Why You Should Not Hire A Professional Wedding Photographer?

Why You Should Not Hire A Professional Wedding Photographer?

We've all heard that hiring a professional wedding photographer can save you a lot of headaches. But I've also heard professional photographers dog on the photos normal wedding guests take at a wedding. This latest photography meme might take it a little too far. Not only is it a stretch to infer that both these images were taking using the same cameras and tools, but I'm not completely sure that the image on the left is a great photo to make an argument for hiring a professional. What do you think?

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Previous comments

Obviously Patrick Hall is one of the guys who likes documentary "newspaper"-style photos and dislikes photos which come up with a feeling. Yes, there is dead space which could have been cropped out to make an panoramic photo.

But the prophoto passes on the feeling what the wedding couple has as the amateur photo does not. That is the reason to hire a professional, not just one with a "expensive camera" (which really is not that expensive).

For me photographing is all about transferring the feeling from the event to the one who is looking at the pictures later.

And btw. The left photo has been taken using flash (flash to upleft as you can see from the photo). That is something that "normal people with expensive camera" doesn't know or understand how to use - professionals usually do. So the lighning at the room is identical, the skills to use the camera are not :)

Both pictures are shit, left one composition and timing, right one exposure.

I agree Patrick, this comparison makes a case for "get in close" and "use a large f/stop" more than it does amateur vs. professional

Posts like this are embarrassing to the wedding photography industry. You don't see Vera Wang posting anything like this- because amateur dress makers are not her competition.

John Schafer's picture

Wow yea- not much of a difference. Many so-called pros have become nothing more than point-n-shooters.

You don't hire a wedding photographer because he has a great camera and lens. You hire them for taking high quality photos more consistently than anyone else. The "friend" may take one good, or maybe one great photo. But in a wedding you need 300-800 great photos.

Also, the on the right is underexposed, has waaayy more dead space and has many distracting objects. Oh and the guests look completely bored, the groom looks bored, and the brides expression cannot be seen. It's a snapshot, and a bad one at that.

nobody needs 800 great photos trust me.

Joop van Roy's picture

"Hours and hours of experience!" nice.

On a serious note, a picture with a black border is not a ' meme'. a meme is "an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A term coined by Richard Dawkins.

Christopher Hoffmann's picture

It seems to me that a lot of people are missing the point. The point was to show the basic comparison between an amateur and a professional with similar set-ups. Basically, the exposure, wb, motion blur, and w/b. To that extent, these photos capture a striking difference That is all... Thanks for the insight Kara!!!

UGH... discus is horrible

So maybe a bit OT, but similarly, as a "semi pro" photographer, meaning i've had various paying jobs and have been published across a few different mediums, I was recently asked by an acquaintance photographer to photograph a few events with him for his website.... When i asked what the pay would be like... he got upset and told me it was "all about having fun with friends". I'm flattered, promise... but does any one else find this equally absurd and maybe even a bit clandestine? BTW Kara... no matter what peoples take on all of this is... its all exposure. Could even get a few gigs out of it?? :P

bad article!

So, Patrick, having "dogged" on her skills, and now that you've heard from Kara herself, are you not going to follow up on this? Not even a comment along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, I guess that makes more sense"???

Patrick Hall's picture

Ah, I actually did respond to her personally already...yeah I was wrong about the cameras. It's crazy to think that someone with a Canon DSLR could take such a bad photograph...I guess her point does hold some weight. I've never seen such a difference in photographs from a photography team that I assumed, wrongly, that these images weren't from the same camera. Obviously the lighting is different and the vertical image hasn't really been edited that much but I was wrong. It has started some great conversation though

They're both shitty photos.

And this was a worthless post... :)

I for one love the comparison. Its obvious what point Kara is trying to make and I think she did a great job. She herself admitted that the images wasn't the best, but that wasn't what she was going for. She was trying to get 2 images as close to the same time as possible shot by a pro and the other by.. well not a pro. The one on the left is much clearer and nicer to look at as far as image quality, WB and contrast go. The one on the right is nothing but a quick snapshot.

I was going to make a blog about this.  I saw a friend post this on facebook and used it to promote his GF's photography (which i honestly think isn't anything to shout about).  I took a long look at this and noticed that the so called photographer's shot is actually worse than the friend's photography...only difference i noticed was the flash which look off camera...apart from this, there was nothing in the composition, the faces were tucked, so much negative space, even a simple rule of thirds composition would improve this but wasn't used (i would have asked the crowd to even cheer for the newlyweds to make the bokeh people look interesting). The funnt things is the photographer bothered to cut off the legs of the couple but left the boring wall in the background...there just too much to mention and nitpick at it might cook my egg.  With the shot i'm assuming that the photog also used a crappy lens 
(or a DSLR with bad iso performance) , I think a good fast lens can do a better shot with this than an off camera flash though that's the style depending on the shooter.  Not a good example if you asked me

Some PS, LR...

Very poor comparison.

Both pictures in the above example are poor shots. Poor composition and terrible lighting. Both are out of focus.


Chris Hatchett's picture

This is stupid. The shot on the left is about the father/daughter moment. NOT about who was at the wedding. I don't think it was taken with the same lens, but it might have been the same camera, and the same lighting. But the one on the left looks like a 50mm or 85mm f/1.2 judging by the lighting in the 2nd one (agreeing on if it was indeed with the same camera) 

The point is, I would be pissed if the shot I got back from my wedding was the one on the right versus the one on the left.

If you settle for mediocrity, then sure. Save money. If you want to embrace the idea that this is your ONE wedding day, and want to invest in preserving that day, that moment, that one instance in time, distribute disposable cameras at your wedding and rely on drunk uncle ned to do your photography. 

As a fellow Wedding Photographer I can tell you that Photography is the ONLY profession where people from your own field will literally stand in line to say negative stuff about your work. I apologize for those that are too unethical, or too crass to know how to treat fellow professionals. I admire what you have done. This idea is a great starting point for all of us to try and create our own meme. I have been told by my mentor I needed to do something similar, so seeing your sample may help me a bit. I applaud your attempts, and perhaps in the future you will trip upon images you would rather use for this sort of thing. *sigh* I wish all photographers could be positive and supportive. Alas, there are too many that think that they are better than the rest of us. They can be counted on to climb up the bodies, smashed cameras, and broken lenses to plant their flag on the top of the mound. Good luck to you. I hope that 2014 is better for all of us.