Editorial Category: 
Date: 
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I'm begging you, hire an experienced wedding photographer

I’m Begging You, Hire an Experienced Wedding Photographer.

When planning a wedding, you’re bombarded with “do”s and “don’t”s and “your wedding will be ruined if you _____” sort of advice. We know that, and we’d hate to be pushing another opinion on you…. unless it was extremely important.

The thing is, this post isn’t about adding to the noise of strongly worded wedding advice. I’m speaking from personal experience.  

My husband and I are coming up on our 8 year wedding anniversary.  We now have a seven year old and a four year old and I can’t tell you the last time I ate a meal sitting down. Life immediately kicked into overdrive after we were married and over the next few years we had some amazing moments.  From becoming parents, to buying our first home together, to the sadder moments where we experienced the loss of loved ones,  together we’ve had so many intensely amazing moments. 

Shortly after my son was born, my great-grandmother passed away. She lived an incredible long life and thankfully was able to attend our wedding. My wedding photographer was able to capture a moment where my great-grandmother asked me for a piece of cake and I brought one to her. I cherish this photo more than anything! It’s my favorite memory and it became even more special after she passed away.  She sat in her wheelchair most of the reception against the wall so she wouldn’t feel as though she was in the way. Instead of ignoring someone who was trying to blend in, my photographer paid attention to our relationship.  She knew to watch for special moments and captured them and those moments are the ones that are framed in my home and were captured because of experience.  

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An experienced photographer reads the room and knows what shots to take. After capturing countless weddings, they have a knack for knowing what is about to happen, and where the really meaningful memories are being made. It’s not always about what or who is making the most noise, or what looks the most glamorous. There’s an intuition about what matters most that can only come with experience. 

If you’re anything like I was when planning my wedding, you’ve never really done this kind of thing before. There are definitely ways to stay smart and stay on a budget when wedding planning like using seasonal flowers in your bouquet or adjusting your timeline to accommodate an early meal instead of a full plated dinner. 

But please, oh please don’t hire an inexperienced photographer to shave some money off of your budget.    

Wedding photography and videography is something that you cherish forever.  Long after the cute embroidered brides robe that you bought off of Etsy is in the trash (or resold on a buy and sell site!) your photos and videos will be the nostalgia that brings you back to the day that you began your lives together. Choose carefully, choose someone whose work you love and who you feel understands you and your values.

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Much like fine art, the value of your wedding photos will increase over the years.  As you age, change jobs, move on to new cities and new adventures, start a family or add new animals to your home, your wedding day memories will slowly begin to fade. The blanks will be filled in with the moments captured in photographs. As the years carry on, the photos of the decor and details will mean less and less, while the images of your loved ones, and the love you and your spouse felt on your wedding day will become absolutely priceless. 

I’m not knocking those who are just starting out – I actually really admire them. Wedding photography as a career isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s demanding and the industry evolves so quickly. Working as a second shooter is a great way for new photographers to learn business and technical skills and how to capture the moments that truly matter. 

When meeting with potential photographers, ask questions about their experience and see what they focus on at a wedding. Don’t just look at their magazine-worthy portraits, but make sure you see a full wedding album. Look for the candid photos and the emotions that were captured. Do you see photos that show you exactly how the subjects were feeling? Great wedding photography will emulate the emotions felt on the day. 

Whatever you do, take the time to find a wedding photographer who is experienced, and who ‘clicks’ with you. After all, their work will be one of the most enduring reminders of one of the most important days in your life.

 

- Heather 

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