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January 23, 2013
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pros and cons of hiring an amateur for wedding photography?

:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Background:
-Neomerlin :iconneomerlin: and I are getting married.
-We're two young university students (also known as poor)
-Professional photography unlikely to fit into budget, as they all seem to be around $2000 - $3000 for 6hrs.
-Getting married in Sydney, Australia, in October.

Now, I currently have two ideas for photography at my wedding. One is supplying a percentage of the guests with disposable cameras both at the ceremony and at the reception and asking them all to take photos.

Another is trying to find a student photographer and hiring them.

I accept that both of those options will likely result in lots of crap photos.
I'm just wondering, from the viewpoint of a photographer, what might be the pros and cons of those decisions?

Just how magical ARE professional photos vs amateur?

Any student photographers out there (or anyone, really) with any advice as to finding talented students?
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Devious Comments

:iconitti:
Itti Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ask to see photos from whoever you hire. Some amateurs are better than some professionals. All that 'professional' means is that they are people who make a living from it. But hiring an amateur is more risky. They turn up with their camera - whoops! The battery ran out! Or whoops! one of their memory cards failed and you only got half the wedding pictures! Or whoops! A guest tripped over the tripod leg bringing the camera smashing to the cold stone floor and it won't work for the rest of the day.

A professional will have spare bodies, spare lenses, spare memory cards, on-site memory backup, third-party and liability insurance, maybe an assistant, and probably a bunch of other things I haven't even thought of.

I'm NOT saying, "Don't do it, it's too risky." I'm saying, "Be aware that it carries a risk." In the end it's your wedding and it's up to you to decide. Perhaps you'll decide that having photos from your wedding is critical to you, and you don't want to take that risk at all; it's not worth it. Or perhaps you'll decide that, in exchange for the lower price, you are happy with the fact that everything will probably be all right and you don't mind there being a small chance of it going wrong. I just wanted to point it out to you so that you can make your own decision based on all the facts available,.
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:iconibsenthun:
IbsenThun Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Buy me the planeticket and I'll do professional weddingphotography for free...

Really, go for a professional photographer. This is your once in a lifetime event. Not getting a proper shoot done will make you look back and think "why"..

My offer still stands, tho'. :)
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:icondonworld:
donworld Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
pros:
will be much cheaper

cons:
they won;t have the quality an experienced photographer will have
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:iconnewdawnphoto:
NewDawnPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
I'm not going to read all the post so some of this may be redundant...

"Just how magical ARE professional photos vs amateur?"

In general, there is no comparison.

Here are just a few reasons why:

A professional knows much more about how to shoot a wedding from start to finish than most pople would ever think. It not only knowing the camera. It's knowing it like the back of your hand. ISO, aperture, focal length, speed, camera angle and more. It's knowing how and when to use the right combination and being able to switch to that through reflex. A professional knows where to be (or not be!) and when to be there. They will have checked out the venue prior to your wedding. They won't have the venue not allowing them to shoot because they have no insurance. They will be prepared with back ups for everything so when a camera, etc. goes down they won't stand there and have tell you why they were only able to photograph up intil the moment just before you had your first as a married couple ad you'll have to just remember the rest. Weddings are very difficult to photograph because location, lighting and time are always changing. You can go from inside a church (Dark, and you must have the right equipment to shoot in the dark without a flash), to an outside reception (Very bright and need the right equipment to be able to balance your lighting with sunlight and know how to do that while keeping the details in a black tux an a white dress), to twilight lighting and on and on. A professional is thinking of your wedding album while shooting and knows what he/she needs to get to tell the whole story. They know how to direct and pose people for the formal shots. They'll often include a second shooter. No one can be in two places at once. This is helpful when you are having your formals taken and the guests are having a nice time standing around and talking. You'll never see those moments unless another photographer is getting hose shots. Also very important if you and the groom are getting ready in different locations and/or at the same time. Those are are often charished photos by the couple as well as the parents. They also know how to edit and print correctly (Very important). All this and so much more that I won't bore you with.

