(Closed) Professional Photographer vs. Not?

posted 4 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 2
1669 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

It depends what your expectations are.

If you expect professional quality pictures, you’ll be disappointed.

If you’re ok with pictures just like you would take at a normal party, you’ll be fine.

I have had several friends use “friend” photographers, all of them hated their pictures, but I think they did not properly manage their expectations. The pictures weren’t bad, they were just very obviously not professional and it was clear the person taking them did not shoot weddings for a living. 

If they had understood that the pictures wouldn’t be much different than your uncle bob’s pics from a party, they might have been fine with them.

It really depends on what you want. If professional quality pictures are in any way important to you, go with a professional. Be careful vetting a photographer, there are lots of “pros” out there right now with websites and a few decent shots on rotation who have no idea what they are doing.

Post # 3
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

My whole wedding was $5000 (and I mean EVERYTHING), and I still went to with a pro. You can’t cheap out on this if photography is important to you. If you search amateur photographer in this forum, you’ll find so many horror stories from brides who decided to skimp on it. IF photography is important to you, then cut corners somewhere else to find a decent photographer. Also, it’s better to have a pro for less time at your wedding, then to have a crappy photographer for the whole day. I’ll take 200 awesome photos to 800 mediocre ones any day. 

Post # 5
263 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

I think the best way to approach this is to send an honest email to the photographer of your choice (I know this works because I’m a photographer)

“Hi ______,

I found your work on _____, and I think it would be perfect for our wedding/it’s exactly what we were looking for. I’m getting married at ______, on ______. Your work is really ____. We would really love to work with you, and we wanted to know if we can hire you for half a day instead of 8 hours (or a couple of hours only). Our photography budget allows us to get a professional, but not for a whole day unfortunately. We’d love to have you shoot our wedding, so please let us know at your convenience if this is at all possible. 

Thank you so much, and I look forward to your response”

Try http://www.fearlessphotographers.com to look for a photographer. I’m a member, and I’ve seen photographers be available on budgets under $2000.

Best wishes!

Post # 6
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

We did want photography, and we wanted pretty photos, but we didnt have a huge budget. We ended up spending $2100 which is more than I would have liked, BUT, once the wedding is over, that’s all we’ll have left so it was important to us.

Post # 8
1916 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

My only regret is not hiring a professional photographer to shoot our rehearsal dinner.  I convinced myself that it would be fine to just have my Maid/Matron of Honor take photos and I missed all of these shots getting dressed with my mom and doing our Chinese tea ceremony.  My Maid/Matron of Honor was great, but she’s not a professional photographer and she also wanted to enjoy the dinner as well.  I wish I would have just spend the $400.  I didn’t want to spend more than $350.  In hindight, I would be more than happy to shell out the extra $50.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  .
Post # 9
6586 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Prettysmile40:  Here’s the thing with hiring a pro vs amature. You have to 100% okay with your decision to not hire a pro, because you will 100% not get pro work. If it is honestly not a priority to you, and you don’t see the value in the spending the money nor the difference in quality of work, by all means go with an amature. However, it seems as though based on what you wrote, you do really like beautiful wedding photography…..and that means that most likely if you didn’t hire a pro you’d be dissapointed.

That being said, not all pros are the same and it’s worth saying : you get what you pay for. A “pro” charging $1500 for ALL DAY coverage is NOT the same as a pro charging 3k+ for 6-8 hours of coverage. zarethacosta:  had a great suggestion (and email). Depending on your date, you might find someone willing to do less hours for a little less money. Because I’m a photographer in a resort area, and we have primarily destination weddings here, I shoot several weddings each year with less coverage time (and a reduced rate).

The best advice I can give is to hire the best photographer you can for the most amount of time you can, then worry about the “extras” later. If it means hiring an expereinced pro for only 3 hours – to get your cermony and formals done, then so be it. The “extras” (prints, albums, etc) are all things you can get later but TIME is the one thing you can’t get more of after the wedding.

Post # 10
2971 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

We paid 1/4 of our wedding budget to our photographers, and I kind of wondered if that was a good decision in the days leading up to the wedding, but after seeing our pictures I dont regert it ONE BIT. They are fantastic, and I remember the day so well because it was so well photographed! I would have been terribly disappointed if they didnt turn out well and our photogs had amazing reputations. To me, it was 10000000% worth every penny!

Post # 11
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016 - Our Castle

Im my opinion other then your memories the photos are what keeps your wedding day living on?! i am splurging a little with photograthy because i want beautiful clear memories.

A friend had a student do his wedding and the edited photos were horrible IMO.. Not the best memories or only a few good ones..

Oh note that there will be alot of the wedding you wont see! my photographer will have an assistant with him and she wil be getting photos of my guests while he concentrates on us..

Post # 12
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

You will never get that day back so if you don’t have good photos I’d think it would be highly disappointing. Photography was one of my top priorities. 

Post # 13
1282 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Prettysmile40:  have you heard of the http://www.cancelledweddings.com website? I think there is another one too – basically you can get wedding vendors at a discount if you can find it in your area – the bride who needed to cancel her wedding doesn’t lose all of the money she put in as a deposit either . . . just another possibility to consider. So you might get a great photographer at a reduced price.

Here is a news article about the concept http://www.cnbc.com/id/100746693 though the one they linked seems to not be working. . . 

Post # 14
9548 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’s all a matter of priorities. Non-pro pictures will still help your remember how awesome your wedding day was. Professional pictures will also be pretty. So the question is, are pretty pictures worth the price? And nobody can answer that for you. I don’t think that pro pictures are an absolute must, but they’re nice if you can swing it. I’d recommend trying to find someone who is trying to build their portfolio or who does photography as a side job. They’re likely to be cheaper than someone with more experience who does this as a full time job. 

For me, I asked a friend but he wasn’t really excited about it so I tried looking for a reasonably priced pro. I ended up hiring a pro photog from 11 AM to 11 PM. She was young and while she had been doing weddings for a couple years, she was still building her wedding portfolio. I also got some discounts because she was already in town for a wedding the previous day (I got married on a Sunday) adn because I saw her ad on Criagslist. I got married 8 months ago and booked her about a year prior to that. I got her for $875 for the whole day and digital files of the pictures that I could print as much as I wanted. I just checked her prices now and that would cost me $2000 now. I loved my photos and absolutely think that I made the right decision. You can definitely find pros that will work with your budget – you just have to look!

Post # 15
2351 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would say to 100% go for the pro. It was non-negotiable to me, it was one area I did not have an issue with spending top dollar and I haven’t had one regret after the fact. just keep in mind u get what u pay for. And doing a friend a favor by letting them get practice at ur wedding won’t make up for low quality pics, either.

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