Why is Professional Wedding Photography Important?

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Why is Professional Wedding Photography Important?

Well that’s a really really good question. I posed that question on Facebook to my friends and received a few really good answers.

All the people quoted in this article are people are not professional photographers (unless mentioned otherwise), but they are real people that appreciate what it takes to have beautiful images.

This was my favorite answer:

“It is a visual representation of the happiest moment in your life. The picture of a truly unbridled joy that is faked in so many other photos. Pictures of your wedding day are what other photos of you strive to be: you with a real kool-aid smile.” – Ryan

Ryan happens to be a groom from a wedding I shot last year. He and his bride got married in a beautiful venue called Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I loved the photos I captured for them (and so did they!).  It was also quite a snazzy wedding not only because all of the little details they included in their day, but because it was also complete with a coffee bar!

This leads me into….

What makes a professional photographer?
The easy answer: Someone who makes a living taking photos and is involved with a legitimate business (pays taxes, registered with the state, etc). If the government doesn’t see them as a business, than they are not professional. They should probably own a camera as well.

The extended answer: all of the above of course. But it’s more than that. Like any profession, a person should attend training and know their tools of trade inside and out.  These classes are important because they help keep a photographer up to date on the latest photography trends and technology.A camera should be an extension of the photographer’s hands, face, and imagination. As a professional myself, I continue my training and knowledge of the industry by attending seminars and classes. I take models out and just shoot. Why? Because I enjoy what I do and every time I click the shutter on my camera I become a better photographer.

A professional photographer should have professional grade equipment (translation, top of the line) that should have regular maintenance (translation, at the very least annually). If you needed the tires rotated on your car, are you going to take it to the guy who puts it up on cinderblocks in his driveway or the guy that secures it in a lift, and has a team of trained guys attend your vehicle? I can equivocate it to going to the doctor or going to the dentist, but then it starts to really hit close to home.

A professional photographer does not participate in the “shoot and burn” theory of photography. What does that mean? It means someone shows up, takes the photos then burns them to a CD. No thought into composing the image, no editing, just clicking the shutter and burning them away. Most of the time they won’t even archive your photos for you. This type of person does not care about your event or for your photos or even you for that matter. They want your $$$ at any cost. This type of person also doesn’t respect other professionals in the industry because they are under mining everyone and giving a bad name to other photographers.Fantastic Professional Photographers should:

  1. Professional photographers have legitimate business aka NOT hobbyists
  2. Professional photographers continue their education and training
  3. Professional photographers only shoot with high grade equipment with regular maintenance
  4. Professional photographers do not “shoot and burn”
  5. Professional photographers charge professional prices because they respect other professionals
  6. Professional photographers love what they do, but they can separate work from play

So, why is professional wedding photography important?

1. Your wedding photos should compliment your wedding day with astounding images. Not only should these images be breathtaking (quality and quanitiy wise), but they should be images that tell YOUR story.

Anyone can pick up a camera and take a picture, but are those images really going to reflect you? Hiring a professional, such as Uncorked Studios, will only enhance the beauty of your day.

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Let your photographer capture all the moments.

I always think of it as capturing the moments that we either didn’t see or to help us not forget them. A photographer’s job is to help you remember the beauty of your special days.  -Becky

A professional photographer can take the moments from your day and put them into pictures. A fantastic professional photographer can create photos that are not cookie cutter (a formula one uses for all bridal couples); they really consider you when they create. In other words, they write a new formula for every wedding they photograph.

2. Wedding Photography can be $$$.
Yes, yes it can, BUT it’s an investment in a lasting memory.

Many people say that its the only thing you truly get to keep during the wedding. Food… ends up in the pooper, flowers die, dry out, get trashed, music is momentary… photos are the only thing that you get to keep, and treasure. It can be sort of an image Delorian that can take you back in time to remember that day, in that time, with that person. – Martha

If you picked up a cheap looking album and flipped through it and saw sub-par photography, what would you think the wedding was like? When you look at low quality photography, it doesn’t matter how much money was spent on the venue or the gown or the flowers, because it all looks kind of “meh.” If you put all the money and effort into being beautiful, let the photos really capture all the beauty of the day. Splurging a little extra on the photography can really go a long, long way.

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A beautiful album is an investment in your future.
Here’s a great comparison. Great wedding photography is like putting a new door on an older house; it’s the first thing everyone notices and really bumps up the curb appeal. It also makes everyone want to see the inside of the house!
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Beautiful Photography will really enhance your day.
3. Uncle Billy-Bob Joe is the official family photographer. Well, I mean, he dabbles in photography at the family reunions. He and his Canon Rebel are going to save me (the bridal couple) a butt-ton of money.