So, if you're going with a student/amature you will not be getting anything close to what you would get from a professional. That said, alot of people do go with cheap or free amatures for whatever their reasons are. If you do, just know what you're getting into and don't be an ass about it when they screw up, and they will. However, if you are lucky you'll find someone with potential and talent. That will meen that they will only get a small percentage of good shots compared to a professional but at least those will be good shots. If this is how you will go, you might want to think about finding a student and paying him/her nothing. Do it in trade so they have something for their portfolio. Spend your money on the disposable cameras for the guests table. That way you might get a few decent shots from the photographer and you'll have a bunch of fun snaps from the guests. It's kind of a "medium" solution.
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:iconlinniie-poo:
linniie-POO Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Student Filmographer
Hello fellow Sydneyer!! I'd say go for students who are particular in that field. It will be a great way to start up their experience. You can try and get it for free or maybe more incentive if you pay (Not in the 3000 field but good enough). Alot of students can hire equipment from school (depending on the day/weekend/month) although I think October schools are still open (but of course you would know this) OR they have their own equipment. Speaking of students, I know plenty of students who would be absolutely willing to do some photography shoots for you! If you go to College of Fine Arts (UNSW) located in Paddington and post up some flyers, I'm more than sure you will plenty of responses. All you need is to do your research, ask the right questions and you may find a photographer as good as professional ones! I go to that school and know some talented photographers studying there, one who already jumpstarted her career with wedding photography (Check out [link] ) . Anyway, essentially what I'm getting at is, make some posters and place them in art schools /art faculties in universities or colleges and I'm sure you can get some good photographers for your magic day. :)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Helloo!

Thanks for the advice, I'll definately check your friend out.

I actually had thought about doing this, this morning, haha. It was kind of nice to see your post.. just kind of makes me think that my postering idea mightn't be so terrible if other people think it too.
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:iconpandagirl1029:
Pandagirl1029 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I see the option of the disposable cameras has been ruled out and that makes me happy as I seriously doubt that you would get any decent shots from such shoddy pieces of "equipment", if you can even call them that.

The problem with hiring an amateur would be the subject of price. While they might not ask for $2000 - $3000, you're likely not going to find many who are willing to go below $1250 for the basic portraits and a couple of spontaneous shots at the reception.

With the above stated, I have two suggestion:

1.) If your Uni has an art dept., ask the director of art if he could speak to the head of the Photography classes to see it he/ she may be willing to ask his/ her students if one, or a couple of them, may be willing to do a miniature internship as your wedding photographer.

Pros - You won't have to pay a dime (unless you feel that they really deserve it) and you still get good photographic mementos.

Cons - Your wedding photos will likely be made public as part of the photographer's portfolio.

OR

2.) You can ask your guests to bring their digital cameras and take photos throughout the ceremony.

Pros - Your photos remain private and you still don't pay a dime.

Cons - The photo quality may not be up to par with that of a "seasoned" amateur (ie. shakiness and blur, out of focus, not close up, etc)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the advice! I attend Macquarie University, Sydney. There is no fine art department, otherwise I totally would shamelessly take some art or art history electives.

However, being an artistic type I actually have recently discovered that I do have contacts with quite a few hobbyist photographers willing to do it for free, I've also had a very kind dA member from a town north of Sydney make an offer to photograph my wedding should things fall through.

I'll definately be doing the 2nd option no matter what. I was thinking I'd tell all my guests to take photos and to email me their files.. I'll put the best 50 on my tumblr.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
If you're not shy, and your husband doesn't mind, you might be able to trade modelling services for it. Might take a couple of weeks to work it off though.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, it depends on what kind of modelling. I'm certain that he would be even less comfortable with me doing nude modelling than I would be.

I also totally don't have the figure or complexion to be a model. Nor the time.
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:iconmichaelrowlandson:
MichaelRowlandson Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Professional Photographer
You get what you pay for.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Uh huh.
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:iconmylifeinfocus:
MyLifeInFocus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I think really your only 'pro' would be the cost in honesty. If you can find someone with a portfolio that looks good and they're an amateur then you may be in luck. If you're going for someone that has absolutely no experience, you need to keep in mind they may walk in with a basic body and kit lens thinking they have a 'pro' set up, unable to deal with low light and potentially miss some key shots. I'm not going to echo what everyone else has already said in a multi-paragraph comment but I will simply say this, there are a lot of good, knowledgeable amateur photographers out there, but there's a reason you pay 2-3 thousand for a professional, it's a professional service, you're trusting one person to capture the day that you won't likely be repeating in your entire life.
You may be get lucky with an amateur, I know plenty of people who's weddings have been shot by amateurs and they're happy, but you may also lose out on the best shots..


Also, I don't think supplying your guests with cameras is a good idea, a photography student with decent equipment will likely be much better than 20 inexperienced people with very basic equipment.
I wish you the best with your choice, congrats to you both I hope you live very happy lives ;)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not sure what you mean by "I think really your only pro would be the cost in honesty" care to elaborate? :)

As for the rest, thanks for weighing in with your advice.
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:iconmylifeinfocus:
MyLifeInFocus Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Well I merely mean advantages of a amateur over a professional are few I think. If you have a good amateur then they probably will at best offer the same as a professional, and so the only big advantage I see is cost. Most other things are sub-par to professionals and disadvantages.

Certainly welcome I wish you guys the best!
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:iconglennpalacio:
glennpalacio Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Amateur? you mean like the person never covered a wedding before? well, that photographer might get lost. Wedding photography is no joke. :) remember, its only once a lifetime :)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for your advice!

