Why Hire a Proven Professional Photographer: The War of Cost vs. Value

Bride throwing bouquet, shot by professional photographerThere will undoubtedly be no less than a million decisions you have to make in preparation of your wedding day. Each of them will require careful consideration, discussion, and research. All of those decisions will be of varying weight and difficulty, but through the movement of time and with great care, you will have made your selections. All of those decisions will lead to this incredible day, put together piece by piece through your hard work and with your perfect vision in mind; a tribute to the love you as a couple share and for all of your closest friends and family to experience. And to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime event, instead of a professional photographer, you choose a friend of a friend who has an old Canon and a funky camera strap.

Make no mistake; artists come in all degrees of experience and talent, and I mean no disrespect to those building portfolios and starting out. Every artist begins somewhere and with what they have available. Without dating myself too much, let’s just say that I have lived and learned through Polaroids and disposable cameras. But I digress. The point that I want to make is that if it is important to you to have the day memorialized through pictures, how do quality, experience, vision, value, and personality rank in your decision making?

Very early on in photography, it wasn’t commonplace to have your wedding or its preceding events photographed. There are various reasons for this, but somewhere in the late 1800’s, less bulky cameras and accessories started allowing people more mobility and the ability to take photographs more quickly. We started seeing stoicism turn into smiles as exposure times got quicker. We created more vivid products as we transitioned from black and white to color and later Kodachrome, and finally, digital photography. As time went on, more affordable options for photographers made wedding portraits more financially accessible for a wider range of couples. With the technology advancements over the last 180 years, almost everyone of us is capable of taking a picture with an inexpensive camera or cell phone. Which may be the reason that professional photographers aren’t seen as a valuable resource in some instances.

Of all the things a couple spends money on, why would photography not be worth it? You spend money on a dress, accessories, cake, party favors, music, bridal party gifts, flowers, decorations, venues, food, rehearsals, honeymoon, officiant, stylists, transportation, drinks, hotel suite, nails, and maybe even security for your event. Of all the money you’ve spent, the truly important things you take home with you from that day will be your spouse and the pictures that hold so many memories.

Nowadays, many couples are hoping to save a few pennies and decide that they can have an acquaintance or amateur take their photos. This is an example of cost versus value. Cost is the amount of money, in this case, that a couple believes they can save. Value is the worth or the importance of something. Deciding what the value or worth is in hiring a professional is entirely subjective. While it usually saves a couple of dollars, it may have “cost” you lost moments and untold stories. There is value in having a professional who embraces the style and personality of their clients. There is value in someone who is not startled by unscripted moments but instead inspired by them. Although someone can take a picture, will they have captured the story and emotion that goes with it? When someone sees that photograph, will they feel the style and mood of your wedding? What value will you attach to these pictures as your memories fade? Will reviewing those pictures allow you to relive that moment or just provide evidence that people showed up and you had cake?

Someone once wrote that, “Photography is the art of frozen time… the ability to store emotions and feelings within a frame”. That is what is important. That is what makes photography valuable. The ability to freeze the story and evoke the emotion within the photo; the intimacy of intertwined hands, the echo of your grandmother’s laugh, the soul baring promise of your vows, the story between two people and their guests that shared an intimate and life changing event. As an artist, as a photographer, I love helping to create and preserve those moments for people. What I do is valuable. And so is your story.

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