This subject has been covered countless times, several times by me in a previous incarnation as Under the Vintage Veil and by many other established wedding bloggers.
This is perhaps the most compelling argument I could think of to invest a good portion of your wedding budget into professional photography. I get asked a lot what the difference is between pro photography and snaps by your friends – I mean, both capture the moment, right? I’ve never quite had the words to explain it, so I thought by putting the images side by side it might better illustrate my point, how both have their place, but neither can replace the other.
The below pictures are from our August 2012 wedding. On the left are the pictures taken by my friends and family on their camera phones and digital cameras. On the right are professional images of the same moments but taken by a working photographer.
Just to be clear, I am so glad my friends were there to supplement the photography – they captured moments that I am so grateful to have recorded. The reason I am showing you these photos side by side is not to devalue these wonderful contributions, which are so very precious to me and taken with so much heart, but to illustrate the difference between a party snap with a camera or smart phone and a professional photograph taken by an expert with the right training, experience, kit and editing – and to tell you that you absolutely can have the best of both worlds.
All pro images (on the right) are copyright of Satureyes
Let your friends enjoy your wedding as guests and without pressure
First of all, your friends and family are there to enjoy your wedding, not to be responsible for capturing every moment. If they happen to get some images, which they probably will in the age of smart phones, then great, but it’s quite another matter to expect one, or all, of them to be your official photographers. Let them be in the moment, instead of being in charge of preserving them.
Nobody expects your friends to be professionals
Your friends don’t have the years of training and experience in shooting weddings to know which moments to look out for, where to position themselves to grab the best possible shots or how to get them in an unobtrusive way – and nor should they, unless it’s their job!
Your friends won’t want to get up in your face
Your friends will take pictures from a distance. For the most part, they’re not going to have powerful zoom lenses on their smart phones and they certainly won’t want to come butt their heads, and their phones, in while you’re smooching on the dance floor or saying your vows. Think of a professional photographer as an access-all-areas type, someone who won’t be told off for taking pictures, who won’t be too shy to take pictures of strangers and who doesn’t have pre-existing relationships with people who will tell them to sod off for getting too snap happy!
Your friends don’t have expensive kit
Unless you’re a real genius, smart phones just won’t hold up in poor lighting. Your friends don’t have hundreds, even thousands of pounds invested in fantastic kit, low light lenses, tripods, great cameras etc. and even if they did, they would need to learn to use them.
You can have the best of both worlds
Your friends and family know you best. No matter what the difference in quality etc. the images my friends and family produced have heart. But hiring a professional photographer does not preclude them from taking their own pictures – you can, and should, have both!
No matter how wonderful your friends’ images are, don’t leave them battling low lighting, fast-moving celebrations and post-event editing. Take a load off your mind and hire a professional photographer – you won’t regret it!