Your Wedding Photographer – Should You Go Pro or Do It Yourself? | wedding

With the economy still not fully recovered, a lot of couples opt for “do it yourself” wedding pictures rather than hiring a professional wedding photographer.They may ask one of their friends or family members to handle the picture taking for the day. Or maybe a friend of a family member does photography on the side, but isn’t really a professional.Some couples get lucky and the photos turn out fantastic even at a cut-rate price. But other times, not so much.I heard a ‘horror story’ from a family member a couple of years ago who had a friend of a friend do her wedding photography. And she said that every time a great shot could have been taken, the photographer was sitting with friends and family eating, acting like one of the guests.As it turned out, this bride didn’t get very many good photos and hardly any at all of the reception activities.If you don’t know your friend’s friend very well, it’s a good idea to gracefully decline the offer of a “cheap” wedding photographer for your special day.Not sure if you can afford a professional wedding photographer? Start with your budget and see if there are some items on your checklist where you can cut back. Then you put those savings toward the photographer’s fee.

For example, you might be looking at a wedding dress that’s going to run you $1,000. Can you get a similar dress online for half the price? Is it an absolute must that you have to have that expensive designer label inside your dress – you know, a name that no one else is going to see but you, right?Or maybe you can cut back on the reception food some. There are a lot of ways to feed your guests without breaking the bank.Instead of hiring a top-of-the-line caterer or renting the most extravagant and expensive reception venue in town, you might want to look around for a less expensive place to feed and entertain your guests for a few hours, and put the difference in costs toward a good wedding photographer.Believe me, as long as your guests can eat, drink and be merry, they’re going to be less concerned about where or how much everything costs.So if you really want pictures that will last a lifetime, go back over your wedding checklist and start chopping away at some of the unnecessary but costly items.I’m sure you’ll see you have it in your budget to afford that wedding photographer who will act like a professional all during the ceremony and the reception.How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer for You
Unless you’ve hired a wedding planner who has some connections to reputable and reliable photographers, here are five key things to consider if you have to shop for one yourself.1. Length of experience. Unless he’s built a huge portfolio of reputable clients in a really short amount of time, you might want someone with a few years of experience.I’m not saying the 18-year old high school graduate who’s offering a isn’t experienced, but unless he does have a portfolio, you might want to think twice.On the other hand, if you check some high school or freshman college photography students, you might get yourself a fantastic deal on an awesome wedding photographer plus give a student a break into the industry.2. Portfolios – online and offline. Check online first to see if the photographer or the company has a website with some of their clients’ photos on it. This will give you a feeling for his style and what photos he feels are important.You might even get a sense of how he captures the moments by looking at the lighting and settings he chooses for the shots.Offline, when you make an appointment, ask to see his portfolio.3. Professional References. Again, look on the website for any client references he might have listed. If you’re working with a brand new or a student photographer, you might ask the teachers or other students for their opinions.

But even new or student photographers should have a few samples of their work so you can get an idea of their style and experience.4. Time Frames.
How long will it take for the wedding photographer to have your proofs ready?
How long will it take to have the final photographs in the album?
5. Trust and compatibility. You need to be able to feel that the wedding photographer you hire will be able to naturally capture the moments that you envision for your day.You need to be assured that when you and your groom have your first dance, that even the feelings are captured in that photo.Your photographer should be comfortable mingling in the crowd at the reception, making sure to get special photos of the bridal party, family and friends laughing, dancing and enjoying themselves.Above all, you should be able to enjoy your day without even realizing your wedding photographer is there because he naturally blends in with the moments and captures your memories as if you were taking the pictures yourself.