I'm all about saving money, but there are certain things that are definitely worth paying more for on your wedding day; Like the ONE thing that will literally last FOREVER after the wedding is over and gone - your photography.
All photographers have experienced it; That pleasant and exciting conversation with a potential client that suddenly becomes “So, it turns out my friend’s sister’s best friend just bought a nice camera, so she said she would do our wedding photography for [Insert price that doesn’t even cover that person’s costs and will quickly have them selling that nice camera].”
It always breaks my heart! NOT because I lost a client, but because 9 times out of 10, those clients learn the hard way that having a nice camera, or even taking good pictures does not make you a wedding photographer. I am NOT saying that new photographers should never get a chance to expand their portfolio, or photograph friends and family at a low rate (that is how we ALL get started and it is the best way to do it!). I am, however, saying that a wedding day is not the place to practice. When talking to new photographers interested in weddings, I always suggest the following: First assist a professional multiple times, then second shoot multiple weddings, then work your way up to covering the big day solo. There is so much more to learn than just being able to take nice photos. You have to be able to take them very quickly, be able to handle harsh and frequently changing lighting situations, you have to know where to be to capture those irreplaceable moments, when they are happening, how to capture them beautifully, and protect them with your life all with absolute chaos around you. That's just a little bit of shooting! From the first consultation to the final image delivery, weddings are a LOT of work and take a LONG time to master.
I am involved in many social media groups dedicated to photographer education. There are people in these groups that know way more than I do, and many who know way less. I try to learn all I can from the people ahead of me, and share all I can with those behind me, because I was there too! I have heard way too many horror stories on these pages from inexperienced photographers biting off more than they could chew. Things like “I shot a whole wedding and my SD card says it’s corrupt and won’t let me access my images!”, or “I lost an SD card that had a whole wedding on it.” Or “I forgot to get a photograph of something important and now the couple is upset with me”, or “What do I do if my client hates my photos? I shot a wedding for my friend’s sister’s niece for just $600 because I’m just starting out, but they hate all of the photos!” or “When my client tried to print her wedding pictures, they looked really bad and pixelated when they were enlarged, what did I do wrong?”
When you hire a professional you are not just hiring someone capable of taking photos with their nice camera. You are hiring someone with the equipment, image back-up services, shooting and editing skills, software, insurance, contracts, workflows, planning guides, experience and expertise to ensure each moment is captured, captured beautifully, and protected like the precious thing it is. Professional photographers know what these moments are, when they happen, how to capture them perfectly, and how to protect the images long after they are delivered to the client. We make scheduling, signing contracts, planning, shooting, delivering, and enjoying your images secure and easy. We go to classes, attend work shops, have mentorships, and pay a lot to keep our skills on point and constantly evolving with new programs and technology.
You (usually) don’t get a second chance at your wedding day. Once those moments are gone, they are unfortunately gone. If your photographer happens to miss it, or miss focus, or forget to change some settings and ruin the shot, that moment is deleted.
I can’t tell you how many people I have had tell me they WISH they would have spent money on a real photographer with real skills, real equipment, and real experience for their wedding day. Having photos you don’t want to show anyone that you got for a steal is cool and all, but I’d rather have photos I’m proud to share, look at, and decorate my home in for the rest of my life than the few bucks I saved helping someone get started. Sometimes you are better off investing in the quality and experience that a professional can provide.
Cherish Shanell Photography is a wedding, engagement, family, and newborn photographer based in Olympia, WA. wedding, marriage, wedding planning, photographer, wedding photography, wedding photographer, tips, Olympia, Tacoma, Washington, bride, groom, venue, images, professional. washington state, couples