Most little girls plan their weddings from the time the are old enough to know what weddings are… It’s hard to believe it’s the fairy tale event you’ve always dreamed of if all the pictures look like crap… -Kelly

Having a friend or family member as the sole photographer at your wedding is a really really bad idea.

Pictures taken by family are a great addition to your professional photos but the photographer is there to make sure all those special moments are captured with the right exposures. – Sandy

It’s not fair to you to have to try to salvage your wedding photos after your big day when Uncle Billy-Bob Joe forgets to adjust his flash settings and the beautiful white wedding gown (in which you’ve spent thousands of dollars on) photographs as a giant white blob because your Uncle doesn’t know the proper way to expose whites with his onboard camera flash.

I know some people ONLY have amateur shots from their wedding. I couldn’t imagine being in that situation. A good photographer will make even the littlest moment into a beautiful momento instead of a bunch of snapshots. -Carol

At the reception Uncle Billy-Bob Joe misses taking pictures of the cake cutting because he’s in line for the 5th time at the open bar and his camera is back at his table. Next thing you know, Uncle Billy-Bob Joe is trying to pull the garter off your leg with his teeth instead of your groom. Hmmm, cute.

I’m not trying to insult Uncle Billy-Bob Joe because he can probably takes some really nice pictures. All I’m saying is be fair to him as well. Being a professional photographer comes with responsibilities. Allow me to take on the responsibility of getting beautiful wedding photos and allow your Uncle to go enjoy the ceremony and reception as a guest.

I don’t think it can be said better than what my own wedding photographer said when I asked her why Wedding Photography is important:

I think it’s just important to examine yourself and be honest with yourself. Spend your money on your priorities. Some people just don’t or won’t value an album full of gorgeous photos. – Andree

My husband and I budgeted and spent the most on our wedding photographer (thanks Andree!). It was a good thing we did that because not one of our guests brought a camera to our wedding. Wait, I lied. My brother took a picture of me with his cell phone and our DJ took a photo for his website. If we had relied on our guests to be our sole photographers, we’d be highly disappointed because we’d have no photos.
Photo from the DJ's website. Thank goodness these aren't the only photos we have from our wedding!
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Cell Picture off my brother's phone from my wedding in 2009. Flattering, right?

If you don’t want gorgeous photos and lasting memories of your wedding day, spend your money somewhere else. It’s okay if that is what is important to you and your partner. But just remember, you’ll only have the fleeting memory of the groom punching Uncle Billy-Bob Joe out because he felt you up at your wedding.

4. Hakuna Matata. It means no worries. Yep. The last thing you need to worry about is “wtf is my photographer doing?!” I’ve attended weddings (as a guest) where I observed the photographer wore 4-inch stiletto heels. She had on a tight fitting, low cut dress, that was fitted all the way down her her ankles. Her wardrobe choices limited her abilities to capture the day as it happened. I heard many of the guests during the ceremony point out how tacky the photographer was dressed instead of paying attention to the bridal couple. I observed the same photographer standing at the back of the church in one spot taking photos because she couldn’t do much else with her chosen attire. A professional photographer’s wardrobe should never interfere with the wedding day!

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Good thing he wore the right shoes to help get this shot! It was one of the bride's favorite shots too.

A normal wedding for me involves extremely sore muscles the next day and having to send my clothes to the dry cleaner. Clothes to dry cleaner because usually I lay on the ground to get a couple really kick-butt photos. I also wear flats because I always have to be a step ahead of the bridal couple (literally sometimes I am running to get ahead of them!). Only people in movies can successfully run in heels and those heel-running-people get paid a lot of money because they are professionals. At one wedding I photographed, once the ceremony was over, the minister came over to me and shook my hand. He paid me a compliment (which is one of my most favorite compliments ever).

“You were like a ninja out there! It was nice because I hardly noticed you.”

This meant a lot to me because I was standing close to the couple for the entire ceremony, but far enough away where I was unnoticed by the minister (and trust me, he deals with many photographers). I had close up photos of the bridal couple’s hands and their faces with the whole church and guests as their backdrop. And the minister didn’t even notice me. I dress appropriately so I have the ability to be all over the place and not be noticed.

A fantastic professional will also know when to help the groomsmen fold their pocket kerchiefs into squares, or when to give the mother-of-the-bride a ride to the reception hall because the limo is late. That same professional will know how to bustle any type of wedding gown when the bridesmaids have one too many before the reception starts. It’s talking to the groom and telling him that even though he forgot the wedding rings his bride will still marry him that day because she loves him. Yep, all true stories experienced by yours truly. Paying for a reputable professional will ensure you, the bridal couple, can focus on each other. And cake. Everyone always needs more wedding cake.

