Why should you hire a professional wedding photographer?

wedding photography couple poses


You just got engaged and you’re so excited, and now it’s time to plan your wedding!

You already have Pinterest boards on Pinterest boards of floral arrangements, table designs, make up ideas, dress inspiration and wedding favors. And then you build your wedding budget… You quickly realize that those big, colorful, lush floral arrangements aren’t going to pay for themselves, amiright? Your mom is insisting that she invited ALL of her college sorority sisters because they are practically your aunties. So what goes on the chopping block? Invitation suites, photographers and hair and make-up artists. I can’t speak for the stationary designers or hair and make-up artists, but I can tell you why it’s important to pay for someone who specializes in wedding photography.

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Reason number one:

Wedding photographs are a keepsake.

The photographs of your wedding day are the ONLY tangible piece of your wedding day that you get to keep for the rest of your life. Flowers are going to wilt and die, the food is going to go bad or get thrown out, the dress gets stained and ripped and eventually it might not fit you anymore. Your bridesmaids will all go back to their hometowns, make-up gets washed off, and the invitations that hung on refrigerators for months of anticipation will get thrown in the trash (or preferably recycled).

Everything will become a memory. You get to keep your wedding ring, your husband and your wedding photos. I personally have mine ALL over my house. I have some in the living room, one in my office, and some in our bedroom. Every time I look at the images I am taken back to that day, where that specific moment was created and I smile, and feel happy. Honestly, it works a lot to Torin’s advantage, because I seem to always look at them when I’m irritated with him.

One of my most prized possessions is a photograph of my grandmother on her wedding day. I keep it framed and sitting on my desk so that I can look at and remind myself that each wedding photograph I take is unique, every wedding is created differently, each couple is special in their own way, and I am lucky enough to have the honor and privilege to capture the memories of wedding vows, tearful moms and witty champagne toasts.

Reason number two:

The best wedding photographers are calm under pressure.

I have literally had a wedding start 45 minutes late with NONE of the formal photos done (bride and groom, bridal party or family, which takes roughly an hour from start to finish), and I had 15 minutes of sunlight left. Did I panic? Yes, on the inside. Did I worry or stress out my bride and groom? HECK NO. I was like “everything is totally fine, we can make this work.” Myself and the other photographer came up with a plan: take the bride and groom first, and then do the bridal party and family portraits on the patio where there was enough ambient light from cocktail hour to make it look like it was still daylight.

I have solved so many problems in the last year alone, that I wonder why people DON’T go straight to professional wedding photographers. I’m going to throw a few problems that have popped up during my weddings, and how I solved them.

PROBLEM: The grooms boutonnière completely fell apart from a drunk groomsman manhandling it while trying to put it on the grooms lapel.

SOLUTION: I found the centerpieces, plucked a flower from it, got my floral tape (which I keep in my emergency kit) and taped that flower onto the boutonniere.

PROBLEM: A bridesmaid was helping the bride get into her shoes and her BRIGHT RED lip stain got on the front of the brides dress

SOLUTION: Tide to-go pen, it never leaves my camera bag. 

PROBLEM: The bride purchased not great quality earrings and the earring stud separated from the earring (this has actually happened to me twice).

SOLUTION: I have an emergency kit. It includes superglue (and so many other things).

PROBLEM:  Groomsman was so intoxicated he passed out during formals.

SOLUTION: A lot of internal eye-rolling, coffee, my end of the day Gatorade and a small cup of coffee helped him get through the rest of formals and the ceremony.

PROBLEM: Groomsman ordered the wrong size shoes… As in they were THREE sizes too big.

SOLUTION: I went to the hotel front desk and asked for newspaper. We stuffed them in the toe of his shoes and he wore them all day like a trooper. 

PROBLEM: We are ready for the bride to walk down the aisle and the DJ hasn’t shown up yet… The DJ NEVER SHOWED UP.

SOLUTION: I downloaded the song she wanted to walk down the aisle too and ran to my car to get my bluetooth speaker (because I have heard about this happening to other brides, I now carry one in my car to every wedding).

