In this economy, budgets are tight. People are trying to decide where to cut wedding costs. Should I get a cheaper dress? Skip the DJ and use an iPod? Have my friend/Uncle do the photography (or worse, skip it all together)? In my opinion, I have just named the 3 biggest things NOT to skimp on. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should hire a professional photographer for the most important day of your life.
1. MEMORIES When the day is over, you'll be left with only a few keepsakes; your dress, some leftover favors, possibly a few place cards. However, everything will (hopefully) be recorded in photographs and video. When taken care of properly, photos will last a lifetime. You can show them to your grandchildren. They will outlive the dress, the favors and possibly even your personal memory of the day.
2. YOU CAN SEE WHAT YOU MISSED Being a bride is sort of dizzying. There are lots of things to do, obligations, a bunch of relatives and friends from out of town. It's a whirlwind event, and while you will have the most amazing time, you will miss parts of it. Seeing what your reception hall looked like when it was empty, or that hilarious dance your cousin and your college roommate did - a professional photographer is more likely to catch those moments so you can live them later when things calm down.
3. HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TO HELP ORGANIZE YOUR DAY You may have hired a wedding planner, a day-of-coordinator, or a maybe your mom is running the schedule of events. Your caterer will follow a schedule and a DJ will help the reception transition smoothly. A professional photographer can be another organized person on hand to help with your event. They should consult with you ahead of time to work on a schedule, pick a shot list and make sure that your Aunt Kathy is where she needs to be for the family group photos.
4. TO THINK OF THINGS YOUR FORGOT Professional photographers will have their own shot list in addition to the on you provide. They have experience and creativity to come up with poses and shots you will love.
5. SO UNCLE BOB CAN KICK BACK AND ENJOY THE WEDDING You probably have an Uncle/Aunt/Cousin, etc who has a decent digital camera and takes great pictures of their kids/flowers/anything. They may want to take photos at your wedding ( and be sure to let them) but don't make it their responsibility. Hiring a professional means that Uncle Bob can enjoy the cocktail hour if he wants, snap shots of you during the ceremony if he wants, and still visit with Cousin Sammy.
6. FOR PEACE OF MIND A professional photographer not only has experience, but they have a business license and possibly even insurance. They have a workflow system that backs up all of your wedding photos in triplicate. They have a backup camera, backup lenses, spare batteries and flashes. They expect the best and plan for the worst. A professional photographer is always striving for the best photos. They want nothing more than a happy bride who will give them amazing referrals as well as be a a returning client for future photographs.
7. TO PRESERVE FRIENDSHIPS This is the worst case scenario kind of situation, but it's also a legitimate reason why you should hire a professional. It goes like this: Your friend Sara is a great photographer (who may be even thinking of starting a business) and you want her to take your wedding photos. Sara shows up for the event and maybe she makes a mistake, or the some of the files end up getting lost and you wind up paying more than you think is fair. There are 100 different ways that working relationships with friends can go wrong. If you friend is not a professional following all of the standards of Reason #6, please hire someone. It's not worth losing a friend over photos. It's not worth losing memories because you gave a huge job to someone who wasn't ready yet. If you really want to help your friend build a portfolio, invite her to take photos as well, just don't put all the responsibility on her for this important day.
8. FOR THE PERKS A lot of wedding photography packages come with amazing perks or services to take advantage of such as engagement sessions, day after creative shots.. and more. For example, I offer a photo booth and will soon be adding a photo upload station for guest photos as well. Perks included in a photography package makes life easier and can often make your reception more fun!
9. FOR THE PRINTS Professional photographers don't get your photos printed at Wal-mart, Walgreen's, or Rite-Aid. Your wedding album from them won't be scrap-booked, it will be professionally printed in a bound book of your photos. They have access to printing services that most people don't. The photos you will be handed after the wedding will be better than any digital file or Wal-Mart print.
10. FOR THE EXPERIENCE Photographers are fun, and they know how to make people relax so they can capture natural, amazing photos. They're silly and creative, playful and excited to be part of your day. Most will retouch your photos as well, giving you the rock-star, magazine cover treatment. They want you to enjoy your day, and for all of the reasons listed, you will!
Written by Kelly Samuelson Kelly Samuelson is owner of Authentically Beautiful Photography in Mt. Shasta, California. With over 12 years experience in photography, she loves photographing weddings and being a part of a couple's day. To learn more about Kelly and Authentically Beautiful Photography, visit www.AuthenticallyBeautifulPhotography.com and "Like" her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AuthenticallyBeautifulPhotography.