Let's face it, hiring a photographer is expensive, isn't it? I mean, all they do is spend a few hours on the day taking a few photos and charge the earth for doing it. After all, I have a friend who has an expensive camera and offered to take some photos. That'll save us pounds!
You'd be surprised how many times I've heard people say this. And yes, I have to agree that photography is not cheap. But you wouldn't skimp on other essential items like the wedding dress or the flowers, or the venue or cake. Strangely, photography is usually the last thing to book. And yet, after all the cake has gone and the flowers have withered away, all that's left for the ensuing decades are the photographs, so you want them to be as perfect as possible, to tell the unique story of your big day.
Honestly, I've seen many photographs taken by 'Uncle George' or 'my best friend', and generally they're, well, to put it kindly, sorely disappointing. I've had women break down in tears as they told me about their mistake in wanting to shave money off the wedding budget and forego the professional photographer only to be shocked at the photos 'their friend' took. In fact one mother-of-the-bride told me the photos of her own marriage, taken by her brother, were so bad she had to arrange for a professional photographer to come in, and they re-enacted as much of the day as they could a few weeks later! There are many such stories - a quick internet search will throw up all the horror tales and illustrative sorry pictures too!
But surely an expensive camera is all you need? Well it's like me saying that I have a pair of hairdressing scissors worth £400, but the chances are you wouldn't let an amateur like me loose on your hair on your wedding day! There's a lot of skill and talent behind the equipment.
You see, a professional photographer doesn't just own an expensive camera - they've spent years, often decades (like myself) perfecting their craft. Photography is an art form in its own right. It takes great skill and an eye for detail, for framing, for light and shadow, and an instinct for capturing the right candid moment, that makes a real photographer. Professionals make it look so easy. We're telling a story, like a writer or film-maker - so when it's all edited together you'll be transported straight back to that magical day. Your story is unique and you need someone there who knows how to capture it and relay it back to you.
But practically you don't just pay for someone taking photos on the day. A day's shoot will take me at least seven to ten days to edit in post-production. This is where a lot of the work comes in - whittling down perhaps a thousand photos to a few hundred, working on each and every one of those chosen photos to crop them, to get the colours and lighting right, before handing them over to the client. That in itself is a great skill, but because the aim is to make the photos as natural as possible, you'll rarely see this because it's invisible, or should be!
Finally, we are photographers because we're passionate about photography. We want our photos to be as perfect as we can get them, and we take great pride in producing stunning pictures that look so natural you could almost be there.
So why do I think you should pay for a professional photographer? Because we hate to see anyone cry...