What Separates a Professional from an Amateur Wedding Photographer?
Updated: Mar 5
Professional vs. Amateur: What is the difference?
Weddings are costly events, and it can feel like photography and videography are just two more items on the long list of things demanding a percentage of your wedding budget.
You might receive an offer from, or know, a friend or family member that has a brand new camera to take your wedding photos, and you might be thinking: "Wonderful! I'll save a bunch of money and be able to put it to other parts of the wedding."
It's certainly understandable that you want to be loyal to your friend or family member, and saving money is never a bad thing, so what do when you want to hire a friend or amateur wedding photographer but are concerned with the quality of your wedding photos or video?
What does a professional do that your friend or family member can't and why should you consider hiring a professional to capture your wedding day? After all, the decision cannot be changed after the special day.
There are many photo and video studios out there; however, the truth of the matter is that maybe the professional route isn't the best option for you.
What is an Amateur?
An amateur photographer is someone that has a full-time job that has nothing to do with shooting photos or video, or someone that is retired. They may have a passion or their hobby is photography or videography. If they do charge you for their work, it is likely to be very inexpensive. They may be a good photographer and have won an award, or not, it doesn't matter to them, their livelihood is not based on their photography or videography.
What is a Professional?
A professional photographer is someone that runs their business, whether as an individual or a group, in the sole efforts of creating captivating photos and video. A professional photographer will usually own multiple higher-end cameras and lenses and know how to use them. They are usually trained and experienced in multiple areas of photography, including: corporate photography, event photography, product photography, and portraits.
A professional photographer will also have their business insurance and contracts with terms and conditions in place and ready to go. They will have upfront pricing listed either on their website or in their contract.
Lets delve into some of the pros and cons with each option:
The Pros of Hiring a Friend to be Your Wedding Photographer
You're saving a lot of money as their cost is little or nothing.
You're saving time trying to find the perfect photographer for your special day.
You won't need to get acquainted with someone new.
You will likely get the photos right away as they may not spend a lot of time editing the photos.
You will probably get a lot more photos, maybe even all the photos they took, on a flash drive or dvd
You can talk to your friend openly about your expectations for the day and feel free to send them example photos.
They will likely have no time limit for the day and take photos from morning until dancing ends in the evening.
The Cons of Hiring a Friend to be Your Wedding Photographer
They don't have proper business insurance in place. If anything were to happen to them or your guests, they would not be covered.
They may not have much experience in directing people or arranging groups of people to create pleasing photographs.
They may not have confidence in speaking with strangers and re-arranging people if something doesn't look good in a photo.
The photographs may not pop or have the wow factor you are looking for
They may not put the time in or have the knowledge to edit the photos they took
The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Photographer for Your Wedding Day
Years of experience at weddings in your area
A confident personality and experience to deal with complicated situations weddings can present.
Experience at different venues and with varying numbers of guests, from large scale weddings to intimate celebrations with only a handful of guests
They have developed their own unique photography style.
They have business insurance in place in the event of anaccident
They have back up equipment in the event of a malfunction.
They work in tandem with the venue's staff to make sure everything goes according to plan.
The Cons of Hiring a professional Wedding Photographer
The cost will be a lot higher than going with an amateur.
You will have to build trust with a stranger.
It will take time to find the photographer that is right for you
You will need to wait for your photographs to be professionally edited.
When in Doubt
If you are still unsure whether a professional or amateur is the right choice for you, ask yourself one question: How confident are you that the photos you will receive will meet your expectations? If you doubt in any way that they will be breathtaking, natural-looking, and edited to a professional standard, don't feel pressured into booking with a friend or amateur photographer.
Cordero Productions is a professional wedding photo and video studio located in the LA area that specializes everything from destination and large-scale weddings to small celebrations with a handful of guests.