Do I Need A Professional Wedding Photographer?
Earlier this month I took a flight up to upstate New York to, for once, be an actual non-working guest at a wedding. There were conversations, a bomb dress on my part (truly, truly), and of course there were photos. Lots and lots of photos. And because it wasn’t an unplugged wedding, not all of the photos were from the photographers hired for the event. From what I did see, it didn’t seem as though anyone stood in front of the photographers often, with the one time I did witness people crowding in front of her, the photog effectively addressed them to move behind her (I felt your pain, girl). Clearly this particular wedding photographer didn’t mind people hanging behind her snapping photos that she arranged, and I’m unsure how she particularly feels about anything else so I won’t speak for her. From all the photos I saw being taken, a question did immediately come to mind. Should your wedding be unplugged? Is it best for you? Do photographers mind? And one of the most common questions: Do I need a professional wedding photographer?
What Are My Options?
During this particular wedding, I did notice that not only did the guests post photos of the couple and other aspects of the ceremony the same day, but filters were applied to most of them. Some were underexposed, some were blurry, others edited poorly, and a good deal of them were only of the guests themselves. It didn’t bother the bride or groom I don’t believe, but scrolling through the many pics taken by phones made me come to a realization. What if these were the only photos they had? What if they were relying on their guests to document their day and these snapshots were the outcome? It isn’t a far off thought for a photographer to cringe at the idea of important moments not being captured, but that’s from the perspective of someone who truly genuinely cares about memories. For the couple who doesn’t see the value in professional photography, they may not “get it” until the day is over and it’s too late. Any period of time can pass and bring on that sinking feeling that a wedding’s day memories have slipped through their fingers.
And with the upbeat timing of wedding days, that time period could easily be the very next second.
So, if you’re someone who isn’t interested in professional photography, give it another thought. Do you need a professional wedding photographer? Maybe not. Just keep in mind there are photographers who specialize in elopements, courthouse ceremonies, destination weddings, and any niche you could possibly consider yourself fitting into. Not only will their focus be mainly YOU and YOUR vision, their expertise is unrivaled by any Uncle Bob or guest who feels their camera is good enough.
Remember, relying on your guests could leave you with low-res images, with the one filter on IG that isn’t flattering to you, and more photos of guests alone or with one person of the couple, instead of sweet moments of you.
Should My Wedding Be Unplugged?
If it doesn’t bother you that photos from your big day could (well, definitely will) be posted all over social media before your wedding day is over, then it isn’t necessary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with people making memories at your wedding!
A quick tip though: Many photographer absolutely hate when guests get in the way of them doing their job.
Attempting to get those perfect shots of a bride coming down the aisle, just to have a number of guests leaning out to get a photo is certainly frustrating. And imagine how disappointing that magical photo will be with multiple phones crowding the shot (or sadly, even blocking parts of your face)?!
A solution to this could be to make your ceremony unplugged (no electronic devices) and allow their return once the ceremony is over. This way, guests can snap away with you and other guests without obstructing any of your important shots. Be sure to talk with your photographer about whether they offer discounts for having an unplugged wedding (yes, some do because it’s such a relief, tbh)! Also, go over their contract in regards to if a guest does obstruct a view for the must have shots. Unfortunately, because it’s a guest and not you the wedding couple, there typically are additional costs to do the heavy editing required to remove the person or object. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you go the route of guest snapshot takers or if you want a professional wedding photographer. The day is all about you and your partner, so your desires and wishes are what matter the most.