My future sister in law is not a professional photographer but she has been taking photos for years, she knows all about the different lighting and effects and all of that and she has a camera that takes incredible pictures. She has offered to do our wedding photos for free (woo hoo! don't you love that word?) but I guess I am just a little hesitant after seeing the amazing photos on some of the wedding websites. I am also concerned that she won't get to enjoy the time, but she would love doing the pictures, it's totally her and she assures me that she would be completely content in her own little world.
Do you regret not having a professional for your pics? Did you miss out on the photojournalistic effects or are you completely happy with them?
I just don't want to be disappointed, but $1000 for the cheapest photographer I could find and be happy with versus free is a huge difference! I could definitely put that money to a better use.
I want to start by saying that our wedding was a really important day for us. We brought together our nearest and dearest and planned a big event that was focused on connection, community, commitment, and fun.
But we acknowledged at the beginning of the planning process that it wasn't the most important day of our lives, or even the most important day of our relationship. Acknowledging this up front took us off the hook. We didn't feel pressured and stressed to create the ultimate day.
The irony of feeling like you have to plan the "happiest day of your life" is that you end up feeling completely stressed and anxious as the day unfolds. You worry that it won't live up to your expectations and then the day "flies by." You're left to relive it with photography and videography.
We just wanted to create a really meaningful and memorable experience. And we documented it with photographs of three friends who functioned as "designated photographers" and the rest of our friends and family who uploaded their photos to a centralized flickr account.
We went this route for several reasons:
- We didn't want to spend a small fortune on one day. There are lots of good causes out there in need of money (including a down payment on our first house!).
- I often find professional wedding photographers annoying. I've interacted with lots of them at friends' weddings over the years. They often choreograph situations in order to get the best shot. Or they are in your face when you're having the most fun in order to capture the action. (Of course I'm not saying every professional photographer is like this! It's definitely possible to find a cool one.)
- We wanted to limit our wedding to our closest friends and family. The only outside vendors were Cathy and Cory, the owners of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge where we held the reception. We spent our 7-month planning time building a relationship with them, so by the time the wedding rolled around, they actually felt like family. (Of course, some people do form friendships with their photographers, too.)
- We have never hired a professional photographer for other important events in our lives and never plan to. College graduation, birthday parties, the birth of our first child--we are fine with all of these things being captured by an amateur's click. Our wedding didn't seem any different. In fact, we were afraid that hiring a professional photographer might make our wedding feel like a show.
For us, we wanted to have lots of pictures that we could look back at, reminisce with, and share with people who were unable to attend the wedding. That's pretty much it. In the end, we have over 2,000 photos collected from our designated photographers and our friends and family. That works for us.
The only time I have even a modicum of self-doubt is when I see all the beautiful wedding pictures by professionals posted on the web. But then I remind myself that a wedding is not a competition. It's an incredibly personal thing. We all have to plan the very best wedding for us.
When I look back at my own wedding photos, they are beautiful to me because I experience all the feelings I had while it was happening.
Readers, please chime in with your own insight into this situation: Are you going with a professional photographer? Why or why not?
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