By amateur, I didn't mean retarded. But, yes. With whoever is going to be photographing my wedding I'll be certain to establish their reliability and make certain that they actually do turn up.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Every one has to start some where and being an amateur does not mean they do not know what they are doing.

Also give students some due respect as most will go out of there way to do a good job.

It is risky and I have seen more than a few disasters with wedding photos and it is not just the amateurs that stuff things up.

Wedding photography is in a class of its own and the photographer will either suck at it or roll with it

DO NOT GO THE DISPOSABLE CAMERA ROUT ,, that just does not work and all you will have is a bunch of happy snaps with no photographic quality ,, get a few for a laugh if you wish but do not rely on them for any good photos.

It can be a hard call if you need to think about cost.

I was a wedding photographer for around 10 years and I started out buy doing a wedding for a family member to save some cost , I had no formal training but I still pulled it off and delivered a portfolio that looked as good as any pro's work , this led to another wedding and another and another ......


BTW Make sure they dont plan on using an iPhone ....... no I am not kidding :)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ha, thanks for the advice. :)
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
Go with a pro, preferably one with at least 5 years experience. Yes, that's going to be expensive, but the photos are one of the main ways in which you remember the actual ceremony.

If you really have to cut costs, the photographer is probably one of the worst places to cut costs. You might get lucky with an amateur or student, but you're only planning on having one wedding, so there you go.

You might also be able to negotiate a discount if you allow the images to be used in a portfolio. And make sure you know what rights you're getting. Letting the photographer own the rights will usually lower the price, or really raise it less, but then you have limited rights to them in the future.

Best thing, is to ask advice about what options there are and choose the ones that are focused on what you really want. Getting good photos of the guests, the ceremony and leave out the pointless ones. Also, realize that you're not just paying for the time at the ceremony, you're paying for the time processing them as well.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the advice. :)
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have been asking around with professional artists, but I haven't found anything in budget yet.

What are, in your opinion, "the pointless ones"? I'm fully okay with not having any of that pre-wedding photo silliness. The world doesn't need to see me with hair rollers in. I had intended the following
-ceremony photos
-photos of the bridal party afterwards at a park
-photos of the reception, stopping after the bridal waltz

And as for processing, what kind of processes are generally involved with wedding photography?
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:iconrockthesky:
rockTheSky Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
"I'm fully okay with not having any of that pre-wedding photo silliness. The world doesn't need to see me with hair rollers in."

lmao. I found this sentence so funny, made me laugh out loud. You got the point across really well with just one sentence. I guess the main reason people do that is to sort of capture the day. I mean, it is sort of odd taking pictures of the groom putting his tie on and stuff, but hey, if you're documenting the day then that goes!

"what kind of processes are generally involved with wedding photography?"

Well each raw file will be taken off and likely processed through ACR/Lightroom or Aperture and had minor tweaks made to them such as colour/contrast adjustments, or bringing back detail in the bright areas of the photo, beyond that, the photographer will probable whittle the entire collection down to the good ones and then probable begin creating a photo album. Most decent photographers will probably deliver an album with all the photos pre-selected too. Processing probably also includes printing them, but you could always just ask for a CD to save money and print whatever you wish and get them printed and put into an album yourself.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I try my best to be amusing. ;)

Thanks for explaining that.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Processing tends to depend upon how well the photographer did in capturing it in the first place. At a minimum it's review and printing. It may be more involved if the images are slightly imperfect. Such as manually fixing red eye in shots.

Also it may involve getting the shot images appropriately converted for printing and preparing any books you request. That's something you could probably do yourself, and it's likely that you would do as good of a job, so buying just the images might save money rather than paying to have them built into a book or similar.

There's also the planning work that goes on before the shoot to make sure that the photographer gets all the shots he needs to get. Which is why they'll usually want a guest list as it helps make sure they get the people they need to get.

And while the quality isn't going to be even as good as a student, one thing that often works well is having disposable cameras strategically placed. It's really not a replacement for a photographer, but it does help for bits where you want to capture it, but where having a photographer is over kill.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks.

Would you consider it rude to be asked to just buy the images, and not have any printing or any books done?
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:iconrockthesky:
rockTheSky Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I know you weren't asking me directly, but I thought I'd jump in.

It's not rude at all. You're the one that want's them, and they will usually try to accommodate requests that you might have. If you don't want prints or a book done then they won't deliver that. It's highly unlikely that they will refuse, but it's definitely not rude.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for weighing in, that's really helpful. :)
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
The problem with hiring student photographers is that the ones that are any good at it will have some experience and are almost as expensive as the pros. The ones that are not expensive don't have any experience and will take crappy photos.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How expensive is almost as expensive?