PROBLEM: The brides veil caught on fire. Yes, you read that correctly.

SOLUTION: I cut the veil in a way that you couldn’t see the charred bits.

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You guys. I can go on and on about how many problems I have had to fix throughout my career as a wedding photographer. I could probably write a four-hundred page novel about them all, but my point is, you think that your wedding day is going to go without a hitch and maybe it will. However, the chances are, there will be bumps, maybe nothing this dramatic, but if you don’t have somebody who is calm in a crisis and can think on their feet, panic will spread (I’m not joking, I’ve seen it happen before as a guest).

Reason number three:

We have the education and knowledge to back our service.

I personally went through four years of college to earn myself the degree of Bachelors in Photography. Half of my classes were about different types of editing techniques, and the other half were about photography. You know, how to frame an image, how to manually operate your high end, professional camera, how to use flashes, light meters, filters, and choosing the best lens for the each scenario and WHY it works well. 

It’s second nature for me to pay attention to the background, to make sure trees aren’t coming out of people’s heads, to make sure your body is positioned in a flattering way. My brain is engrained to see the very best angles and the prettiest sunlight patches. If there’s an ugly building in the background — poof, it’s not in your picture. Did you hate how red that red lipstick was? POOF, it’s a nicer, muted pink. There’s a stranger in the background? POOF, not anymore, stranger danger. 

Not to mention the countless books I’ve read, and online courses I’ve taken to further my education so that YOU can have the most magical and perfect experience with me from start to finish (which is hopefully never, because we’ve become besties). I read and re-read my college books (and always manage to learn something new), I listen to podcasts, I go to lectures and conferences, and I take a new online course every six months. Last year, the courses I took included the art of wedding photography, lessons on client communication, social media, and how to pose my couples. Even though I am already really good at being a photographer, continuing my education keeps me current on all things wedding photography and ensures that my future brides will get the ultimate photography experience on their wedding day from me.

Reason number four:

We have the experience.

I have photographed over 40 weddings since I graduated from college five years ago, and that doesn’t include the weddings that I photographed during my 6 month internship that were part of my college curriculum.  I know what to do in the rain, I know what to do in the snow, I know what to do if your groomsman passes out, I know what to do if your divorced parents refuse to be in the same room as each other. 

I have built dozens of wedding day timelines to keep my brides on track and organized throughout the day, and I have also attached hundreds of boutonnieres to grooms and groomsmen, because for whatever reason, NOBODY knows how to do this. I know when I need to use my inner cheerleader voice because none of the guests are doing what they are supposed to be doing, and I know how to politely speak to your great aunt who wants every single picture I have on her iPad. 

I know how to steam a dress without getting water splotches on it, and I can kinda tie a tie (I’m not very good - but I CAN do it). I know what to do if your paster gets your husband's name wrong (this literally has happened to me TWICE), and I know how to make my own light in a dark barn with high ceilings and no windows. A professional has the experience to take any bad situation and make it good, and any good situation and make it amazing.

So sure, you can save your money and hire your mom's friend who got a cool camera for Christmas in 2016 and have pictures from your wedding day. Or you could invest in a professional photographer, who runs a small business, with multiple cameras (you don’t want to know the price tag of), and a bag full of equipment for all of the days “what ifs.” Someone who lives to hear about your wedding day, who is excited to help you plan your wedding timeline, and scout the most scenic spot to create magical images, someone who can’t wait to see your honey’s expression during your first look.

For me personally, every bride I talk to, even if she doesn’t end up booking me, I am excited for. Getting married is a MAJOR life event; every girl I know has imagined it in her head at least once, some of us more than others (I’m talking to you Casey). And I love being apart of every second. I love that moment when the bride reads a handwritten note from her groom, I love when the father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time. I love when moms hug me at the end of the day to say “thank you for being here.” I love it all. If you choose someone who has passion for your wedding, you won’t get pictures from your wedding, you will have time pieces that you can hand down to your grand babies. My grandmothers wedding photo on my desk as is my favorite reminder to capture memories for future granddaughters.

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