After checking out the Wed By Hand event here in Ottawa last Saturday and meeting some great vendors, I was happy to see a wedding show that didn’t try to see overwhelm future brides and grooms with an endless array of choices. I remember planning my own wedding – this was before I became a professional photographer myself but having a background in film and being an avid hobbyist, I knew photography was one the most important things for me. That and having great food and a good dj so people would have the best time (and they did)! I was definitely a little overwhelmed and gave my husband the task of securing those 3 key elements (he did a great job so don’t worry ladies, it’s ok to get your fiancés to do some of the work). The first one was easy, Storey Wilkins happened to be a good family friend with a cottage near my husband’s in the Kawartha Lakes and had become a wedding photographer a few years earlier. She is now considered one of the top wedding photographers in Canada. After seeing and loving her work, she in fact inspired me to launch my business. I was even lucky enough to shoot several weddings along side her so I would be comfortable enough to go out on my own. Thanks Storey!
And now here I am on the other side, listening to brides and grooms who seem to want awesome photography for a rock bottom price AND own all the digital negatives at the end of the day. Trust me, I know how expensive a wedding can be and how desperately you want to cut a few corners to bring the overall cost down but I just don’t think photography is the place to do that. It will be your only lasting visual reminder of your day and frankly, if you are spending a good chunk of change on your wedding, you want professional artwork to remember it by and not just settle for snapshots.
I don’t think many people know what it takes to shoot and edit a wedding and create a beautiful album. I have spent up to 12 hours on the day of a wedding then more than 40 hours editing and laying out an album, making revisions, etc… As a professional, I value my time as an expert and an artist. I want to work with clients who value my work as well and don’t just see me as another line in their budget. Yes there are ‘weekend warriors’ out there who offer their time and all the files for ridiculous prices, but I can almost guarantee they aren’t making any money and the quality is not nearly as good since they are still working other jobs that are allowing them to pursue this as a hobby. Professionals are constantly working to improve their craft through workshops, forums, conferences and competitions, as well as investing in top of the line equipment and software and using professional labs and suppliers that really produce a far superior product than any online or in store photo lab.
I also know so many people who just got the files and didn’t do anything with their images for well over a year! The advantage of having someone else create an album for you is that a) it actually gets done and b) a good photographer is building a story when choosing which moments and details to capture. How is someone else expected to sift through hundreds of images and figure out the best way to tell it? It would be like asking a bakery to give you all the ingredients and you would then have to make your own wedding cake. I can guarantee it won’t be nearly as nice or taste as good as it would be if you let a professional do their job. And if you really, truly cannot afford a professional, find someone who is striving to be one, whether a student or someone looking to build their portfolio. Help them out by showing them the style of photography you love and I’m sure they will do their very best. And you never know, you just might be hiring the next rising star!
I hope this helps educate engaged couples about the value of hiring a professional and doesn’t come across as a rant. I just want brides and grooms to be left with nothing but the best memories from their wedding day. Don’t just take it from me, here is a blog post I came across where a bride DID choose a cheap photographer and regrets it.
Ok, so now that you know WHY it’s better to hire pro, HOW do you choose? Well, a portfolio is a good indication of their skill but the best way would be to meet face to face and see if not just their style but their personality and philosophy fits with yours. The last thing you want is someone you don’t click with because you just won’t get the same results as you would with someone who totally puts you at ease.
Happy Wedding Planning!
Your Ottawa and Kawartha Lakes Wedding Photographer,