Today more than ever, couples have the daunting task of sorting through an ever increasing number of inexperienced and untalented wedding photographers, to find the photographer that is the best fit to photograph the greatest day of their life.
One misconception many people have, is that a great camera will make anyone a great photographer, but that simply isn't true, such a claim would be no different than claiming that a great scalpel will make you a great surgeon, or a great paint brush will make you into another Picasso. The best cameras in the world are useless in the hands of an inexperienced and untalented photographer. It is up to the photographer to properly compose images, to find the ideal locations for spectacular images, to understand how to use light and shadows to create incredible images, understand what are the best angles so that subjects look fantastic, deal with less than ideal lighting situations and still create incredibly beautiful images, deal with less than ideal locations and still create beautiful images, deal with less than ideal weather conditions and still create incredible images, understand color harmony and how to use it to create impact, understanding depth of field and how to use it to create separation of subjects from the background again for impact, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, there are many skills that must be mastered with just capturing images to be a great photographer. But it doesn't stop there, so what happens to the images after the photographer captures them? Does he/she have the experience, skill and time to properly enhance them so that they look absolutely breathtaking? I don't believe in cutting corners when it comes to any process of wedding photography, so it is important to invest quite a bit of time after the wedding working on images to turn great images into breathtaking images, converting images into black and white to enhance the storyline, converting some images into selectively tinted images to enhance the storyline. From what I have seen, there are a growing number of photographers who either don't enhance their images, or don't know how to, because I really can't believe how bad the images I am seeing on other photographers websites and Facebook pages these days. So, why are there so many couples who use these photographers? I don't know why all do, but I'm sure that many do so to save money, which makes me feel sad, because these couples most of the time end up with poorly lit, poorly composed images that look like ordinary snapshots, when they could have invested more by hiring a qualified photographer, and had the images that they would love and cherish for the rest of their life.
I once had a father call me about photographing his daughter's wedding, he started the phone conversation by saying, "Tim, my second daughter is getting married, and I just want to know what you would charge to photograph her wedding", I told him what our prices were, and I could hear a sigh on the other end. He then said, "I paid quite a bit less for my first daughter's wedding pictures, and her album sets in a drawer and nobody ever looks at it", to which I asked, "Sir if you don't mind my asking, why does your daughter's album set in a drawer and nobody looks at it?" and he responded, "because she hates everything about it, the photographs, the album, she hates everything" I then responded, "sir you made a bad investment, you hired a photographer who wasn't experienced and talented enough to capture your daughter's wedding in the artistic style she envisioned". After I told him, he admitted that he had made a mistake and proceeded to hire me to photograph his second daughter's wedding. It's all about priorities, many couples misplace those priorities in other seemly important aspects of their wedding day, but neglect the photography that could give them a lifetime of enjoyment after the wedding if they only hired the right photographer.
So, what about part-timers? Couples have to understand that hiring a part-time photographer comes with certain risks. The most important thing to consider is this, when a photographers' entire livelihood depends upon their reputation as a wedding photographer, then they have a great incentive to provide you with the very best quality photography and service. Although there are some part-time photographers who are quite good and capable of doing a good job for you, it's important to understand they do have less of an incentive to provide the very best quality photography and service, they won't have as much time to help you with wedding day timeline, and most likely won't have time to enhance your images in a timely manner, it is also important to consider that their day job will always take precedence over your wedding photography, so if for any reason they must work at their real job on your wedding day, then you will be out a photographer. I have several couples every year who frantically contact me close to their wedding day desparately searching for a photographer at the last minute, because their photographer wasn't able to photograph their wedding. Please whatever you do don't make the same mistake they did!