Professional Wedding Photographer? Do I really need one?

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I understand the fact that weddings are expensive affairs, but it is also equally important to understand that there should be some room left in that expenses list of yours, to include a professional photographer for your big day. Now, I know very well that your best friend has a “professional D-SLR” and can take pictures of your wedding day for completely free, but like everything in life, you get what you pay for (or in this case what you “free” for).

You see, a pro knows what he/ she is doing right from some suave couple shots to capturing the moments beautifully under any lighting conditions, to the perfect exposure, composition, and framing, the pro knows exactly what he is doing rather than that “friend” of yours who is still fiddling with finding that “perfect” setting in his latest, flashy new D-SLR. Now, when somene hires me to cover their wedding, it is not because they have known me for years or only because they know my work. It is also because of the fact that working as a pro for years has made me learn and understand a lot of finer details which an amateur doesn’t quite know. For example, a pro knows exactly how to manipulate the existing lights (whether it be natural or artificial) and reflective surfaces in ways that you could never imagine.

Photography as a profession, for me is almost an obsession. When I go to cover a wedding, I always look for different view-points, different ways of capturing the same old cliched scenes which every wedding photographer creates. It’s like transforming what you would’ve thought to be just another normal, may be even unremarkable setting into almost a photo-studio sort of an environment, but never losing the important candid moments for which I am hired for in the first place. Since I majorly shoot candids, I have access to places where a traditional photographer generally doesn’t, and these moments are when I, as a photographer do not quite have the time to think of what the exposure should be, what the framing must be. It all comes with years of shooting; just looking at the light inside a room makes it click in my mind instantly, what the aperture/ shutter combination should be and what to do so that I can get the exact image that I had visualized in the first place.

Staying on top of the new technology in this digital ae has its own set of challenges, one that takes a lot of professional comittment and ofcourse a lot of expense as well. Be it wedding photography, or even photography in general is a very equipment-intensive business and all this equipment is expensive. So, it really does feel bad when the client negotiates time and again, till the time it is almost like working for free! I sincierly feel that if we, as photographers are giving our 100% to each assignment that we are hired for, it is also the client’s responsibility to see to it that we are paid for the job that we are doing in the right way.

Now, I am not someone to charge exhorbitant amounts for the weddings that I cover, but it is important for the clients to understand the entire wedding does not end with just the end of the wedding. It goes on well beyond the wedding day, with the post-processing of pictures, choosing the right pictures, and then working on those for days on and upto 18 hours in a day.

Please understand, professional photographers, like any other artists or business owners need to spend money to make money. When you hire them, you are actually helping them pay for their investment and in return you are getting memories for your lifetime; memories which you’d cherish for the entire life. And when you give this huge responsibility to your “friend”, cousin, or someone who has almost next to zilch experience in shooting weddings, you are taking a huge risk for a few thousand bucks that could make the difference between you looking at the photos and crying out of disgust and tears flowing down those beautiful cheeks out of nostalgia.

Think about it…

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