Hiring a professional photographer on your wedding day, is one of the best investments you can make. After the day is done, the dress has been worn, the flowers have died and all the food has been eaten, one of the last remaining mementos of the day are your wedding photographs. They are the one thing that lasts beyond your day and something you will constantly look back on especially with future generations.
Being a professional wedding photographer is not just about having a good camera or expensive gear – it’s about your level of skill. Its how you use that gear to get the best shots and capture those precious moments, it’s about how you see the light, how you interact with people, how you react to the moments appearing before you and how well you perform in a stressful environment.
It takes a great amount of skill to be a great professional wedding photographer. Here are some of the skills you need:
- You need to know your gear inside out. Things happen so quickly you need to know how to use your camera as though it is an extension of your arm and your brain and quickly adapt to the moments unfolding in front of you.
- You need to know how to see and use light. On a wedding day we can photograph in crazy bright conditions, harsh shadows to very dark candle lit environments. You need to know how to capture great photographs in any lighting situations.
- You need to be a people person – you need to know how to handle a crowd of people, get along with them, make them feel at ease. Be ok with having them photograph over your shoulder and of course direct the people in front of your camera to bring out their emotion and make them look and feel natural.
- You need to anticipate and be aware of moments before they happen – you need to know where to look, where the moments will unfold and be ready to capture them.
As well as having a great skill set as a photographer and as a people person, as a professional, you also need the following:
- Insurance – insurance for your gear as well as public liability for those just in case scenarios
- Back Up Gear – again, just in case a camera breaks or a card corrupts (I photograph with two cameras which both have dual cards creating backup copies on the fly)
- Back Up Shooter – just in case the photographer is unable to shoot on the day due to an emergency
- Booking Agreement – an agreement between you and your photographer that sets out all the details of your day, what is included and all of the terms and conditions for those what if scenarios. A booking agreement not only protects the photographer but also the couple.
So as you can see being a wedding photographer is much more that just a person with a good camera. Hiring a great photographer creates less stress before and after the wedding and puts your mind at ease for all those what if scenarios. Would a friend with a good camera be able to provide this. I think not.