Do I really need a photographer at my wedding?
Here are some Pros and Cons of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding:
Cons to hiring a wedding photographer:
Do I even NEED photos?
This is a more philosophical question than a practical one, and one that will be different for every person. I see this as the first question that all of us should be asking, because if you land on “NO” you don’t really need to go any further. Realistically, why do we need any of what we have at the wedding? Why do we need flowers? Why are we inviting guests? Why do we need rings? Etc, etc, etc. I’m not here to talk you out of photos. I’m just trying to be fair to both sides. For those of you that are still of the opinion that, yes, you’d still like photos at your wedding, what about some of the other options?
It’s pretty expensive for a good photographer
This is probably the biggest argument against getting a photographer. On average a decent photographer costs about $2500 for the day, $3500 for a really good one, and about $800 for one just starting out. Obviously, that money could be spent elsewhere, right?
Everyone at the wedding will have their phones and a few will bring cameras
It’s 2017. I don’t know anyone without a smart phone anymore. On top of that, almost everyone I know has a really good smart phone that has a camera that is many times better in quality to the film that was used for weddings 15 years ago. If you are diligent about creating a hashtag for Instagram, collecting photos from guests afterwards via Dropbox or something and then doing some basic editing on them, I’m sure that you could get a ton of pretty good photos to help you remember the wedding day and for you to share with people that couldn’t come.
A friend or relative can be your photographer for free
I’m sure you have an uncle or cousin or a friend of a friend that has a good camera is pretty good at taking pictures. They could bring their camera to the wedding and take photos. That with all the photos you get from other cameras and phones will be a ton of photos.
You might get terrible or absolutely no good photos
This is the biggest one for me. Assuming that you want photos from you wedding, there is a very good likelihood that you get not a single photo worthy of printing out and putting on the wall or even on Facebook. I think we can all think of many examples of people telling us that they can do things that just aren’t true.
Pros to hiring a wedding photographer:
Photos are important
Again, this is just an opinion, and one that I wholeheartedly subscribe to, but I believe photos are important. I don’t have a great memory on a day to day basis. I have to keep lists and lists of things and a very detailed calendar just to make sure that I don’t forget things. But the second I have a photo in front of me, I am flooded with emotions and memories. The right photo, for me, allows me to almost relive that moment (and oddly enough, a time period around that moment). Who hasn’t had that experience where you see a picture of yourself on the beach, laughing with a friend next to you. You immediately remember everything about what you were laughing about, who said what, and even a dozen other memories from that day – all from just one photo of you laughing on the beach. So, we agree that photos are important, but why would anyone spend so much money to pay a stranger to take photos?
A much higher likelihood of getting beautiful photos
Personally, I happen to know a lot about science. My mom is a nurse, many of my friends are doctors and I went to pre-med for 3 years. I even got really good (well not terrible) grades in all my biology classes. In fact, I could do your next medical procedure for way less money than those “professionals.”
There is a very small likelihood that you’d live right? This is the main reason you’d hire a professional for anything that you care about the results. Your uncle Bob might get one or two photos that are awesome and you might have something to hang on the wall, but when you hire a professional with a lot of experience, you have a very, very good chance of getting hundreds and hundreds of awesome photos – forget about getting just a couple good ones.
A professional knows photos you will want in 20, 30 or 50 years
True story: When I got married almost 14 years ago I told my photographer to not even BRING color film. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want any color photos and I also didn’t want any posed photos. All I wanted was photojournalism and for him to be there and capture what was happening. Boy am I glad that he knew what he was doing and talked me out of such a ridiculous idea.
Of course, he took tons and tons of photos of stuff as it was happening, but he also lined us all up and had us look at the camera with a beautiful background behind us. He also took tons of photos that he knew my mom would want, my grandma would want, and most importantly, he took photos of stuff that I didn’t even think of back then.
Professionals take photos that tell a story
In my opinion, the real difference between an amateur and a professional is the ability to convey emotion with a photo and have images write a narrative. When I photograph an event my goal is to tell a story. I have the story pretty much written in my head and I just need to find the photos to create the narrative. So, I will leave with this final thought. If you a) think photos are important, and b) think it’s important that you have good photos (not just Uncle Bob), then… hire someone with the experience to get the photos you want your grandchildren to see (and their grandchildren for that matter).