Published 19 September 2017
A wedding is a costly event to organise and I do understand that with everything that needs to be considered for the biggest day of your live, photography is yet another item on the list which can demand a substantial percentage of your wedding budget.
So if you are reading this article, you probably had the offer from a friend to take your wedding photos or you know a friend or an uncle with a really good camera who you could ask to take your photographs for you.
So you might be thinking: “Wonderful! I can save a huge amount of money and use it for other parts of the wedding.”
I certainly understand that you might want to be loyal to your friend / uncle / cousin and that you want to safe a bit of money. So a lot of couples might wonder what the actual difference is between a professional and an amateur photographer, as the decision of having an amateur or a pro photographing your wedding cannot be changed after your big day.
Nadin Dunnigan is a professional photographer and has worked as a photographer since 2004. Nadin has photographed hundreds of weddings in the UK and internationally. But the truth of the matter is that hiring a professional photographer for your wedding day might not be the best fit for you. In fact, a cheap photographer, or an amateur might be a better option.
This article is going to look at the pros and cons of hiring your friend to be your wedding photographer, vs booking a professional wedding photographer.
An amateur photographer is someone who has a full-time job with a company that has nothing to do with photography, or someone who is retired, but they have a passion for photography. Their hobby is photography. They might have chosen a particular area of photography they really like, such as landscape photography, or wildlife photography. They might be a member of a camera club. They are likely to have a big camera. They might have won a photography competition in their camera club. They may have been published in a magazine. They do not make a living from their photography, but if they charge for their work, it is likely to be very cheap.
A professional photographer is someone who runs their own business, either as a sole trader or a limited company, and their job is - you guessed it - photography. Professional photographers have several big cameras and lenses. Professional photographers are usually good and experienced at different types of photography, such as corporate photography, family photography, wedding photography.
Many professional photographers often take part in training courses, others are part of online forums for distance learning. Professionals have business practices, business insurance, and contracts in place with terms and conditions for their job. Professional photographers usually have a smart online presence, a website, Facebook page and a clear pricing structure.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that the photographs you will receive after your wedding will be breath-taking, natural, fun, with an outstanding attention to detail, edited to a top professional standard, and contain the story of your wedding day exactly how you want to remember it?
If you are doubtful in any way, please do not feel pressured into booking the photography with your friend / amateur wedding photographer.
If your budget for hiring a top professional wedding photographer for the full wedding day is limited, you could opt to hire a professional for only 1-2 hours on your wedding day. They will produce an absolute amazing selection of photographs for you in that short time, exactly the photos you want to receive after your wedding.
Most professional photographers would not take a booking for a two-hour wedding on a Saturday in Summer. If they commit to be with you for such a short time, they cannot agree to be the wedding photographer for a full day wedding. Effectively they would lose money.
However, there are many amazing photographers in Edinburgh, Scotland, or wherever you are. Make a shortlist of your top 10 photographers. Professional Photographers are not booked out every single Saturday and Sunday from April until September. You could do a call-around four weeks before your wedding and see who is still available. It is unlikely that within such short notice they would get a booking for a full day wedding photography, and you can snatch up one of your favourite photographers for one or two hours on a Saturday.
I have been booked a few times, very short notice, for weddings that are as close as two days away. As a professional, with our experience, we can fulfil such a job and produce high quality photographs for you. So you save a lot of money, your friend takes photos on the day, AND you get some amazing professional photographs you will love forever.