As a wedding photographer this question may seem a bit strange, but let me explain...
You've had your dream wedding planned in your head since you were just a little nipper, So when it comes to figuring out what you need and what you want on one of the biggest and most expensive days of your life, it’s only right that a voice inside of you will scream "This is the most important day of my life and I want to remember it forever, so I need a damn good photographer to capture it all!". You know what you want, and you’ve made the list of the absolute musts, but then reality hits. You start putting the prices against all the items on your checklist and that’s when you realise…
… Wedding Photographers are expensive!
You start going through your list of must haves to see what you can cut back so you don’t have to take out a mortgage just to pay for you wedding! And that’s when it hits you. These days almost everyone has a decent smart phone that has a camera. Some of the smart phone cameras out there are utterly amazing, and almost all smart phones come with a plethora of pre-set filters, adjustments and special modes, that produce some absolutely stunning results that can actually give the pros a run for their money! So why not make use of it?
When planning your wedding, one of the first things you think about is who else you want to share your special day with. Obviously, your immediate family is the top of the list, then you've got your auntie Sue and uncle Bob, and cousin's you haven't seen in twenty years but have to invite, and before you know it you've got a hundred people on the list! That’s a hundred potential photographers that can use their super smart phones throughout the day to capture your wedding, often from views and angles that a single wedding photographer probably won't have access to. This massive team of photographers will be snapping away all day long, covering every moment from every angle, for free!
So… do you really need a wedding photographer in this day and age?
Some of you may get this far in this post and decide that that’s exactly what you want to do, and you know what, I don’t blame you! I would probably think about doing it that way if I was getting married in the near future. With the advanced technology permanently at our fingertips, it’s easy to collect all of those photos from your paparazzi guests with very little effort. You can set up #dedicatedhashtags that you ask your guests to use, and when they post their photos to the multitude of social media sites, it’s easy for you to find them all. There are apps out there that will automatically find them and download them for you. No waiting for your official photos, no pushy after sales, simply completely free access to photos of you from your family and friend’s social media posts, you don’t even need to ask for them! For some, this is the ideal. For me, I’d still pay a photographer, and It’s not just because I am one!
You see, in recent years I’ve come to realise, like many others, that the world we live in today is failing to live in the moment. We are so caught up in the technological world that we miss the things that really matter. We are so self-absorbed that if there isn’t photo proof that we were there in that moment, that story, that specific situation, then it’s arguable that it didn’t really happen. And if that photo isn’t instantly uploaded to the multitude of social media sites, and doesn’t get more than 50 likes, it’s also arguable that that moment, that story, that specific situation doesn’t really matter to the internet trolls (also known as your close friends and acquaintances) that make up your social media footprint. Because of this I’ve come to see that many of the reasons for inviting all of the ‘trolls’ to your wedding are getting lost in translation, and your wedding becomes more about them than you, so much so that the majority of the photo’s posted online will be selfies. Some of them may even have you in them!
To me, your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. It’s the day you officially leave your families to make your own. It’s the day you officially and publicly demonstrate your commitment to spend the rest of your lives devoted to each other, and no one else. It’s one of the happiest days of your life and you want to share and celebrate that happiness with your closest family and friends, and that is the reason I would still pay a photographer. Having a wedding photographer, in my opinion, brings it all back to simply being about you, on one of the most important days of your life, with the love of your life, celebrating with your families and people that are important to you.
To be fair, these days you will probably receive your memories from your photographer via download, but they are your memories for you to do whatever you want with. You can print them, make your own album, whatever they are yours, and you can look at them whenever you want. Posts on social media sites often disappear within days, sometimes even hours of being posted, and if you go straight to your honeymoon in the most remote place, chances are you will not see them. Sure, they will pop up every now and then, but at the end of the day, they are other people’s memories that they are sharing with you, not yours.
The point of this post really is to tell you that I get it. Wedding photographers are expensive, and it can definitely put you off hiring one when you get quotes that seem way out of your price range, but all I ask is that you really consider how much your memories of your wedding day are actually worth. Then you will know if you need a wedding photographer or not.
P.S. Before I get slammed for putting this on social media given my comments above... How else would you see it?