Earlier today, my attention was drawn to a thread on a Facebook group for brides to be. The original post was written by a bride on a tight budget who wondered if having a photographer was essential, or if it’s an area she could save money on by getting guests to take some snaps instead.
In the digital age, many of us are guilty of uploading photos onto social media but never actually printing them. This makes many people think that taking photographs is something that everyone can do with their iPhone, or even their DSLR set to auto, devaluing the art of a professional photographer. I’ve lost count of the number of enquiries I’ve had where people wanted me to match quotes of a budding hobbyist. Whilst some photographs taken on an iPhone, or by a well-meaning friend with a camera, can look good with filters on Facebook or Instagram, the reality is that they look pixelated and grainy when they’re printed. Wedding photos should be something much more than a post on Facebook with instant likes and comments but then only remembered once a year when Timehop prompts you.
Many of the respondents to the Facebook thread gave cautionary tales, lamenting either their lack of a photographer altogether, or remorse for using a photographer just because they were cheap. Some regretted not having photographs that they were proud of, some complained that their photos couldn’t be edited because they were shot as jpegs rather than raw, some explained that their photos couldn’t even be printed because the quality was too low and some realised that the difference in the lighting, composition and quality of photographs from an experienced photographer were worlds apart from the photographs they got from an amateur.
One response really struck me though; one lady explained how she regularly gets her late parents’ wedding album out. She described how happy her Mum looked in the photos and how she loved looking at the guests who had long since departed. Another bride agreed and said that photos will be the thing that lasts the longest from the wedding and that she treasures the photos from all her family members, past and present. Will our children have to search on Facebook for ours or will they be printed on archival paper for them to treasure? Will your photographs be something you are proud to display on the wall as the pieces of art that they should be, or will you settle for cringing every time Facebook memories throws them up?
“…photographs are an integral part of the wedding and are something that can be treasured for generations to come.”
Professional photographers aren’t cheap, but consider that you’re not just paying for the time spent on the day taking photos (often 12 hours) but also the hours spent researching where to take the best shots in and around your venue, the days taken to edit each photograph so that it’s perfect, the use of their equipment (which costs thousands) and also their years of experience and expertise. However, you will have photographs that you will want to look at again and again, a documentary of the day (including bits that you won’t have even known happened) and most importantly you will have a memento of what will be one of the best days of your life to treasure forever and leave as a legacy.
So, what price would you pay for your wedding photography?