Wedding Tips: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 1 (Why Hire a Professional?)

Picking a wedding photographer, wedding videographer, or wedding cinematographer is simple, right?

You go to a bridal show, find one with the right package price and a great deal, a pretty booth with pretty pictures (or movies) and sign on the dotted line. You get to go home happy you saved a lot of money and check wedding photographywedding videography, or wedding cinematography off the wedding planning list until you end up following up for the free engagement session or maybe a couple of weeks before your wedding to make sure you’re on the same page.

But that’s not how it’s supposed to be!

Knoxville-Wedding-Photographer_Knoxville-Wedding-Videographer_Knoxville-Wedding-Cinematographer_Maple-Grove-InnIt’s supposed to be so much better than that! (Can you tell we are passionate about this?!)

In this blog series, we will share exactly what to look for, how much to pay, what to ask, and essentially how to go through the process of picking a wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer. First, it’s important to go over some important characteristics and why they’re important!

Don’t assume all wedding photographerswedding videographers, or wedding cinematographers are the same!

The artistic images are often the most powerful and memorable wedding photographs.

What you are actually paying for could be much different from your expectations (especially after reading this series). Here are eight (potentially surprising) secrets about the field of wedding photo/video/cinema:

  1. Not all of us are professionals.
  2. Not all of us do this as our full-time job.
  3. Not all of us care about the art of photography.
  4. Not all of us keep up with trends and the market.
  5. Not all of us are active members of professional associations.
  6. Not all of us design the experience our clients have.
  7. Not all of us educate our clients on the benefits (and drawbacks) of different media for images.
  8. Not all of us share our success by giving back to those in need.

We will cover why each one of these characteristics is relevant to you with different posts—so you don’t have to take it all in at once!

What does ‘professional’ mean?

Professional basically means two things: 

  1. Intangibly, it means the wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers have experience and expertise with their field of services and products.
  2. Legally, it means the wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers have a business license and tax registrations to offer the goods and services you’re paying for. 
What this means for you:

This photograph was taken in an area with a lot of unappealing brick architecture, but we found an angle that makes the couple look like they are in a beautiful, lush garden.

Professionals know how to respond to less than ideal situations, which your Uncle Sal or cousin won’t be able to handle. Poor conditions, malfunctioning equipment, (that one thing you hope won’t go wrong but probably will), and more can adversely affect an amateur with a camera, not to mention they haven’t come close to mastering their equipment and couldn’t respond to changing conditions with remarkable speed. Professionals alleviate the headaches and work around the problems as if everything was heavenly—because of their experience and expertise.

Professionals will charge you tax on the items they sell that are taxable (even if you pay cash). This is not a bad thing (though it always stinks to pay sales tax). It means they are a responsible businesse and contributing to the growth of our local and state community.

Professionals will have insurance for their equipment (if something bad happens to their equipment), for liability (if something bad happens to someone while they are working), and for indemnity (if something bad happens during a shoot that can’t be fixed—like a wedding).

Professionals are legally operating small businesses who play by the rules and think far enough ahead to plan for a bad day. You want to hire someone for your wedding who thinks ahead and prepares for all contingencies. (You would be surprised at the number of self-proclaimed “professional” photographers / videographers / cinematographers who have acquired none of these things—so be careful!)

Wedding Tips Series

Part 1: Where You Get Ready Matters
Part 2: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 1 (Why Hire a Professional?)
Part 3: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 2 (Why Does Full-Time Matter?)
Part 4: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 3 (What is the ‘Art of Photography’?)
Part 5: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 4 (Why Professional Associations Matter)

Stay tuned for more great tips by getting social with us!

P.S.: Want to customize your wedding photography or cinematography experience?
Click to setup a free consultation with us and we’ll start designing your wedding ASAP!

Do you have any additional advice or suggestions for other brides about why to hire a professional? Share them in the comments below!


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