Wedding season is in full swing and with each wedding I attend, both as a guest and as a photographer, I’m struck by how many people in attendance have really nice cameras. It’s funny, but these people tend to gather in a corner gushing over their gear. The thing is, what you shoot with is such a small part of what a professional photographer brings to the table.

Photo by Life Moments Media
                         
I understand its difficult for most people to consider paying for professional photography services, whether it be family, wedding, or portrait photography, when it seems you could call a friend with a fancy camera to do it for you. We all know that if you have a nice, big camera you can do the same job, right? It’s just not that simple.

Here are some benefits to hiring a professional photographer – And I’m not just talking about me, ya’ll. While I would love to talk about working with you, one of my jobs is to make sure you make an informed decision no matter who you chose as your photographer. So, here goes:

Insurance: Professional photographers carry insurance to cover against professional liability and equipment in the event of an unforeseen disaster. What if the person you hired to photograph your wedding called you days before the big day to say their camera had been stolen out of their car and they couldn’t afford to replace it in time? Or if Great Aunt Judy has to go to the hospital because she tripped over a light stand during a family portrait?

File Storage: In the age of digital photography, how many of us have THOUSANDS of personal photographs hogging memory on their computers. I know I’m guilty. A professional photographer will have systems in place for handling the many thousands of images they process a year. They will guarantee your files against loss for a certain period of time and guard against storage failures, fire, etc.

Professional equipment: My sister is a very talented artist. She is an especially talented painter and I have several of her pieces on my walls (for when she makes it big). Just as a paintbrush is Myra’s tool of choice for expressing her artistic vision, the camera is a photographer’s tool.

A professional photographer uses many tools to get the job done and a pro dSLR is only the tip of the iceberg. We rely on professional lenses, various types of flashes, reflectors, light modifiers, power packs, tripods and countless other little gadgets that allow all of our tools to work together.

Professional photographers also have back up equipment. All the equipment listed above, we have duplicates. Just in case. Let’s say a photographer is taking pictures at your ceremony, and her camera body locks up. It happens and the professional would be able to whip out their spare and capture the moment. As professionals, it’s our job to plan for every contingency and be prepared.

Education: Whether it’s an official degree or countless hours of workshops, video tutorials and books, a professional photographer is educated. Years dedicated to learn different photography techniques, styles and concepts. But, again, it’s passion that makes the photographer. 

There are so many talented, skilled and educated professionals who took the time and had the dedication learn the necessary techniques and to seek out instruction from other professionals. Photography is so much more than pushing a button and it takes time and practice to perfect the craft. It’s something photographers never stop doing.

Experience:
Have you noticed that sometimes your camera doesn’t do the greatest job of getting the shot? It’s true that digital cameras are smart and they can now do a lot for us, but cameras are machines and there are some things they just don’t do well on their own.

For example, on auto, digital cameras have a hard time achieving correct exposure if the subject is standing in front of a strong light source (a sunset or bright window) and can also have a hard time focusing in low light situations. A professional photographer can react to any situation without missing a beat and still provide creative and artistic results.

Professional Service:
Hiring a professional photographer is not unlike making a reservation at a luxury hotel. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes both before and after your arrival to ensure your stay is perfect. 

When I first set out to be a professional photographer, I had no idea how much went on behind the scenes and how many hats a photographer wears on a daily basis. I’ve acted as a stylist, a makeup artist, a necktie tier, a coordinator, an album designer, a master printer, an accountant, a business manager, and advertising executive. And that’s just to name a few.

It’s easy to see photography as expendable, and I understand not wanting to pay what might be seen as a huge amount of money on wedding/portrait/event photography, but you are investing in your memories. 

By hiring a professional, you will have someone who is going to give you 100% of their time, focus, talent and attention before, during and after your event. A photographer can advise you and be in your corner, and can provide you with keepsakes of your most treasured moments. And that’s really what it is all about.