I am not adverse to PAYING, I just can't afford $2000-$3000AUD.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
You might get away with $1000 US. I don't know what that is in AUD.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Around $1000 US, but everything is more expensive in Australia.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I guess that brings us back up to around $2000 then, but that really is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to wedding photography. I really don't think you are going to find anyone who is any good for less than that.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Huh..? 1000USD is around 999AUD at the moment or something like that. Not sure how you figure it brings us back up to 2 grand. But yeah, if it is going to cost that much I'm not going to bother even hiring anyone.
Ultimately, I just don't care about photography enough to put myself and my future spouse into debt.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
"everything's more expensive in Australia."

I figured that was what would bring us back up to 2 grand.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, maybe. I'm finding most wedding photographers are around 3K, sadly.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Through out the 90s my average price for a wedding was $5,000 and yes people in Melbourne where paying that them days

I have seen people advertising now for $500
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Were they actually pros? I live in Sydney, so maybe the price is different around here.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be able to pay $5,000. I'm certain that there are plenty of photographers whose work and dedication are worth that amount of money. I just don't have that kind of cash to pay $3,000, let alone $5,000.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
you dont need to spend that much and I was charging that much because it was back in film days and I had a lot of cost to cover , digital is cheaper because there are no real consumable materials like film and chemicals etc.

I live on the central coast and I have no idea what the going rate is for a wedding around here and I no longer do weddings myself.

Are you getting married in Sydney ?
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
I charged about that back then, in US dollars, for two of the the three weddings I did, and I considered myself enormously underpaid. I charged that much only because I knew the bride or the groom and was doing them a favor. I have refused to do any more weddings since then. It is the most stressful type of photography that exists. I'd rather do combat photography than weddings.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Well I have always hear of wedding photography as combat photography.

I dont mind them at all , in fact I like shooting weddings as it is the one time that as a photographer I can really bully normal people in to being photographed in a serious sort of way.

People have always been and always will be my favorite subject :)
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Well, I like shooting people too, but if I ever get roped into doing another wedding, I'm running off to join the French Foreign Legion. Fewer people yelling at me, less stress, and if someone gives me too hard a time I can just shoot them.
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(1 Reply)
:iconrockthesky:
rockTheSky Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Specifically, what about it makes it stressful to you? I'm just interested. I know people always say stuff like "because so much can go wrong", but it always can. I know you only have 1 opportunity to capture certian things, but I'm curious as to why you think it's stressful.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
When you have at any one time over a dozen people all shouting to you to take a shot.

When you have a dozen people all shouting at the couple for a pose , the poor couple just dont no where to look.

At a wedding EVERY ONE is a photographic expert.

Drunk guest are the biggest pain in the ass and fights do happen even at weddings.

Once you miss a shot it is gone never to return.

Not getting paid for a shoot is always stressful and I still have well over 50K in debt owed to me from over 15 years ago, of course I will never see that.

The mother of the bride is in a lot of cases like a combat Field Marshall and love to tell you have to take photos.

Wedding photography is in a class all of its own , it is a stressful activity mainly because it is a very emotional day for them concerned and the photographer has to put up with all this on the fly and no way to escape even for a second.

I also think that to be a successful wedding photographer you need to be an emotional person as well or you just dont see the shots and wedding photography is ALL about capturing emotion.

And yes as FallisPhoto said you must be able to take years and many pounds of weight from the bride.



Some people no matter what you do are just NEVER happy with any thing you do and I have had clients that are not happy with my work but at the same time can not tell me what they dont like.
Some people will do ANYTHING they can to not pay you.
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:icondelahkel:
Delahkel Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Professional Photographer
If I may butt in, I'd say nasty brides and their mothers (not saying all brides are nasty, just that there are few that are) can make it hell with their complaining.

Other than that, I quite enjoy this type of photography.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
Well, let's see... Last time I did one, amateur kibitzers who knew just enough about taking photos to be annoying were all over the place, someone kept turning my lights off, because "it didn't look romantic;" the bride wanted me to take 40 pounds off of her, because the bride's mother said that the photos made the 200+ pound bride "look fat." Short of photoshopping her head onto someone else's body... that kind of thing.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Upper North Shore, near Hornsby.
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:iconphotomark:
photomark Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Well depending on the time of the year I may be able to help you out if you get stuck, even if it just a few rolls of 35mm

I am in Woy Woy so not far from you.
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:iconphoenixdoll:
phoenixdoll Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks, that's nice of you to offer.
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(1 Reply)
:iconbohobella:
bohobella Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
My parents hired a chick who worked at my dad's shop he owned at the time to do their wedding photos. As such, there is about two I have ever seen, because all the others are red, blurry and otherwise terrible. For me, it's one of the most important aspects of a wedding.

If you go amateur, I'd still expect to see some wedding photo examples from them because I would otherwise be wary.

And :devkyleglory: summed up the disposable camera issue quite nicely.
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