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,.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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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