A few weeks back I was interviewed by Swedish broadsheet Svenska Dagbladet about the advantages of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding instead of your friend, uncle, nephew and their newly acquired SLR camera (more than likely with a poor quality zoom lens with a terrible aperture rating).
To explain; the lower the aperture rating is on a lens, the darker it can be when you shoot (the sun has to set at some point on your wedding day. Do you really want a flash firing into your face for the remains of the celebrations?). I shoot primarily on the best available lenses, with an aperture of 1.2. Those lenses are not included in the amateur camera packages on the high street and are even out of reach for many professionals, costing much more than many cameras. The quality you get from a lens of that caliber compared (the amateur, the semi-pro and many professional) lenses is considerable. And it gets worse…the line of optics must be considered. There can be a massive difference between two lenses that to the untrained eye appear identical (except for the price tag of course)
Back to the camera body again. What range of ISO can it reasonably work with? Will your pictures look amazing after sunset? I know, I’m getting all technical on your ass now, but it’s my job to be like this… so you don’t have to. Good eh?
Secondly, having a swanky digital SLR does NOT make an amateur a better photographer than one with an IPhone and some funky apps. Years of practice and a well developed understanding of the craftsmanship of image making is what really matters. A fancy DSLR doesn’t. It took me years to build up the kind of equipment I’ve described, and an equal number of years to learn how to use it.
Let me spin it around. Do you ever hear anyone say – “Oh you have the newest version of Excel installed? You must be a fantastic accountant!” Or, “I see your laptop is very impressive, that must mean you can design me a brand spanking new website?” Funny how no one never makes those leaps…
So anyway, I can sit all day and rant about this, but what is important for you, is to consider the huge amount you’re actually loosing in the long term to save a little money in the short term.
Your wedding is a once in a lifetime experience, and to have it documented by someone who knows their craft should be as important as the ring you wear. Those are the only 2 items that remain. The ring and the photographs. Would you settle for anything less than gold and diamonds? If the answer is no to that question, you’ll know you’ll need a skilled photographer to do the job for you. Just ask uncle Bob to leave the camera behind and join in on the festivities instead. It’ll be worth it.