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We always, always, need more cake!

5. Your wedding photos are a family heirloom. 

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Photos from my in-law's 1969 wedding. Hard to believe their wedding album only holds 45 photos!

I know people who consider albums and images to be the first real statement of their new family together. Sort of like the first family treasure. -Martha

When you get married you are starting a new family together with your significant other. It’s the first memory the pair of you will create as a new family. I recently pulled out my parents wedding photos from the 1980’s. Besides the obvious things (hair, clothing, etc), the photos look like they were taken just yesterday. The color was in the prints was impeccable even after 29 years. They hired a professional photographer and to this day, I am thanking them for it.I like to sit down with my couples and help them pick out just the right album that they will treasure. I suggest to all my couples to pour themselves a couple glasses of wine, snuggle up on the couch, and pull their wedding album out at least once a year. If you think of how many times you will look at these photos over the years, the cost isn’t really a lot.

Its a sort of the language we use to tell others about our day further down the road. I remember being a young girl and looking a young woman’s wedding photos. There is something very special about it. My goal for my wedding photos was to be able to use them to “walk through the day” again down the road. I’m happy to say I got what I wanted. -Kristen

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Look at your album every year on your anniversary! It makes a really cute date night.

It would be unfortunate to pass down photos to your children that you “settled” on. You will always carry the knowledge that you can’t go back and redo your once-in-a-lifetime moments with a better photographer to capture those important memories.

People will need proof of how awesome my (or anyone’s) wedding was. So photos are invaluable. -Lidiya

5. Your wedding day is going to go by really really fast. Like, whoa. This goes back to the whole idea of hiring someone who knows how weddings work. A professional is trained to know what to expect before it happens on your wedding day. There will be so many moments that you will miss on your wedding day; not on purpose, but because so much goes on at a wedding!

Because, as everyone says, it really does go by so fast, and there’s no better way to capture each and every moment than with photographs. -Mindy

This also has to be said.

Because those shots of whiskey tend to catch up to you and give your brain a drubbing -Vesko

Trust me, it isn’t just the shots of whiskey that will give your brain a work out. There are a lot of important people showing up on your wedding day; most of those people you don’t see all that often and are there to see you and your betrothed. The music and the lights and the clothes and the food and the emotions and the people also take a toll on the ol’ noggin. By the end of the day, your brain is overwhelmed, whiskey or not.I had a bride message me and thank me for capturing footage of her Uncle wearing her shoes on his ears at the reception. She was thanking me because she didn’t see it during the wedding, but it gave her a huge laugh after the fact.

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It's all in the little details that help make-up your day.

6. Weddings are all about love and memories. Really. Here’s a quote I’d like to leave you with from a good friend of mine. He happens to be a photographer, but I call him (and I’m sure he’d agree) a master boat/regatta photographer, capturing all the action on the high seas! He recently tied the knot with a beautiful woman. The week leading up to their wedding was more than slightly bumpy. Remember Hurricane Irene?

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Their wedding didn't go exactly as planned, but their photos are beautiful!

Yeah, she devastated their church and reception venue. Both buildings were shut down for structural inspections. Their caterer had to be canceled because the kitchen was destroyed. Most of all, Hurricane Irene threatened to cancel the wedding entirely. But Jeremiah and Sarah didn’t cancel. They changed pretty much every detail at the last moment. Their wedding was beautiful. Was it the reception hall of their choice? Probably not. Was it their first food choice? Probably not. In fifteen years when they tell the story of how everything went wrong right before the wedding day to their children, they will laugh. But if you look at the photos from their wedding, you can see how much they love each other, that is what a professional photographer can capture.

After the day is over and all the stresses of planning are past the only thing you have left are the memories of the wedding day. And nothing reminds you more of the important things from that day than the photographs… You get to see all the smiles and all the moments that you might have missed in the hustle and bustle of the day. And sometimes a reminder of a little moment you might have missed. Thats why for us the wedding photographer was the most important thing. – Jeremiah

Why did I write this? I wrote this because I care about your wedding. Yep, I really really do. I want you to be 100% positively happy with your decision to use Uncorked Studios, LLC as your wedding photographer.I love shooting weddings. I love being there for the moments. I love capturing a memory for a couple that is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I love, well, I love love.I hope this blog can help you with your decision to hire a professional photographer for your wedding. I really hope it’s a decision to hire us, but I also really hope this article helped inform you on why it’s important to capture your day with professional photographs. Cheers, – Jen

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