come down with the flu, their car breaks down, flat tire etc… How about your crazy uncle Eddie that is trying to get that photo with his new digital camera and accidentally trips over the photographers camera bag and breaks a leg. Even if you think this may never happen, what if it did? Does your photographer have a way to handle that? Believe me, it happens. The list here could go on.

9. Diligence: A professional photographer is going to do their homework before the wedding. The professional is going to know the venue, the coordinator, will talk to the officiant before the ceremony and know the do’s and dont’s on where to stand and where to be when, they will know the time the sun sets, the way to handle shooting terrible lighting because you wanted to get married at high noon, how to react if it rains or is dark and cloudy, etc… Whatever the situation Murphy rides with us all and yes maybe even on your wedding day.

8. Backup Files: I’ve heard horror stories about this and I don’t ever want to be caught with my back turned. What if your photographer went the whole day and forgot to put a memory card in the camera or worse yet if they came home from the wedding and washed their memory cards in the laundry? A professional photographer should know how to make backup copies of their files on site, the second they get back to their studio and even make off site copies of their files. Remember after all the dust settles, the cake is eaten and the dress is cleaned your photos are the only way you will have to share those memories with friends and family for years to come.

7. Professional Equipment: Just because you bought a nice camera or got one for Christmas you are not a professional photographer. At the minimum, a professional photographer should have two full frame digital cameras, plenty of memory cards, two flashes, enough batteries to make the Energizer bunny play those cymbals for hours and a variety of fast and very good lenses.

6. Backup Equipment: So just like the above now double it. Stuff happens, its happened to me. Things break and electronics fail at the worst times.  A drunk wedding guest could knock your camera on the dance floor while they are dougying (is that a word?) and jar something loose on a lens. Warning – War story time… I once had a camera strap break in the middle of setting up an amazing huge bridal party shoot and watch as my camera rolled down a three story escalator. Trust me I know Mr. Murphy well. If I didn’t have a solid backup plan that day I would have been done for the night.

5. Skills: A professional photographer is going to be a master of their domain. Just like you did in school… practice, practice, practice. There is nothing more important than experience in this business. Having a professional attitude, knowing how to corral the rowdy groomsmen, wow the moms, please the bride and groom and get some kick ass photos while you’re doing it is what this job is all about. A true professional will indulge themselves in new styles, attend seminars and training programs to hone in their skills.

4. Consistency: You wanted photos like you saw on the photographers website on your wedding day right? A professional photographer is going to make sure they can deliver those kinds of photos consistently each and every time. Not saying it needs to be cookie cutter but I’m sure you want your photos to WOW you just like you they did when you booked the photographer based on their work.

3. Performance Under Pressure: So your an hour late for your ceremony because the limo driver went to the wrong hotel or maybe the flight for your grandma coming in from whereeverinthegood’olUSA was late and you wanted to wait until she got there to get married. Now the wedding coordinator said the venue can’t hold the food any longer and you only have 20 minutes to take all of your family photos for you and your wedding party of 30 before introductions. Yeah I’ve been there. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone on board who can round up all those people and make magic happen in a limited time? I haven’t been to a wedding where there hasn’t been some kind of drama. Just like I said everyday when I showed up to the police academy “It is what it is”, you have to roll with the punches. Wait, you knew I was a cop right? Just one of my many previous professions, we can discuss the other ones over a drink if you like. You bring the Jameson, I’ll handle the war stories.

2. Experience: I mentioned this earlier, experience is priceless. Would you want to hire the photographer who shot one other wedding before yours or the one who shot 30 last year and the five years before that too. Not like that girl you talked about in high school, but a photographer who has been around the block is a good thing. In this job you can’t beat experience. I can’t say enough about that and I don’t want to beat a dead horse.

1. Dedication: Hiring a professional means they are going to be there throughout the entire process. From the time you meet and hire them, through the whirlwind of a wedding day and onto album design and print processing. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel comfortable knowing you made the right decision? This is the last thing you are going to want to worry about. After all, you have all those other details to deal with, the bridesmaids who don’t like their dress, the parents who tell you “this is how you’re going to do it”, the future in-laws and learning about their role in the wedding. You definitely don’t want a photographer to be one of the check marks on the list of “reasons we should have just eloped”.

Just a few of my thoughts on this topic. While some of this is tongue in cheek it’s really not a laughing matter. Do yourself a favor and go find a professional photographer. You’re on your own for finding super cool in-laws.





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