Imagine this scenario. It is two weeks after your beautiful and momentous wedding day. The delicious food and drink have been consumed, the dances have all ended, and the gifts are slowly being put away. Enough planning went into that one special day to last you a lifetime of memories.
Then you call your photographer (a friend of a friend who owned a “nice camera” and was willing to do it on the cheap) to see when your photos will be ready. He tells you there is a problem—the hundreds of images taken throughout the day were shot at the lowest quality setting. What does this mean? Essentially, it means you will be limited to forever viewing your photos as tiny thumbnail previews on a computer monitor.
You’ll never get to hold a gorgeous print in your hand, hang a jaw-dropping wall portrait in your home, or flip through the pages of a wedding scrapbook filled with photos as your grandchildren sit on your lap. Sadly, this situation is becoming more common as couples make the mistake of cutting corners when it comes to choosing their wedding photographers. In the past five years or so, the falling prices of consumer digital cameras have made “professional-looking” cameras more accessible to the weekend hobbyist. This is a very dangerous thing.
Now, you could hand me a Louis and Clark carbon-fiber cello, the exact same model virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma uses, and I would look quite professional sitting there holding that $7,000 instrument. What’s the difference between Yo-Yo Ma and me? I should sound just as good as he does since we both have the same instrument, right? Wrong – very wrong. It would be evident in the first stroke of the bow against the strings that while I am indeed making noise, it is nothing compared to the beautiful sounds that would come from Yo-Yo Ma’s cello. What does this mean to you? Be aware of which photographers are simply making noise and which ones are using their years of experience and artistic and technical talents to create timeless images.
It may seem convenient to hire your uncle who owns the “good camera” or the friend who has taken a photography class, but photographing a wedding is not like taking pictures of a bowl of fruit in a classroom. There is only one chance to get it right. Capturing the essence of a wedding day, keeping up with its flow, and understanding the atmosphere just can’t be taught in a classroom or learned in a fancy camera manual. It’s something that comes with years of experience. Your wedding day is far too important to leave in the hands of an amateur. Now, imagine this scenario. It is two weeks after the wedding and you contact your professional photographer. Everything looks gorgeous! He or she has gone above and beyond your expectations. Your wedding images are the envy of all your friends, family, and co-workers and you love showing them off. This is the way wedding photography was meant to be. It may sound cliché, but after all is said and done the photographs and videos of your wedding are the closest things to actually going back in time and reliving that special, once-in-a-lifetime moment.
What is that worth to you? You may be thinking, “Of course you’re going to say that, you make your living photographing weddings!” While this is true, I am also a husband of 12 years and I absolutely cherish my wedding photos. The priceless images were created by—you guessed it—a professional wedding photographer! Every time I open my wedding album, I am immediately taken back to that day. I can’t imagine not having those photos.