It breaks my heart every single time when I hear from the bride-to-bes coming back to inform me that they have a friend or relative who decided to help them out by offering them free photography services at their wedding. It’s unfortunate, but also undeniable that most of them who offer free services will almost always fall short of expectations. I understand this might be a very bold claim to make, but over the past years I have heard enough stories about the brides regretting not hiring a professional photographer, and I’m hoping this article will help the future bride-to-bes to make a decision they will not regret – whether they decide to hire a professional, or allow the friend to photograph their wedding.

Common Misconception #1: My friend recently bought a professional camera, so he can take pictures for us at our wedding.
I still remember when my wife bought my first DSLR camera and I brought it to our honeymoon trip to Japan. Looking back at what I did with a full year of experience playing with the camera, I have admit that I didn’t know what I was doing. Learning how to operate the camera alone as an amateur is often confusing enough for those who are used to the point-and-shoot cameras. Most people are confused when they buy their first DSLR camera and overwhelmed, and a lot of them have in mind that the more money they invest into their camera body, the better the pictures will be. What they fail to realize is that the professional line of cameras often times have a much steeper learning curve and require more photography knowledge to use. Often times the mid-range DSLR cameras are actually inferior when you shoot with Auto mode comparing to the advanced point-and-shoot cameras on the market today. I simply don’t think it’s a good idea to have your wedding photography simply experimenting with their camera at your wedding.

Common Misconception #2: Professional wedding photography is expensive and I’m on a budget. I cannot afford professional photography.
Let’s face it. Weddings cost a lot of money, and nothing seem to come cheap when it comes to weddings. Consider almost everything else of your wedding only happens in one day while your pictures will last a lifetime, wedding photography really isn’t all that expensive. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can always try to negotiate with the wedding photographer of your choice for a custom package. Instead of getting the works, maybe you could get that beautiful wedding album after your wedding or simply reduce the hours of coverage. It’s better to have a good professional covering your wedding for a shorter period of time than having some other guy with a camera for a whole day.

Common Misconception #3: My friend has done some photography work before and trying to build his/her portfolio.
This I have to say is a maybe situation. If whoever offered you free wedding photography services actually is a full time professional wedding photographer, then consider yourself lucky! But you may want to ask a few questions before you reply with a firm yes – How many weddings has this photographer done in the past? Have you seen some of his/her sample work? Does the photography style speak to me, or do I like his/her style of photography? Will this photographer bring spare equipment? and most importantly, can I trust this person for my wedding?
Also, you may also wish to consider whether you actually want to allow this friend or family member of yours who is offering you the photography service to actually be invited as a guest and enjoy the day, rather than actually working to photograph your wedding. In reality, I do not take my camera out and shoot like I do at work when I am invited as a guest at a wedding; and when I’m hired as the photographer, regardless of whether I know the couple or not, I automatically assume that I don’t show up as a guest.

Seasoned professional wedding photographers spend a lot of time and effort to work with different lighting conditions and different scenarios. We use our experience to working with what’s throw at us and maintain the level of work we do, documenting the wedding day and creating precious timeless pictures. Having so many things going on on a wedding day, while you spend all the effort putting everything together at your wedding, while knowing that you can count on your photographer so that you can go ahead and enjoy one of the biggest days in your life is simply priceless.

Your wedding photographs will last a life time, and you’ll pass them on for generations to come. They will continue to remind you that happiest day of your life for many years to come. Good luck, and I hope you all will enjoy your wedding pictures like my wife and I do! =)

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