So it is that time of year again, Christmas! You have spent a little more on your wedding than you planned and Christmas had dipped in to the slightly diluted wedding fund. Then Uncle Bob over his glass of sherry says… ” You don’t need a photographer, I have an SLR”

Now, you have seen some of the photos he took on the prom at Brighton last year and you even saw a shot of your niece that was really sweet and having eaten and drank too much you say… “that would be lovely”

There is your first mistake; It is fantastic when friends and family offer to help with the wedding preparations and how could you possibly say no when it is going to save you over £1000? BUT before you say yes read on…

1. THE BEST SHOTS: So uncle Bob took 1 lovely shot of your niece, was it luck or skill and how many did he take to get this shot? Even though Bob has converted to a good DSLR he is likely to think inside the box. How many group shots would he get, 2, 3 even? How many would a pro get to make sure that everyone is in focus, the light is correct and no one is blinking 10-20, then you get the 1 or 2 perfect shots that you need.

2. ARTISTIC IMAGES: Uncle Bob has got some great photos from Brighton Peer but did the beach huts move? Did he lie on the floor to get the best angle or run to catch up with them when they moved a bit faster than predicted? Being a professional is not only about seeing the great shots but shooting them from the best angle and running to get you when you walk back down the isle a bit too fast! Most photographers have not only studied in the art of ‘seeing’ a photograph but how to shoot their vision in the best possible way.

3. BACK UP EQUIPMENT: Uncle Bob has 1 DSLR? maybe a compact just in case? Most professional photographers have matching quality back ups to their main equipment costing thousands of pounds. They have more batteries than they could ever need and more card space then they could ever shoot on. How many cards does Bob have and what happens when one of his batteries fails? When you book a pro you are also booking piece of mind. Every one makes mistakes, as a pro it is being ready for them and being able to fix them in quick smart time on a wedding day so that nothing is missed or disturbed.

4. WEDDING KNOWLEDGE AND PREEMPTING: Uncle Bob can be discreet, I know, but does he know the rules? No flash in church, where are you aloud to stand in the venue, should he really click as you say the words ‘I do’? Who arrives first? Where should he be and when? What happens when he gets lost on the way to the church and then stuck behind a tractor? There are a million things to remember when shooting a wedding and this is why the pros are pros. We talk to the vicar before the wedding, we know schedule or we make it our job to find out and not only do we do a dummy run to the church we have SAT NAV!

5. BACK UP: So Uncle Bob has shot your wedding, the camera card goes in his back pocket where he must remember to take it out before auntie Em puts them in the wash. He downloads them on to his 6 year old laptop (assuming it wont fail) and empties his card for his next wildlife shoot. What happens when the card goes in the wash or his old laptop fails? BACK UP All pros have backup in fact we don’t sleep at night until your full wedding is backed up in several places so NOTHING short of the end of the world could delete those photos.

6. POST PROCESSING: Ok so Uncle Bob has worked his magic (or as much magic as he can muster at 72) and has presented you with a disc of images, you rush to get them home for a look (assuming the disc works) and you have a CD full of wedding shots. But they are all as you would expect – unprocessed. This is something that you never really thought about, 1 photo is much the same as another isn’t it? Until you have a disc of shots with eyes shut, blurred images, badly lit photos, your first dance missing (Uncle Bob… “ah they didn’t really come out very well”) and the disappointment continues. The biggest part of our jobs as pros is post production work, we crop, we turn black and white, we use magic in Photoshop and quite simply although we have a great set of images we make them FANTASTIC!

So there are a few reasons to change your answer to; “That would be lovely but…” Use your photographer as an excuse (we don’t mind) and the chances are you HAVE already paid a non refundable deposit!

Shooting a wedding is HARD believe me and the chances are after scouring the wedding mags you are going to want the best possible photos you can afford and in this instance your really do get what you pay for!

Katherine x

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