Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer

Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer?

Top Ten Reasons For Hiring a Pro

You’ve been planning your wedding day since you were a little girl. Now you’re actually engaged and planning your wedding for real. You want it to be perfect right down to the smallest detail. Something that you both will remember for the rest of your lives.

A very pretty portrait of the bride and her flower girl in the woods. Photo taken during their beautiful Panola Valley Gardens wedding ceremony in Lindstrom, MN.

The queen and the little princess.

This is where having top-notch wedding photographers come into play. You’ll want to be sure you’re hiring a professional wedding photographer. After all, your wedding photography is the one thing that stays with you long after your honeymoon is over. This isn’t something to hand off to an amateur. There is only one chance to get it done right. Don’t you think that it makes sense to hire a real professional wedding photographer?

An “unprofessional photographer” can actually ruin your wedding day. 

A wedding photographer must be both assertive and engaging (sometimes at the same time) in order to create the images you want without irritating you or your family and friends. This requires a delicate balancing act of experience, professionalism, and the right personality.

We have heard stories ranging from how their “photographer showed up in shorts and a tee shirt” on their wedding day, to their photographer got drunk before dinner! We’ve even heard stories of how photographers changed their mind and decided that the couple couldn’t have their digital files (after that was what they had agreed on and paid for, but was never formally written into their contract.) That photographer then held their photos ‘ransom’ until they came up with more money.

Orchestra Hall wedding photo of the two grooms and their wedding party just outside the front doors of the beautiful building in downtown Minneapolis, MN.

A pretty good looking wedding party!

No Surprises Please

At Anderson’s, we think you owe it to yourself to hire a seasoned wedding pro. It’s even worth splurging a bit so you won’t have any regrets. It’s kind of like getting the nicer car model instead of the base model. Except that instead of depreciating like all cars do, your wedding photos will only become more valuable to you as the year’s go by.

Of course, you could say that as we have a very biased viewpoint. But we can tell you that not once in our more than 32 years as professional wedding photographers has anyone told us that they regretted hiring us as their wedding photographers. Actually, it’s always the opposite.

What really makes us sad, is that literally hundreds of bridesmaids and many groomsmen have told us that they wished that we were their wedding photographers instead of the ones that they had. I am not making that up! What that tells you is that a lot of people make mistakes when they decide on who will photograph their wedding.

A stunning light painting with a full moon created at Clint & Gretchen's Saint Paul College Club wedding. Light paining wedding photography done by Michael & Joannie Anderson, owners of Michael Anderson Photography in Mounds View, MN.

Wow! It turned out even better than we imagined!

Wedding Photography – It’s Not For Everyone

Being a wedding photographer is by far the most demanding job in all of photography. There are reasons that many of the best professional photographers in the world won’t touch a wedding with a fifty-foot-pole.

A wedding is the most difficult, physically grueling, supreme challenge for any photographer. It requires the very limit of every skill he or she has. From technical know-how, speed, and precision, artistic composition, people skills, better than adequate equipment, adaptability, and foresight. These are the very skills that separate the professional from the beginner or amateur.

We’ll Let You In On A Little Secret

When choosing a professional wedding photographer, don’t just check out their wedding portfolio, but look at their engagement photography too.

Version one, the "cool" version of Corey & Ashley's Harley Davidson engagement light painting.

Version one, the “cool” version of Corey & Ashley’s light painting.

There’s a lot you can tell about a wedding photographer once you see their engagement photos. Do the couples look like they had fun at their session? Are the images creative? How is the lighting? Are the couples’ eyes well lit? Does the background look all washed out? Is the posing natural looking? How is the color?

Then, ask yourself the same questions about their wedding portfolio. In this day and age of cell phone photos, both good and bad ones, you should see a significant difference from anything a cell phone can do.

A stunning engagement portrait light painting of Ben and Emilee with Ladder 757 at the Falcon Heights Fire Station.

Light painted engagement portrait of Ben and Emilee with Ladder 757.

Compared to photographing a wedding, engagement photos are a piece of cake. If the photographer can’t get those right or doesn’t even show an engagement portfolio, it’s maybe time to look elsewhere.

Very snowy engagement portraits taken in a snow storm at St. Anthony Main in downtown Minneapolis, MN.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

With all of that in mind, we present:

Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer? –  Here are The Top Ten Reasons

#10. It’s Only Forever!

Other than your wedding gown and the rings, your wedding photographs are the only wedding expense that you get to keep forever. Is this really the part of your wedding that you want to entrust with amateurs, or to those with little or no experience?

The pretty fall color Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club light painting of Eric and Amanda. The image was created at their wedding reception.

Eric and Amanda’s beautiful light painting created at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake, MN.

#9. Been There, Done That.

For your wedding day would you consider hiring an amateur or beginner to cook the meal? How about to make your wedding gown for you? To make the wedding cake? Or to officiate or play the music? To drive the limo? Would you entrust arguably the most important element of the day, the photography, to anyone other than skilled professional wedding photographers?

When things don’t go according to plan, and at some point in almost every wedding you can expect that something won’t, an amateur probably won’t know how to handle it or how to recover from it.

A wild and crazy wedding party having a little fun outdoors once the rain finally subsided at their Superior Shores wedding.

These guys know how to have fun!

#8. Better Safe Than Sorry.

A professional photographer has invested thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, in quality equipment and education. They’re only as good as their last wedding, and their reputation is on the line with every wedding. They cannot afford to bail on you a week before the wedding because something better came up, or disappear with your files after the wedding.

A true professional wedding photographer will be using in excess of $40,000, in cameras, lenses, flashes, and backup equipment. And the really important thing is that they will be able to extract the benefits from all this camera gear. And they will have at least two backup copies of your wedding images made within hours of your wedding, usually before they go to sleep that night!

