Why you need a professional wedding photographer

Wedding Advice


WEDDING ADVICE |13/05/2020

Norfolk Wedding Photographer

You’re getting married – YAY!

So you’ve fallen in love, got a gorgeous ring on your finger and you are about to take the leap and start planning for one of the most important days of your life! But suddenly you panic… There is so much to do, and I can guarantee you’re thinking, “where do I start?”.

I often hear the words “wedding photography is really expensive.” or “as soon as you say the word ‘wedding’ the price jumps up!” But there is a lot more to being a wedding photographer than just “taking a few photos for the day.” Choosing a professional wedding photographer is one of, if not the most important decision you will make for your wedding. Because after the day you’ve spent months or, even years planning for has passed, the cake has been eaten and the flowers are past their best, all you have left to remember the day with are your wedding photos (or video if that’s also on your list!).

In this post, you will find out what it really entails to be a wedding photographer. Including what justifies the investment you make when choosing a professional instead of a ‘family friend’. 

Some people think wow wedding photography is really expensive! When the answer is no, not at all when you take all the skills, time and costings into consideration. 

Firstly, we have to have top quality equipment, and by this I don’t just mean one camera. We need to have at least two, preferably three or more camera bodies and several lenses in case one fails. The chances of this happening during a wedding day are highly unlikely, but with technology, anything is possible! This is why any pro photographer will always be prepared with back up equipment including flashes, batteries, light stands and, memory cards (the good ones aren’t cheap). The list is endless and that’s just for the day!

Secondly, it requires a huge amount of skill to work in all manner of conditions. These include good and bad weather. If the heavens suddenly decide to open on your big day and you’d planned to have your group photos outside, then your photographer needs to work quickly and efficiently to seek out a new indoor location, that is also well lit. If not, here is where flash comes in. We need to know how to use external flashes to create a soft yet natural light, without blinding your guests or creating harsh shadows. Now that wouldn’t be very flattering!

bride and groom driving off in old school car on their wedding day in Suffolk

Come rain or shine: It also takes years of education, practise and skill to confidently work during any season and with the ever-changing light throughout a wedding day. Every bride wishes for sunshine on their special day, but during the group photos, this can actually cause issues. Nobody wants the sun in their eyes forcing them to squint and look uncomfortable – this wouldn’t result in a nice image. So again, we use our knowledge to check a location either on the day (if time allows it) or at an earlier date, making sure we know the all best places to shoot.

bride and groom at golden hour in oxnead hall gardens

Hindsight is a wonderful thing: These skills enable us to foresee an event before it even happens, giving us a split second to get our camera ready and in the correct settings, to shoot it. Confidently using our cameras in ‘Manual Mode’ is another skill required so that the camera captures the shot – exactly how we want it! This is a hugely important factor, as events like “the sealing of a kiss” during the ceremony, only happen once. Knowing how to successfully document these moments, really highlights the difference between a hobbyist and a pro.

There are then things like insurance. And not just for the extensive amount of equipment, but a professional photographer must have public liability and professional indemnity as well. Let’s say, for example a flash stand fell over and damaged part of the venue. This is very unlikely but indicates why insurance is so important.

It is more than just one day’s work: You may have found a photographer online via our website or social media platforms, a blog post, recommended supplier list or even in a magazine or business card. Most of these forms of advertising cost money too. Website’s for example include running costs, such as hosting and a domain name, and require continuous updating. Print advertising doesn’t come cheap either, although this is becoming a thing of the past! It takes a lot of hard work and effort to even get a place within the first page of Google. We’re constantly battling against millions of other users for the top spot and then there is social media advertising on top of that!

The Before: Prior to the day, there are quotes, contracts, back and forth emails, calls, face to face discussions at either the couple’s house or venue and quite often a Pre-Wedding photo-shoot. The day before we need to be making sure that all batteries are charged, memory cards are clear and everything is packed and ready to go! The ability to travel to the venue, a vehicle, tax, insurance and running costs. The electricity to charge the batteries and edit the images. When these are all considered – maybe it doesn’t sound so expensive?

couple kissing on their pre-wedding photoshoot on the grass next to a horse

During: A wedding day is often 8-12 hours, plus journey time, but believe me it goes fast! One of my favourite parts is the constant fast paced buzz of a wedding day. I like being busy, and often I forget to eat as I’m so engrossed in capturing the day. (Which just shows how much fun I’m having, as I really love my food!). It involves constantly being on our feet and carrying heavy equipment around with us for a long period of time. We don’t usually get a break until the wedding breakfast, which is later in the day. It requires being physically and mentally switched on, to be prepared for the next event.

You will see most professional photographers using two cameras during a wedding day. This is because we use different lenses to shoot different angles, create different effects and some like to have the ability to zoom. And when we do take the shot, we have a back-up memory card, in both cameras so that every image is saved twice – just in case!

The after: The wedding and pre-wedding images all have to be carefully selected and individually edited, which takes several days’ work and the need for a powerful computer and editing software to be able to cope with hundreds of images at a time. Not forgetting a backup computer just in case one breaks. We also need external hard drives to store all of these images in case for whatever reason, you lose yours. Again, these don’t come cheap! When selecting your photographer, you may have chosen us for our particular style.’ This is unique to each individual photographer and involves a high standard of editing and making sure each image is consistent. The images must then be uploaded to an online gallery, and a USB box or album is designed, ordered and delivered to the photographer to be gift wrapped. Finally, the photos are added to the USB, before being uniquely packaged and delivered to you. The presentation process also takes time, and a significant amount of detail is involved to give you that WOW factor when you receive your images.

The Risk: Not missing any moments takes large amounts of skill. And when you only get one day to nail it, as a bride or groom you need to really be able to trust your photographer. I’ve heard so many people say they regret not having a professional capture their day and are too embarrassed to show their photos to anyone…

Summary: So not only are you paying for high quality “Instagrammable” photos, you are also paying for the skills, time and costs involved in being a professional wedding photographer… (And of course, the saviour of not having that awkward encounter with Uncle Bob when showing you the photos, for missing the first kiss and over exposing the group shots!). Remember, these photos are all you have left to show off your perfect day – something to show your grandchildren that will last for years to come.

So if there is one decision you make, please, please do invest in a professional wedding photographer to document the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, the way it deserves to be captured!

black and white confetti shot at Tudor barn, belstead in Suffolk