As a professional photographer, I hear it all the time. Brides call me about my services, and latter I call them back to follow up, and they say “Oh, Uncle Ed is going to do the photography, he has a really nice camera.”
I want to tell them that they maybe that is not the biggest mistake of their lives, but it is the biggest mistake of their wedding!
The funny thing is, Uncle Ed (or whomever) might have a great camera. He could have exactly the camera I have, or even a better one! So why can’t he take the photos, if his camera is as good as mine?
He probably does not have the rest of the equipment I have. Multiple lenses for different effects, professional flashes for nice lighting, a bracket to improve the lighting even more, a battery pack to power the flash. Or here is one, backup equipment. One thing I learned doing travel photography and freelance photojournalism. You never know when your equipment is going to break, but you do know it is going to break when you are using it. I’ve got two of everything, does Uncle Ed?
Even if I gave Uncle Ed my camera equipment, he’d still be a bad choice for your photographer. Why? He is not as good of a photographer as me.
Now, I know you have seen some of his shots, and they are great. But Uncle Ed is showing you his best shots. How many shots did he take to get those best ones? If it is a portrait session where you only need one good shot, or a scenic shot where you can take all day, then maybe he is good enough.
At a wedding, where things happen fast and only once, Uncle Ed is going to flub a lot of shots that I would nail. Too bad, it is never going to happen again.
Maybe he is as great as you think he is. He still doesn’t know weddings the way I do. I’ve been to 600 weddings. I know how they work. I can get all the formal shots in a flash, before the hors d’oeuvres get cold. I know when moments are going to happen before they happen so I can be right there. I never miss a beat.
Also, Uncle Ed is not going to work as hard as I do. He is going to talk to your dad, and your mom, and your brothers. He is going to put down his camera and dance and enjoy himself. I am never going to stop working I will take over 1,000 photos, and I will be on task the entire time.
Lastly, Uncle Ed will NOT put together your album. Maybe that doesn’t matter, maybe you are one of those people who are really good at that kind of project, and the follow through. Most people aren’t. It will get put on the back shelf and never finished. Not me. I’ve been paid, I’m contractually obliged to finish your album. Now, I never did my wedding album, but that’s just what I’m talking about.
I know it can be hard to pay me $2,000 when Uncle Ed will shoot for free. But unless Uncle Ed is a professional wedding photographer, don’t risk it. Your wedding is never going to come again. Save money somewhere else. (Can Aunt Edna cook?)
1. An amateur doesn’t have all the equipment a pro has.
2. An amateur doesn’t get as many good shots.
3. An amateur doesn’t know weddings like a pro does.
4. An amateur doesn’t work as hard as a pro.
5. An amateur doesn’t do any post production, like say an album.
Hire a professional photographer instead.
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