The Four Types of Wedding Photographer
Wedding Photographers come in all shapes and sizes; from the have-a-go-hero to the full-time professional, from the weekend-warrior to the jack-of-all-trades… Each one has their pros and cons, and finding the right one for you can be a balancing act against these factors. But we find often most clients don’t even realise there’s a difference! We feel it’s important to educate the public about our profession, so please see below for our guide on the four common types of wedding photographer you’re going to meet in the wild.
The Have-a-go-Hero – AKA The ‘Faux-Tographer’:
We all know one, that friend of yours who has a ‘nice camera’ and REALLY wants to shoot your wedding for you. They may even have some fantastic photos on their facebook page – but are they ‘real couples’ like you? Or are they models from the dozens of training courses they go on for fun?
In short, owning a nice camera and having a Facebook page entitled “Joe Bloggs Photography” does not, as they would like to think, make them a professional photographer. In the industry we call them ‘faux-tographers’ because they talk the talk, but they really can’t walk the walk…
PROS: The good thing about the have-a-go-heroes is that they are usually FREE or cost next-to-nothing.
- Low to no cost.
- No contracts to sign or hassle.
- They’re a good friend.
CONS: The bad thing is that they really won’t have the experience to adequately cover any and every aspect of your day.
- Massively Inexperienced.
- No contract (to go back to when things go wrong).
- Lack equipment or professionalism to deal with any and all situations your wedding might throw at them.
- Probably more interested in dragging you outside for their ‘portfolio’ shots than they are about you enjoying your wedding day.
- No wedding album possible…
Ask yourself if helping them out on their part-time wedding photography career is more important to you than your future wedding memories…?
This photographer is perhaps the most common in the wedding industry. They have a full time job but have a nice little sideline shooting weddings. Their skill will be much better than the have-a-go-heroes, but many problems still persist.
PROS: The good thing about the Weekend-Warriors is that they are comparatively cheaper than the other options (though not by much), and they are probably almost as keen as the have-a-go-heroes in throwing themselves at your wedding. They will have slightly better equipment too, most likely they are in love with that really expensive ‘one lens’ they bought recently….
- Lower Cost than other options.
- May or may not have contracts.
- May or may not offer an album.
- Better Range of equipment.
- Can take really good photos.
CONS: The bad things? Well they still aren’t experienced enough to cover every situation your wedding might throw at them (after all, if they were, why aren’t they doing it full time?!). Also, they may have better equipment, but they tend to be gear-obsessed – treating lenses like prestige items instead of tools for the job. Remember that really expensive ‘one lens’ they bought recently? They’ll probably be using only that one piece of equipment for the whole of your wedding (both playing with it and trying it out), and nothing else. Let’s hope it’s a good one and they learnt how to use it, ey?
- Relatively Inexperienced.
- Can’t consistently deliver stunning photos. (They don’t make great photos).
- Gear-obsessed – to the point your wedding is just their play-time.
- Pictures only – limited experience with designing, researching, or creating albums.
- Slow delivery of images and poor availability/contact – (Shooting weddings and editing wedding photos only at the weekend means it could be many months before your final pictures arrive).
Ask yourself if the savings made on cost are worth the lack of availability and the lack of peace-of-mind in dealing with this unknown quantity…?
These are the photographers who may recently have become full-time professionals – or perhaps they are studio / dog / family / wildlife photographers who ‘also do weddings’. These are a hard group to pin down, as they are very varied, and that’s kind of the problem.
In the same way you wouldn’t ask your plumber to look at your electrics, or your car mechanic to take a look at your boiler – not all photographers are the same….
Sure there are many generic skills in photography we all need to know (lighting, how to operate a camera, etc…) but knowing how to pose a baby in a warm room for a stunning baby photo IS NOT THE SAME AS herding your drunken family into the group shot just before the wedding breakfast. For that matter, just because a photographer has stunning images of a model on a beach at sunset DOES NOT MEAN they can take regular everyday couples and make stunning wedding photos of them in the 10 minute window they have before the first dance…
PROS: They most likely have the professional equipment and know how to use it, and also as a professional company they are a safer pair of hands than the above two options for sure.
- Professional equipment and knowledge.
- Insurance and associations to back them up.
- Will treat you as paying clients and do the job you want them to do.
- May or may not offer albums.
- Can take a lovely dog photo.
CONS: But the problem is, they may or may not have the personality traits and skillset to deal with weddings – widely acknowledged by all as one of the most difficult and ‘niche’ skillsets in the photography spectrum.
- May still be inexperienced when dealing with weddings.
- Just as expensive as the Full-Time-Wedding-Photographer
- Skillset may not be transferable to weddings.
- May or may not have the personality to deal with wedding guests instead of paid models or commercial clients.
- Probably suffers from the same problems as the weekend-warrior when it comes to picture style consistency and quality.
Ask yourself if their wonderful portfolio of dogs/owls/babies has any relevance on wedding imagery? If you’re not sure, take it from us, being good at one thing REALLY doesn’t mean being good at the others!
The Full-Time Professional Wedding Photographer:
Ok so clearly we’re going to be biased about this one, because that’s us! But dispassionately we have tried to be honest about the pros and cons, and will leave it up to you to see if we’re being unfair…
PROS: Almost everything, they specialise in weddings, they have the equipment and the expertise relating directly to your wedding day, they must have the right personality to make it this far, they shoot weddings week-in-week-out, and they are literally the perfect choice (almost).
- Can make really stunning wedding photos.
- Wealth of directly applicable experience.
- All the equipment and skills necessary to tell the story of your day…
- Backed by associations, professions, insurance, etc….
- Peace of Mind from the consistency and reliability of a professional wedding specialist.
- Wedding Albums to die for – plenty of research into album providers and a keen interest in the final product means their albums will be the best.
CONS: So they’re ideal right? Well, unfortunately with that peace of mind comes a few cons I’m afraid…
- The most expensive of the options available.
- You’re booking their style, so research is key.
- They book up years in advance, so you need to book early to avoid disappointment.
Ask yourself: Are your wedding photos a priority to you? If not – see the first two options above and save yourself the money. But if your wedding photos are important to you, then this grouping is really the only option – and you should really consider the extra cost as both a wise investment in your future memories, and as a necessity.
Kent & Essex Wedding Photographer Mykey Day
Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.