Split Rock Lighthouse destination wedding photography of the bride & groom on the rocky Lake Superior shoreline. Wedding image created by Michael Anderson Photography, selected by Expertise as one of the 21 “Best Wedding Photographers In Minneapolis, MN.

Split Rock Lighthouse.

#7. See The Light.

A professional wedding photographer should know light. They know how to “see” light, control it, add it or subtract it, and enhance it. They will know how to take quality photographs in a dark wedding ceremony. They’ll know how to deal with a large, often difficult-to-light wedding reception venue. A seasoned wedding pro will know how to make harsh sunlight look soft and luminous. They know how to light the first dance on a dance floor that will be very, very dark. They know use light, how to control it, and how to deal with it!

Destination wedding photography in Chicago, Ill. Bride watches as her guests arrive before the ceremony.

Almost time.

#6. Stuff Can (and Will) Happen.

On your wedding day, you’ll be able to laugh at pretty much any wedding-day issue that you may encounter, soon after it happens. But would you be able to laugh off problems with your wedding photography?

Seasoned professional wedding photographers bring with them an ability to handle almost anything sent their way. The stress and variables of wedding day photography are not something to be taken lightly. It’s literally the fastest moving day you can ever imagine.

If you are not prepared for that or know how to handle those situations, the walls can close in very quickly! Even the best photographers from other genres can struggle. Wedding photographers have to learn to fire off great shots quickly, sometimes with fast changing light. Even with experience, it’s very difficult at times, trust us.

A pretty, classic wedding portrait of a bride and groom with their wedding party at the famous Split Rock Lighthouse.

A pretty wedding party portrait of Brycen and Aleksandra with the famous Split Rock Lighthouse as the backdrop.

#5. Part Rembrandt, Part Dr. Emmitt Brown.

As mentioned twice earlier, other professional photographers (who aren’t specifically wedding photographers) are not necessarily going to get the job done to the level of quality that you expect. Wedding photography is part art and part science. It takes many years of experience to know how to act, where to be, where NOT to be, what to photograph, how to photograph it, how to light it, and how to manage the flow of a fast-paced wedding day.

Wedding light painting photography of a bride & groom kissing in a heart made from sparklers. Image taken at The Hitchin' Post wedding of Jay & Vanessa in New Richmond, WI.

Fun with sparklers!

#4. Sometimes Money Actually Can Buy Happiness!

There is not a more accurate saying in all of the world than, “You get what you pay for” when it is comes to wedding photography.

Professionals have experience on how to pose to flatter all body shapes and sizes. They know the best angles and lighting to enhance their bride’s best features and hide imperfections. Every bride and groom wants to look their best. Professional wedding photographers can do that. Amateurs, because they are amateurs, can’t always pull it off. A pose that may look fantastic on one bride last time, may not flatter another bride this time. Professionals have worked with couples in all shapes and sizes and know which poses will make you look your best.

The groom and & his groomsmen smoking cigars in the light rain outside his Profile Event Center wedding reception in Minneapolis, MN.

Da Boys!

#3. But “Uncle Bob” Has A Nice Camera.

“Uncle Bob” or a family friend may have a great camera, but do they really know how to use it in the fast-paced, constantly changing lighting at a wedding? Do they have any lights, or know how to use them correctly? Does he know what the “color balance” is on his camera? Does he know what a DNG file is? Do they clean, maintain and upgrade their cameras, lens and flash equipment? Are they insured in case something bad happens? Will they spend the better part of a full week organizing, backing up, editing and processing your wedding photos after the wedding? Are they applying any artistic enhancements? The list goes on and on.

Real professional wedding photographers have literally thousands of hours of vital on-the-job training and experience. They know what to do in all extremes of the day. Uncle “Bob’s” camera may take nice vacation pics, but he very likely will not make any amazing wedding photographs for you.

A starry night light painting wedding photograph created at The Pavilion at Lake Elmo.

A pretty light painting of Bryan & Emily at The Pavilion at Lake Elmo.

#2. Just Because Someone Can, Doesn’t Mean They Should.

Will an amateur’s skills at your wedding actually be worthy of winning professional photography awards? Even if this is not important to you, doesn’t it speak to the quality of the images that you will receive after your wedding? Do you think that you’ll be amazed and brought to tears of joy of wonderful memories when seeing your images for the first time, and enjoy forever after?

You don’t get to play golf on the PGA Tour just because you’re “kinda” good at golf. Professional wedding photographers can make it work no matter what the circumstances are. Whether it’s rain, snow, wind, sun or shade, or if there’s something unusual at the venue, a professional will use the best of their abilities, expertise, and equipment to get the best possible wedding photos.

A stunning light painting wedding photograph of a bride & groom created at their Grand Superior Lodge destination wedding on Lake Superior. The final fantasy light painting has the couple under under the aurora borealis.

Aleksandra and Brycen’s fantasy light painting under the northern lights!

#1. Regret Is Not An Option

Did you know that two of the biggest regrets that brides have after their wedding day is not having spent enough money on their wedding photography, and not having more than one photographer to cover it? Seriously, look it up on the internet.

When the wedding is over, all you have left are your rings and your wedding photographs. Unfortunately, it’s not until AFTER the wedding that most couples truly realize this.

According to The Knot, an average wedding budget should allocate at least 10-12% of the total budget for still photography. In many cases, that percentage should be even higher. It all comes down to this: if your memories via your photographs matter to you at all, hire a top-notch professional wedding photographer. It will be the best investment of all.

“Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer – The Top Ten Reasons For Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer” – ©2018 Michael Anderson Photography.