Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer



When you begin to plan a wedding, you tend to hear suggestions for photographers from friends (and others), stories of great experiences, and possibly horror stories of photography gone bad. We cringe at this- your wedding is one of the most important days of your life and the goal of a professional photographer should be to take glorious photos, documenting each step of the day, not missing a beat, while providing unobtrusive service.

Perhaps one of the quickest ways to end up as a wedding day sob story is to simply hire a friend with a good camera, or jump quickly into hiring a professional. Before you hire someone, it’s important to understand all that a good professional will do. This way, when you meet with a prospective photographer, you can get a sense of their level of understanding for all that will go into your big day.


Keep in mind that fancy gear and high prices do not mean that someone will meet your needs. Yes, photography can be pricey, and many pros do have high-quality gear, but you can also find professionals with different rates and less gear that can meet your needs.Typically the photographer is one of the first vendors hired, and they often become a trusted advisor. Your photographer will share their extensive experience with the couple to plan the big day. For example, beautiful photos require beautiful light – the timing of photos during your day will often hinge around ceremony time, sunset, and when dinner is served.  These points anchor your day and determine your timeline. Photo sessions such as “family formals” and “romantics” will be scheduled when the light is optimal. Knowing what types of imagery you want actually affect the timing of your day!


Also, be aware that each photographer will have his or her own philosophy; some want to create art, others focus on the details, still more simply document the day.  Often your photographer will be a combination of these. You’ll want to know where they weight coverage and have that match to your vision. It becomes very important that the photographers style and your ideal images match up well, but you also need a photographer who can help you organize your day and timing accordingly. A friend or new professional may simply let your day occur and take photos as it happens. A seasoned professional, however, will help you map out your day to get the photos that you want to have.What will your photographer do?         


Before the big day Prior to your wedding day, the photographer will consult and discuss the style and goals the couple is looking for. You will likely plan shot lists and organize your timeline. You might even come up with backup plans if you’re getting married at a time of year where there might be weather concerns like rain.

During the wedding day Wedding photography is like combat. Your photographer is not only following a plan for your day but is also prepared to react to events that are spontaneously occurring all around. Your photographer should be prepared to adjust on the fly; there may be circumstances that might limit the photography coverage, and there might even be a situation where you cannot get every photo you planned. It’s important that you trust the photographer to accomplish most requests as well as other surprises that occur. They also have the goal of capturing your day beautifully. Someone who is not seasoned at wedding photography may stress about changes or miss some of the spontaneous moments. We love when we share photos with couples of moments that they didn’t realize even happened. Maybe it’s the flower girl peeking out of the bride’s dress as it hangs for photos, or the fathers of the couple embracing in a hug. We will be able to capture the moments you plan for and those that will unfold with the day.Remember:  the pro is always ahead of the action, using experience to anticipate emotions, reactions, and events.  Because of this, the photographer needs to arrive at locations and be prepared prior to the couple in many cases.  The wedding day timeline must allow 10-15 minutes extra for the photographer(s) to collect gear from one location and prep at the next, even when the events are all happening at the same site.  If there is travel time as well, vehicle loading and unloading might add a few more minutes depending on the shots requested. Keep all of this in mind as you plan your day, but also as the day unfolds. Your photographer may not be with you at every moment, but this is generally because they are preparing for or executing coverage of your day.


After the wedding Once the day is done, the work has just started for your photographer. Sorting through and editing images takes time and a good eye. Be sure that you know your photographer’s turnaround time for images so that you know how long does it take to deliver the edited images. Will there be a sneak peek at some of the images before that?  Additionally, will the images be watermarked? Can you post on social media? Be sure to discuss these details with your photographer so that there are no surprises. Chances are, a good photographer will go over all of these details with you. Even after editing, there can still be more time needed; once you’ve picked photos for the album, know the timeline for how long does the design, print, and binding of the album take. Your photographer should be able to be clear about the timeframe for all aspects of delivery. If they’re not able to, this might be a red flag. Keep in mind, that typically post processing isn’t divided between photographers. Even if you hire multiple photographers to cover your wedding, all the post work is generally done by a single photo editor with a unifying vision and style. This way, imagery is consistent, and the collection tells a seamless story.


Other important points to talk about when working with a professional Too many times we’ve heard couples agree to working with a photographer because they love the images the photographer shows. They don’t take the time, however, to ask additional questions to really confirm that the photographer can deliver images that the couple is happy with, in a time frame that works for everyone. The couple might also miss the opportunity to talk about additional details that could be important. For example: Is there cloud storage of your images in case your digital files are lost? What is the recourse if you’re unhappy with the delivery? Who holds the copyrights to the images?

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