So [Uncle Tom] has some shiny, expensive camera equipment and has offered to photograph your wedding for a very small fee. Should you? It doesn't really matter which family or friend’s name you insert here, both us and our fellow photographers hear this question regularly. The answer, really, is simple: it’s up to you.
But there’s a few things you should consider before you go down this route…
1. Are they an enthusiastic amateur or a seasoned pro?
If Uncle Tom has been a professional wedding photographer for years, then, well there’s not really a need to ask the question... Uncle Tom is more than qualified! If not, beware. Professional wedding photographers might make it look easy, but it isn’t. We have trained, honed our craft, and have the experience gleaned from many years behind the camera to be able to know how to make the best of challenging situations, respond quickly to changing light conditions, time constraints and adverse weather. With that experience comes a knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and how to pose you to look your best.
2. Even the most experienced wedding photographers get nervous.
That’s right. We might’ve done this on many occasions, but we’re still nervous under that calm exterior. Why? Because photographing someone’s wedding is a huge responsibility, and with that comes a certain amount of stress – even though we enjoy it! Are you comfortable putting that sort of pressure on a relative or friend? Shouldn’t they be relaxed and enjoying the day with you?
3. Is Uncle Tom skilled at post-production?
Photographing the wedding day itself is only part of our job. We will spend the next few weeks sorting, editing, retouching and styling your photographs to ensure they look their very best. The post-production phase takes many hours and, again, is a very skilled task.
4. What if there’s a problem?
Let’s assume that you decided Uncle Tom was up to the job. He photographed your wedding day and then after the event he presents you with a set of digital images. You’re disappointed. The quality isn’t what you expected, the style isn’t what you’d hoped. What do you do? Would you be comfortable having that discussion with Tom? Or do you stay eternally regretful?
5. Can Uncle Tom design a wedding album?
We work on the basis that photographs should be printed. Digitals are great; you can look at them on screen, on devices etc. But photographs are taken to a whole different level when they become ‘present’, touchable. That involves producing an album; something we include as a standard element of all our wedding packages. Designing an album involves creativity, and understanding what photos sit best together on a page, to complement each other.
6. Is Uncle Tom insured?
Oops, Tom knocked over a (very) expensive antique vase at the wedding venue while he was lining up to take a photo of you. He just didn’t see it. But Uncle Tom, unlike most professional wedding photographers, doesn’t have public liability insurance, so the venue wants you to foot the bill. Ouch.
So in summary, should you ask Uncle Tom to photograph your wedding? It’s up to you. And it depends on the standard you expect. Make sure you weigh up the pros and cons and consider carefully before you make a decision. Your wedding day will go quickly, but your photos last forever!