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Let’s face it. Weddings are crazy expensive. I’m all about finding ways to save money, and there are lots of ways you can do so. But if you only splurge on one thing for your wedding, LET IT BE PHOTOGRAPHY. Why? Because its true! If you live in any Australian city or suburb, chances are you know someone who is a “photographer” {and I use that term loosly because owning a camera does not make you a photographer, simply a camera operator} and its tempting to hire them for cheap or even have them shoot your wedding as a wedding gift to you to save money, but hear me now and believe me later, DON’T DO IT!!!

Here’s why:

1. You will not get this chance again.

This is your wedding. Hopefully you will only be having one. Isn’t it worth the investment? The #1 regret I hear from brides about their wedding day is that they are not happy with their photos. Don’t be one of them. Besides, when else will all your family and friends be gathered in one place? Probably never, except for at your funeral, and by then you won’t care. As much as we don’t like to think about it, your wedding may be the last chance you see your grandparents before they pass away. Those are the last family pictures you will ever have, and if they are not good you can’t replace them! The value of that now far exceeds the $1,000 or whatever money was saved on the photographer.

2. It’s not just for you, its for everyone who loves you.

Your uncle couldn’t capture those precious moments of the first time the groom see’s his beautiful bride, the first kiss with his Point and Shoot camera!

Of course your wedding day should be all about your and your fiance, but don’t forget how much time, effort, and money your family and wedding party have put into it as well. They deserve some nice photos to remember the occasion by. But even more than that, think about future generations. Won’t your kids and grandchildren want to see these? What girl doesn’t love seeing old wedding photos of the generations before her? This is the one aspect of your wedding (aside from your marriage itself) that will last forever.

3. A wedding photographer can anticipate what will happen next.

This is why you should not only get a great photographer, you should get a great wedding photographer. The word “photographer” encompasses a variety of people; family photographers, fashion photographers, commercial photographers, etc. Being good at one area doesn’t necessarily mean you are good at another. If you hire someone whose livelihood is shooting weddings, there is a pretty good chance they have done this enough times to not only know where they need to be in order to capture those all important moments as well as the emotions of the day.

4. A great photographer can turn an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary wedding.

I have seen this first hand on multiple occasions. A couple is on a tight budget and doesn’t have a lot of money for decor or fancy extras at their wedding. But they hire a great photographer, and lo and behold when you see the photos you would think the wedding cost twice what it really did. The photographer captures everything at its best, and everything that is wonderful about the day, and when you look at your photos you remember your wedding day fondly.

5. If it doesn’t turn out well, you don’t want to have hard feelings with a friend.

This is a big one. If you hire (or ask a favor from) a friend and the photos don’t turn out well, it can seriously damage your relationship. Every time you see that person for the rest of your life you will think of how s/he “ruined” your wedding photos. It may not be intentional, but you will. Its kind of like if they ran over your cat with their car tire. You know its not intentional, but you can’t help but associating them with this one unfortunate act.

Only the other day I was talking to a client and they told me that a friend trusted him to video their wedding, and not being a professional videographer, he realised 10 minutes into the ceremony he hadn’t pressed record because he thought it was recording. Again this is where an experienced photographer understands their equipment as well as having backup equipment should something fail.

6. So how much does a great wedding photographer cost? This depends on what all is included. Some photographers quote their rates for shooting only, while others quote packages that include both shooting and prints, albums, digital images, etc. When you are researching photographers you should keep this in mind and make sure you are comparing apples to apples with regard to pricing. That being said, I know a couple of great photographers whose coverage starts around $2,000, but you should not be startled at a base price of $3,500 either. Sure that’s a lot of money, but what you get in return is priceless and something you will value for many many years. How can you argue with that???

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