For quality mementos, professionals provide peace of mind
By Theresa Washburn
The cameras flash and the poses come naturally, the couple gazing into each other’s eyes, their faces filled with smiles and laughter. It’s a day to remember each tender look, each joyful moment, all captured with confidence by an expert photographer who snaps images to tell a story of union and love. So why skimp on the important opportunity to encapsulate all the special moments of the day? With modern photo and video capabilities it’s surprising how many people consider letting their good friend or relative take charge of recording history with a camera. But there are good reasons to think twice about skipping the professional and putting an amateur on the scene.
Assurance and insurance
Using a professional assures you the quality shots that you’ll remember forever. “On this day, you need someone who can provide help from beginning to end,” says Diane Knothe of Apropos Photography. With almost six years of experience shooting weddings, she knows that a good wedding photographer is more than just a person with a camera. “The photographer can help organize a group moving to the next event, get people in place, and make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable. The more comfortable and happy the wedding party is, the better the end product.”
Beyond the photograph itself, a professional photographer also offers the insurance that the photos will be safe. “Professional photographers provide image protection to care for the photos,” explains Jordana Snyder of Jordana Snyder Photography. Snyder, who specializes in wedding and engagement photography, cannot overemphasis the importance of the back-up process. “We download on the computer and store off-site so there is no chance of losing the photos.” With a professional, the unthinkable possibility of an accidental deletion, a lost camera or failed hard-drive disaster is eliminated.
Quantity adds another perspective
Whether it is providing a second photographer, eyeing a different camera angle, or someone to hold umbrellas and handle off-camera flashes, professional photographers and videographers offer much more than a solo shooter. “People want natural, but sometimes natural doesn’t come off outside like people think,” says Tonja Pichette of Pichette Photography. “If you want the orange flowers, the green grass, and the purple bridesmaids dresses to pop, an off-camera flash and other equipment is necessary.”
The techniques Pichette and her crew employ eliminate the irregularity of the sunlight but keep the colors powerful and the look fresh. Knothe adds an extra photographer to insure that she doesn’t miss important moments. “It’s a huge bonus because you get more than one angle on the day,” she explains. “We use as many as six cameras to create the wedding movie,” says Jan-Arden Petersen of Artistic Video Productions. With the trend for wedding videography entering into the standard of indy documentary movie production, even the name for videographers has changed to filmmakers. In his 15th year as co-owner of Artistic Video Production, Petersen has seen an evolution in both the technology and the way the film is shot. “With our staff, we can create a story of the day with a movie-style edits.”
Quality in technology and experience
While the professionals admit that technology has helped the amateur produce crisper photos, few who dabble in the art will drop the cash needed for high-quality, professional equipment. “Just one lens can cost $1,500,” says Knothe, and that lens will work beautifully in a variety of light levels from a dark church to the bright outdoor banquet. Most pros come equipped with an arsenal of hardware, software, and the latest gadgets for a guarantee of fabulous wedding-day photos.
In addition, professionals educate themselves on the newest trends and techniques. “I always attend seminars during the slow season, in Minneapolis and Chicago,” says Snyder. Last year, Pichette attended a workshop with a nationally recognized photographer who taught her how to freeze the frame for a group jump. “Jumping was really in last year,” explains Pichette. “But it can be difficult to get a good shot of 12 bridesmaids jumping!” Knothe is part of a professional photographers organization and attends both online classes and off-site seminars. “I am always improving on something, there is always something to learn,” she says.
The pro photographer also provides more than digital images, they guide the couple in selection of the hard copies—from the framed photo hung on the wall to the best photos for the album. Professionals source out the printing for superior images that no home printer can match. “We use printing labs not available to the public,” says Snyder, who believes the printed product should be flawless.
The artistic flair
The professionals agree that the art and style of individual photographers and filmmakers need to be considered prior to hiring them. “You need to look at portfolios and make sure that your style fits the photographer’s style,” says Pichette. In photography, it can mean the mood, angles, and the overall feel. Filmmaking encompasses both visuals and audio. To create a story of the day, sound techs capture a mix of soft comments between the bride and groom, ambient sound, and formal vows. “Industry states that the audio is 50 percent of the film,” says Petersen. “We use a sound tech because that portion of the whole event is so important.”
From high quality equipment and years of experience to trusted techniques and back-up security, the professional photographer and filmmakers are the ones to trust with the memories that will last a lifetime.