What Makes a Professional Wedding Photographer a Professional?

There are plenty of photographers out there who own fancy DSLR cameras, so what’s the difference between a photographer that costs $500 and one that costs $5000?

What makes a professional wedding photographer a professional?

Experience. Experience photographing, leading, facilitating, and coordinating weddings is a lot more work than most people would assume. The ability to make adjustments on the fly, control crowds, and keep the itinerary going according to schedule is something that we learn through experience. The more we shoot, the more we learn, and the better we are prepared for worse-case scenarios. Experience being the lead photographer and handling the bumps and hiccups during a wedding day is just one of the aspects that separates professional wedding photographers from the amateur photographers and Uncle Bob’s  out there.

Equipment. Professional grade cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment is another big difference between professional wedding photographers and amateur photographers. Professional photography equipment allows photographers to fully control their camera settings, to focus more accurately, and to handle low-light situations better than consumer-grade equipment. In low-light situations, such as an indoor wedding ceremony or indoor wedding reception, an amateur would have a difficult time focusing for a shot or snap a photo that is not bright enough due to their equipment and/or lack of experience using his/her gear. Not only do professionals need all the tools for the job but they also need to know how to utilize and maximize everything they have during a shoot. Professionals were once amateurs, so we have been there before and know what it is like to not have professional equipment to get the shot you envision.

Wedding Expertise. Professional wedding photographers have expertise in all different types of weddings, religions, and cultures. Every wedding is a little different from the last, so professional photographers have the expertise to be knowledgeable with traditions that go with particular weddings, such as Asian weddings with a Chinese/Vietnamese tea ceremony, the Ketubah and Chuppah involved with Jewish weddings, the P’ye-Baek ceremony during Korean weddings, and the importance of Mehndi in Indian weddings.

Wedding style is an important aspect for a professional photographer to have an expertise in as well. Wedding photos are definitely not like how they were when our parents got married and lots of new styles and trends have recently emerged thanks to the Internet. Whether it’s photojournalism, traditional photography, high-fashion photography, or artistic photography, a professional should be well-versed in all to be able to accommodate for what his/her clients love and imagine for their wedding photos.

Liability Insurance. Insurance is not always on the mind of amateur photographers, but it’s something that seasoned-professionals think of. What happens when camera equipment is stolen during or after shooting a wedding? What if a guest is injured or property is damaged from a light stand that falls over? Professional wedding photographers should all have liability insurance for their equipment and for those unfortunate situations. Our liability insurance covers up to $1,000,000 in damages when we’re on the job, which is the minimum requirement for high-end wedding venues for vendors.

Those are just a few of the bigger differences between professional photographers and amateur photographers that we can think of at the moment. We are more than happy to chat some more about what it takes for us to be full-time professional wedding photographers, so feel free to CONTACT US for more info!

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