A wedding day is one of the most important days in a person's life.
It can be hard to say goodbye to your single life and hello to married life, but it will all come down to those few hours on that special day. The beauty of a wedding is captured not only by the bride and groom but also by their photographer who has been entrusted with documenting this monumental occasion for them. When you hire a professional from an established company, you are getting someone who knows what they're doing when it comes time for taking pictures- someone who takes pride in their work. Will at Dettman Photography knows how important these photos are because we have seen firsthand just how much people treasure them! He takes care of everything so that our clients get to enjoy their big day.
How many horror stories have you heard from friends, family members, and clients about their wedding day? I am willing to bet that the one common theme is "my uncle Steve has an amazing camera. We'll just go cheap on photographer services because he's such a great guy." Not only do these people think they can get away with not hiring anyone but also must be blissfully unaware of what awaits them during this special time in life together as husband/wife!
This piece was written by author Will Dettman, lead photographer, and owner of Dettman Photography, specifically for all those naysayers out there who refuse to allow themselves or others into your ceremony without regrets later down the road.
Uncle Steve may have a nice camera let’s say Uncle Steve is a Doctor and photography is his hobby. So, not only does he have a nice camera, but he has the best camera money can buy at the moment, the Canon 5D Mark IV ($3K). Uncle Steve loves shooting in his spare time so much that he even invested in a full set of Canon L Series lenses and accessories ($10K+).
We have already assumed that this Uncle Steve is considerably more prepared than the average Uncle Steve. Let's suppose that Uncle Steve goes out once or twice a month, shoots nature and city settings with his fantastic equipment. Uncle Steve also published some of his work.
Uncle Steve is ecstatic at the prospect of performing a spectacular job during his sister's wedding. Uncle Steve begins by documenting the site before the ceremony with some outside shots. Everything appears to be in order. Then Uncle Steve goes inside where the preparation is being done. Because he dislikes manually exposing his photographs, Uncle Steve prefers to do it with the help of the camera, but the camera can only do so much.
Uncle Steve starts taking pictures and realizes that his lens is not wide enough. He quickly goes to the car to get a different lens because he did not think of the problem before. When he gets back, the bride's makeup is done and they are working on her hair. Uncle Steve didn't check out the lighting before starting. Uncle Steve thinks he can just raise his ISO settings higher to capture enough light to properly expose the shot. This works, however, Uncle Steve has no idea that every photograph taken will be too grainy to print at larger than a 4 × 6 size.
After a few minutes, the uncle arrives to take care of the groom. Uncle Steve inspects the scene and adjusts his camera settings according to what the camera sees. Unfortunately, because there was so much black in the scene from the suits, the camera was over-exposing all of the shots to compensate. The photographer didn't notice, however, and kept shooting away.
Let's pretend this is a straightforward wedding that has now come to an end. Uncle Steve finds an excellent location, puts on his zoom lens, and waits. The groom enters the church, and Uncle Steve snaps 50 photographs as he walks down the aisle. The only issue is that because the subject was approaching Uncle Steve, and his focus settings were not set for moving subjects.
The father and bride begin approaching the altar, and Uncle Steve takes 50 more shots. Still, none of them are in focus.
Steve successfully captures several excellent photographs during the wedding ceremony. However, Uncle Steve remembers that his camera lens isn't wide enough, so he goes back to his bag to retrieve a different lens. As he returns, he sees the pair as they kiss for the first time. Uncle Steve missed it because he was concentrating on not missing anything in the ceremony. He also misses any reaction shots of the families because he was so focused on not missing anything during the ceremony.
After the wedding, it's time for formal photographs. Uncle Steve leads everyone to his favorite spot outdoors, where he has a stunning view of the landscape. The subjects are facing away from the sun so they can get a good shot of the scenery. Because the formals are being held in direct sunlight at noon, Uncle Steve is unaware that the camera is underexposing all of the photos because the sun is so bright in the background.
Steve's uncle only takes a few family formal images, and each set is shot once. Little did Steve realize that every image was being taken too dark and underexposed.
Uncle Steve has worked 10 hours by the time reception begins, and he is already exhausted! He feels that since he is family, he should relax and enjoy the wedding as well. So, he hands his camera to his young son who enjoys photography, and instructs him to shoot. Because Uncle Steve is so tired that he doesn't shoot for the rest of the reception
Unfortunately, because Uncle Steve doesn't have the software or even know how to post photos. He simply provides the bride and groom with a DVD containing all of the pictures written to it. The bride and groom sit down, dying with anticipation, and insert the DVD into their computer to begin viewing their uncles' amazing photography!
The wedding photographer has spent 8 months making 2,000 pictures out of the 100 photographs that Uncle Steve took. The bride is already sobbing since each photo is too dark, bright, blurry, or just isn't that great. Furthermore, the groom and bride notice that no picture of their first kiss was captured, and all of the only reception photos were taken by Uncle Steve's son of kids playing.
While this particular narrative is made up, the incidents and conclusions are drawn from actual events that we hear about regularly. Many of our client's guests have come up to us during a shoot to tell us how much they enjoyed working with me and how they wished they had hired me to photograph their wedding. The following are some of the difficulties we as wedding photographers deal with regularly:
- The ability to quickly modify his camera settings depending on the lighting situation. The majority of the time, wedding photographers have 2-3 seconds to adjust settings on the run, any more than that and they will almost certainly miss something.
- How does he know how to compensate for under or over-exposure using his camera's knowledge of how light is read and interpreted? In these cases, the wedding photographer must rely on his expertise rather than the camera's readings.
- A secondary camera with a different sort of lens is prepped for each scenario, ensuring that you're prepared for whatever comes your way. Wedding photographers who specialize in weddings will generally scope out the wedding location and scenarios ahead of time and plan ahead.
- Always bring his essential gear and accouterments with him when he was on assignments. Skilled wedding photographers will always have their gear on them, or close by.
- Capture fleeting moments that you only have one opportunity to capture. A first kiss generally lasts 1-2 seconds, and you may not know when it will happen. The wedding photographer must be looking through his lens, ready and prepared for this moment to occur.
- Knowledge and experience are needed to anticipate each scenario's angles and approaches. Only through experience will you learn where to stand and which angles to shoot.
- He can generate unique lighting scenarios and combine natural light with his illumination. Understanding light and lighting is a difficult task that requires study, training, and experience. Shooting in every possible lighting scenario is impossible unless you have mastered lighting.
- Experience in managing and directing big group events. This is when the wedding photographer's personality and diplomacy are particularly crucial. How do they deal with the bride, groom, and their relatives?
- Experience in utilizing focus techniques beyond basic manual focusing.
- Extra snaps of essential images like during formals when people are blinking, making strange faces, etc.
In addition to this, there is so much more than Uncle Steve would require to capture wedding photographs from beginning to end. While there are many areas where you may save money on your wedding, photography should not be one of them. A professional wedding photographer is required if you want creative, timeless images of your wedding day that will be handed down.
Oftentimes, wedding photography companies like ours will work with clients to customize their packages to fit within their budgets. If that's the case, go for quality rather than products. Select two photographers instead of just one; skip the album, prints, and slideshows for now. We understand that new couples are often on a budget since they're expecting a baby, and we don't want you to buy something beautiful and genuine only to find out when you get back from your honeymoon that it's been sitting in an album with terrible quality photos.
To summarize, while you may always purchase things later, you can never get higher-quality and more innovative imagery following your event.
Thank you for reading