Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now for the fun part, or so you thought; until you start adding up the cost of all of your dream vendors. A “simple” wedding can easily add up to over $30,000.00, which is enough to buy a house. Many photographers will balk if you ask for a discount, sale, or simply for a package that “doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.” I think those photographers are jerks. It’s perfectly reasonable to attempt to save money on your wedding, but that’s a blog for another day.

There are practical ways to save money on your wedding, hiring a “friend with a camera.” Is not one them.

Here are 5 reasons why you should hire a PROFESSIONAL photographer to document one of the most important and memorable days of your entire life.

  1. Am amateur means work for you.

A professional photographer can be relied on to get the job done without being asked. They have years of experience capturing weddings. They will know where to be at the right time, which shots to take and are able to predict what will happen next.

A professional is accustomed to the flow of a wedding day, and that experience is invaluable. They will have already found the perfect place for your bridal shots before the day of your wedding. Weddings are not photo shoots. The photographer has no control over most of lighting. It is a dynamic day that you only get one chance to capture.

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  1. The what if…

What if your photographer falls ill or there is an emergency? What if their hard drive fails? The worst case scenario is that you have no photos of your big day, which would be a tragedy. A professional photographer has backups of your photos in at least 3 locations. They have contacts they can call on to fill in for them in case of an emergency or illness on their part. An amateur may not have any photography contacts and may not be able to afford or, worse, has never even thought to back up their images.

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  1. There is more to photography than an expensive camera.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “you must have a really good camera.” Actually, no, I don’t. I don’t use a top of the line camera because I don’t need to. Sure, gear goes a long way, but gear won’t do anything for you if you don’t know how to use it.

In the same way a painter uses a brush or a carpenter uses a saw, a photographer uses her camera. It is simply a tool, among many.

Just because a person has the tools, does not mean they know how to use them. It doesn’t take a trained eye to see the difference between images taken by someone using auto mode and  their built in flash and someone working in manual mode with at least a speed light flash.

You need a professional with experience in a wide range of lighting. Wedding receptions tend to be in the evening which means in the dark. You need a photographer who know show to bounce light off of the walls and ceilings to create even light with a shutter speed fast enough to capture people dancing. It is not an easy feat to accomplish.

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  1. Feeling at ease.

Hiring a friend with a camera comes with its own set of worries. What if they don’t get photos of the cake? What if they aren’t ready for our entrance at the reception. What if they don’t have the right gear to take photos in the dark?

These are all things that, hopefully, you would worry about when hiring a family friend. Do you really want to worry about your big day being captured while your promising to love your significant other until death? Probably not.

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  1. You only have one chance

Family photos can be taken by someone else and all you’ll lose out on is up to a few hundred dollars, in most cases. At prom, everyone is taking photos. Even if the pro fails you, your bound to have some on your phone.

But if you choose to have an unplugged ceremony, you are asking guests not to document your wedding for you, which you absolutely should do, but that leaves all of the work of documenting one of the most important days of your life on one person who has little to no experience doing such a thing. That’s a big risk.

Is risking your entire memory of your wedding day really worth saving $2000-$10,000? Absolutely not.

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The Bottom Line

The photos, your rings and your commitment to each other are the only things from this one day that will last a lifetime. Photography should be the highest wedding priority for every bride, because her photos will greatly impact her memory of her wedding. You won’t remember the cake, the venue, the food or the vows when your 78 years old if you don’t have photos of them. Cutting the budget for those things will hardly be noticed, a complete lack of photos will be.
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About Me!

I’m a graduate of the New York Institute of Photography. I have worked in the photography and arts industry in Chattanooga since 2010 and I’ve been picture making and painting since early childhood.

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