Right this second, approximately 300,000 couples in the UK will be deep in the throes of wedding planning. Naturally, this stage of a couple’s life will be filled with excitement and blissful anticipation; however, the bubble of bliss can often be burst by the fork of lightening that shoots out of the cloud that has invariably followed you into every single bridal boutique, stationary shop and wedding venue. Yep, that hateful cloud is your wedding budget and it’s pretty much the thorn in every couple’s side!
With the average UK wedding now costing upwards of £30,000, weddings definitely do not come cheap, and in a world where Instagram and Pinterest sets the bar unreasonably high for what constitutes the perfect wedding, it’s no wonder that the term ‘wedache’ has been coined in response to the stress brides and grooms-to-be are under as they attempt to squeeze everything they want for their big day into a not so big budget. In fact, if ever you needed an example to explain the ‘shoulder angel/devil’ trope, then sticking to a wedding budget is it! The dualistic voices of a couple’s inner angel and devil can be heard non-stop as couples wrestle with the temptation to up the budget a little here and a little there, knowing that the budget will have to be compromised somewhere else to account for it.
Whether to hire a professional photographer can be one of the most common quandaries for couples when planning for their wedding, and unfortunately photography is often one of the first victims of a budget cull. As a team of Celebrants, we have seen on innumerable occasions the sadness of couples who had handed the task of wedding photography to Uncle Arthur with the fancy camera whose holiday snaps are always incredible!
The money saved invariably goes towards another area of the wedding budget, like those amazing favours you pinned onto your Pinterest board last week, but here’s the thing, after all the hard work, planning, stress and meticulous detail that goes into organising a wedding, can you imagine your devastation when you find out that rather than snapping away on the biggest day of your life, Uncle Arthur quaffed one too many glasses of champagne and got caught up with the infamous chatterbox, Aunt Maureen?!
Fuziliers, it’s really not worth it and if you don’t believe us, here are our top five reasons why we think you should ALWAYS hire a professional wedding photographer:
Knowledge & Experience
Aforementioned Uncle Arthur may well be an incredible landscape or food photographer, but has he shot a wedding before? Wedding photography is a completely different beast and in order for it to be executed perfectly, knowledge of lighting, crowd control and capturing those moments that you would never think would be worthy of capturing is the result of YEARS worth of experience. One of our favourite photographers, Trevor Wilson from Silver Photography, questions: “is your friend who photographs food for a living going to do as good a job as someone who has photographed forty – fifty weddings a year for twenty years?”
Commitment & Expertise
When you book a professional photographer, they are contractually obligated to carry out the duties that you hired them to perform! Uncle Arthur isn’t obligated in the same way, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart, so the levels of commitment from Uncle Arthur will not be in the same league as the professional photographer. On the surface, a wedding photographer appears to skip along to the venue, snap away for eight hours and then voila, mission complete; however, you are paying for A LOT more than that. Pre-wedding, a professional photographer will analyse your venue, lighting conditions etc. On the day, they will be there expertly taking RELEVANT photographs that you will cherish forever. Post-wedding, the photographer will then trawl through thousands of photographs editing and tweaking to within an inch of their lives. This process takes weeks. Uncle Arthur loves you, but will he really be able to give up this much time and effort?
Style & Individuality
All photographers will have their own unique style and when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, a couple will invariably pick a photography style that resonates with them in some way and mirrors their personality. Photography styles vary massively and as you flick through Instagram this becomes more and more apparent. So whether you’re looking for arty, traditional, candid or documentary style photography on your big day, it’s essential that you choose a photographer who can execute this.
There Are No Rehearsals
You only have one chance to capture your wedding day so it is essential that you 100% trust and have confidence in your photographer. When your wedding is over, apart from the memories all you have are photographs. Make sure these are positive memories and not a permanent reminder that you wished you’d hired a professional. Trevor suggests that if your budget is tight, “I wouldn’t struggle to pay for a decent photographer AND videographer. Rather than having to scrimp on both, you’d be miles better paying full whack for one or the other”.
Value for Money
Trevor warns that “if a photographer is cheap then there is ALWAYS a reason for that”. Yes, a professional photographer will cost a pretty penny, but hopefully all of the above will make you realise that in the long run, it will be money very well spent. Memories and photographs are all you’ll have left from your amazing day and we know from experience the devastation it can cause couples when they find out that Uncle Arthur’s memory card got damaged or the pile of disposable cameras that were left for guests to take snaps with, remained untouched in a bowl.
If this blog has convinced you to scrap the incredible favours in favour of a professional photographer, then here’s a few tips to find your perfect photo-making partner in crime:
Get on Instagram: Any professional wedding photographer worth their salt will have an Instagram account where you will be treated to an instant feel for the style of photography their offering.
Check out Reviews: Always take time to look through your favourite photographers online reviews and don’t just look on their social media pages or website as these can be biased shall we say! Head over to Trust Pilot or simply Google their name as if they’ve aggravated somebody in the past, it’s sure to be out there somewhere!
Understand Pricing: So you’ve had a number of quotes, but what exactly is included? While one quote might seem a lot more expensive, might it also include an engagement shoot and photo book? If you’re just after a memory card, then be sure to state this as it can drive the price down.
Meet them in Person: Your chosen photographer is going to constantly be by your side on one of the most significant days of your life and therefore you’re going to have to like this person. On top of this, you’re going to want a photographer with a confident and assertive character who is capable of herding potentially hundreds of people in to different rooms or areas. Meeting your photographer also gives you the opportunity to talk through your likes and dislikes without the meaning getting lost in translation via email/text.