When I see couples who have invested heavily in their day and for some reason their images were not what they expected, I won't lie - it actually breaks my heart a little for those couples, this is a day you can't do over. I've had a few friends who have paid for what they thought was a good deal - and ended up sadly disappointed with the quality of images they received back; their photographer just never showed up; or they let [insert guest/family name here] with a nice camera take photos - and ended up wishing they had saved in other areas and hired a professional.
It always pays to fully research your photographer, ask to see examples of full wedding galleries they have photographed, its ok to ask them questions about their experience and background. Read testimonials, not only about how they photograph, but how they are as a person too because you tend to spend more time with your photographer than any other vendor on your day. Getting along with them is vital to help your day run smooth!
This isn't a "you must spend thousands on a photographer or you won't get good photos" blog post, its more about being aware of WHO you are picking to capture your day because different people put different values on areas of their day. If you have a big budget, or put strong values on your photography then there are numerous talented photographers out there. If you have a smaller budget then there are other options such as a student who is wanting experience with weddings, hiring a professional for a shorter period of time to capture the bits most important to you, or saving money in other areas to increase your photography budget. If you think you may regret not putting more value into the photography, then you probably will; if it really doesn't bother you that some of the most important parts of your day could end up blurry, and/or under/overexposed to the point that there isn't a lot to see then you will probably be fine with anything - and you probably don't need to read on.
I recently had a work colleague get married back home, they had hired a professional to capture their day, but on the day the photographer just didn't show up. No reason given. Thankfully a member of their families church with a professional level camera was able to capture some of those memories for them - note this person was not a professional photographer, just someone who liked to take photos. My work colleague even admitted that they are disappointed with the quality, but they are so thankful to have some images from their day because something is better than nothing. They asked if I could edit the photos for them to get them a little more professional looking, of course I said yes because I want them to feel a bit better looking back on their day. They both wanted to me share that a guest or family member can have a really good - even professional level camera, but if the person behind it doesn't understand the technical side of photography, that the quality just won't be the same. There are SO many factors that come into photography, when your photographer clicks the shutter its really not as simple as that. Heres why:
(Please note: I have full permission to edit and share these images. This isn't to make fun of the photos, this is purely to educate that its harder to take a good photo than just clicking a button, there is a lot of thought processes that go on behind it.)
While this is a very lovely candid photo, a professional would have moved the Groom and his family away from the truck first, and then let them chat (or asked the truck driver to move the truck if they are around), they would have waited for the person walking left side of the frame to move. The background is also VERY busy, most professionals would have likely either used a shallow depth of field to blur the background a bit more, or used a telephoto lens to give some blur (though this can depend on the photographers style too). The original image the photographer had used a wide angle lens and the building lines were sloping severely, which I fixed up.
For this image it look as though they were aiming for a more formal type picture. While the photographer has moved slightly to the camera right so the truck is less in view, it is still in the image. Again a professional likely would have moved them to a different area with a nicer backdrop, and/or blurred the background. In a formal photo a professional will take a few images in case of any blinkers. As in the last image, the building sides were also severely sloped which I fixed up.
This unfortunately is severe motion blur, while fantastic for certain artistic photographs (ie. dancing at the reception with a flash used to freeze the subject), for both the Bride and Grooms processional a professional will be ready for these moments. The photographer will increase the shutter speed to ensure that any movement is frozen and you have a nice crisp image. The shutter speed on this image was only 1/10 second, which is far too slow for movement and hand holding a camera. This is the sort of speed you use to show movement of a car, or movement with a waterfall/river etc.
As above, the shutter seed was far too slow at 1/40 second. Unfortunately images that are out of focus, or have motion blur to this extent cannot be fixed.
As a professional photographer you have to be a master of light, you have to know and understand how it works, and how to counteract difficult lighting situations. This is a perfect example, churches are often darker, and even when they have light the colours can be mixed and unbalanced. Unfortunately this image was severely overexposed and has lost a lot of detail even when reducing the exposure drastically in post-processing. Had this image been photographed in RAW format this could have been saved a little more, but the detail in her veil has completely gone in some areas, and there is very little left in others. Because of the image being so over exposed her skin also has green tinge to it. This is due to there not being enough detail left in her skin - mixed with my editing style its hard to fix this.
This image was also severely overexposed. The camera on automatic settings will decide what is best for the overall image, it doesn't understand that the Bride is standing under a bright light wearing white. So the camera did what it was programmed to do. Unfortunately it has "blown out" the back of her dress, its largely just a white blob, and this is also how it would print. A professional would have either used bounced flash (if allowed in the church) to create more even lighting, OR they would have under exposed the image to keep detail in her dress, then brought the rest up in post processing.
Another important part of a Bride and Grooms day is the congratulations afterwards. Unfortunately again the shutter speed was too slow which has caused motion blur which cannot be fixed. Also, a photographer usually would move so the person in the aisle is not in the shot, or they would motion for them to move out of the way.
Another image over exposed, though not as bad this time, as well as severe motion blur.
More severe overexposing of an image. This one has also severely affected the Brides skin tone.
Again, this is not to make fun of the photos, with sharing these we wanted to show other brides who think they don't mind how the photos will turn out, that even a professional camera gets it wrong, and you may care more than you think when its too late.