So why not use 'Uncle Bob' for your Wedding Photography? He has a new camera and has offered to photograph your wedding for you for free, as your wedding present. It seems like a great idea doesn't it? Well, before you take him up on his offer, please make sure you think it through.
The first question to ask yourself is “why do you need a photographer?” Pretty obvious at first thought – You want pictures of your wedding, but why do you want photos of your wedding and what does that do to your decision to whether you hire a professional photographer and then which photographer would you like? Despite the electronic age, the advent of smartphones, Social Media and HD video, still photographs remain the most chosen way to show memories.
1: On your wedding day, you may not see each other until you meet at the altar or the registrar, so a lot happens while you are apart. The only way to share your individual memories are through photos.
2: From experience on both sides of the camera, the day passes SO quickly, you will be asking yourselves if some of it actually happened.
3: You will have friends & family present, both young and old who you may not see again for a long time and images of them all will be a timely reminder of them in later years.
So, the general consensus is that “Wedding Photography is a good thing”, which then leads to the question as to who should do it? As a professional photographer, you would of course expect me to say "Use a professional" but there is more to it than self interest. There are many couples who are happy to have just a few images taken from the various guests’ cameras and to enlarge, perhaps one to hang on the wall. With requirements this small it is difficult to go wrong and they will almost certainly get their wish.
For most couples, though, more is required and a photographer needs to be chosen. The choice is enormous, from a friend from work with a new digital camera right up to the Royal or 'Celebrity' Photographer and obviously the prices vary as much.
This is when the fun begins. Does the office colleague know how to compensate for low sunshine, horizontal rain, poor lighting in the church or reception area and bridesmaids turning blue in the freezing cold? Probably not. Neither does he know how to handle Uncle George who hates having his photo taken and is refusing to take his place in the family group.
Also, what happens if 'Uncle Bob' suffers equipment failure? Would he have full backup equipment?
Photography is not guess work, it's a skill, it takes talent and experience to get right. If your photographer doesn’t have the qualifications and the professional equipment needed to photograph a wedding, then they cannot possibly get it right.
Would 'Uncle Bob' be prepared to concentrate and take photographs from the bridal preparations right through to the dancing in the early hours? It can be a 18 hour day!
Here are a few other comments that discuss the risks of hiring a non-professional.
The Offbeat Bride blog article that covers “What I Regret From My Wedding”
“…So, while I’d do a few aesthetic things differently if I was planning a wedding today, there’s nothing I’d go back and change … with one exception: I’d invest half our wedding budget in photography….Photography was about 10% of our $5k budget, and if I had it all to do over again, I’d make it half. That’s my only regret.”
The Every Last Detail blog article: “I Took the Cheap Photographer Route”
“…I made a mistake that I hope to prevent other brides from making. I took the cheap photographer route. I attribute this to the fact that when I was planning my wedding, I had no clue. The only resources I used were The Knot and Brides.com, because that’s all I knew about…Needless to say, I’m still pretty heartbroken about my lack of knowledge when I chose my photographer. Now that I look at amazing work from photographers every day, I know that my photos could have been so much better.”