Planning a wedding can be overwhelming and stressful. After more than a decade in the wedding industry, I’ve seen and heard a lot of crazy things when it comes to photography, so I’m here to help by busting some of the top wedding photography myths!
MYTH: It’s too expensive / I can’t afford it
BUSTED: Everyone has a budget for their wedding and priorities within that budget. For some people having an amazing DJ to create an awesome party is their top priority; for others, it’s five-star dining for their guests. While those things are amazing, they’re also as fleeting as your wedding day! Beyond your new spouse and your shiny new wedding ring, the main thing you’ll have left after your wedding is your wedding photos. Consider how you’ll feel if your only memories are blurry, dark photos that only vaguely capture the day you so carefully planned.
Professional photographers come at a wide variety of price points and oftentimes can customize a package to meet your needs, so spend some time doing research and reading reviews on photography pros in your area. Ask recently married friends for recommendations and meet with your top 2-3 choices to see which wedding photographer works best for you.
MYTH: I’ll just have someone take photos with their cell phone
BUSTED: While cell phone cameras are getting better all the time, nothing beats professional camera gear, especially in low light! Wedding photographers shoot with super high-resolution cameras (which means you can make huge prints to hang over your fireplace) that have slots for dual memory cards to backup your images as they’re taken and high-end lenses and off-camera flash that bring even the dimmest rooms to life. Unlike professional cameras, there’s also a lag on camera phones when the button is pushed, meaning you might miss key moments.
MYTH: We don’t need a lot of time for family photos
BUSTED: If you have a big family and want photos with all of them, or even if you have a small family but want lots of different combinations, formal family portraits will take time. And family members tend to wander after the ceremony, adding to the time it takes to capture the images.
There are a few things you can do before the big day to speed the process. Talk to your photographer about who exactly you want in the family photos. Parents, siblings, and grandparents and my usual suggestions to couples and I love having a list of exactly what combinations my couples want. Let your photographer know if there are any step-parents and how they should be included in the photos to avoid any potentially uncomfortable moments on your wedding day. Alert family members before the wedding that you’d like them to stay for photos and set a meeting place for them to go after the ceremony. With all that preparation, your family photos will go more smoothly and quickly.
You might also consider doing a first look before the ceremony with your spouse-to-be! This would allow you to do your couple, wedding party, and family photos before the ceremony so you can go enjoy your cocktail hour!
MYTH: My family/friend can take all the pics we need
BUSTED: If they’re a professional photographer, that’s awesome! But your average person—and even some hobbyist photographers—lack the understanding of how to properly light in a dark room (like most churches or reception venues) or don’t understand the timing for capturing key wedding moments, leaving you and risk for lackluster images—and a damaged relationship with that person!
MYTH: Photographers are lucky—they only work one day a week
BUSTED: If only that was the case! Oftentimes wedding photographers will shoot two weddings on a weekend and also engagement photo sessions during the week! Add editing, emails, social media posting, bookkeeping, and all the other things necessary to run a business, and photographers typically work 40+ hour weeks! Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do, but it’s definitely a full-time job! [Lori’s Note: this was written on a Monday, my “day off” after shooting two weddings this past weekend]
MYTH: I need to tell my photographers what to take pictures of
BUSTED: The reality is, all photographers work differently. Some photographers welcome lists and even require them, others don’t need or want them. Typically a list of family photo groupings (as mentioned above) is welcome as they speed up the formal family portraits. Before you book a photographer, ask how they like to work to ensure you’re on the same page!
MYTH: My photographer needs to have shot at my venue previously / tour my venue before my wedding
BUSTED: Is it helpful? Sure! Is it necessary? Nope! Wedding photographers are super adept at walking into new situations and creating amazing images on the fly. All venues are different and even look different (or are lit differently) on different days and flexibility and the ability to adapt to new situations and different lighting are some of the most important skills a wedding photographer can have! That said, it is okay to ask if they’ve shot at your venue before and, if so, to see images from that wedding!
MYTH: It can be fixed in Photoshop.
BUSTED: Can it? Sure. Should it be? Not necessarily! It takes two seconds to tuck in your stray bra strap and maybe 5-10 minutes to fix it in Photoshop, so Photoshop isn’t always the answer! Also, depending on the type of retouching needed to fix something in Photoshop, it may be an extra charge from your photographer.
MYTH: My photographer can edit my pictures however I want, even changing their style for me.
BUSTED: If you like light and airy photos, hire someone who shoots and edits that way. Prefer dark and moody or timeless and true-to-life? Hire someone who shoots and edits in those styles. Hiring someone whose style is dark and moody, then asking them to shoot and edit light and airy is like buying a ticket for Disney and then trying to use it to get into Universal.
Additionally, most photographers have in their contract that you are prohibited from editing the photos they deliver—and that includes Instagram filters. So save yourself the heartache and the headache and hire a photographer whose style you like!
MYTH: The most expensive photographer is the best photographer
BUSTED: Photographers set their pricing based on several factors and, yes, skill and talent can be one of those factors. But pricing is also based on so many things, not the least of which is our cost of doing business. Truly the best photographer is one whose work you love and who is insured and has the necessary city and state business licenses.
MYTH: I need a photographer for 14 hours
BUSTED: It really depends on your plan for the day and what photos are important to you. Your photographer (or potential photographer) can go through your wedding day timeline and make suggestions on how much coverage you need. You don’t necessarily need a photographer the entire time you’re getting ready or for your entire reception, so a good photographer can help you balance your photographic wishlist with your budget!
MYTH: I need to book a photo/video team
BUSTED: If you happen to love the style of a joint photo/video team, go for it! If not, know that the majority of professional photographers and videographers are happy to work with each other to ensure that each other get the best quality photos and video for the couple!
MYTH: I need to book a photographer ASAP (or I can wait till the last minute and get a good photographer)
BUSTED: Getting married in peak season? Booking your photographer early is highly recommended! Or if there’s a photographer that you’re absolutely obsessed with, I definitely suggest booking them early in the process since they can only shoot one wedding a day! Can you snag a deal by waiting until the last minute? Possibly, but you run the risk of not getting the photographer or style of photography that you want!
MYTH: I don’t need engagement photos.
BUSTED: Need? No. But they’re a great way to help you get used to being in front of the camera before your wedding day. Being engaged is also a special—and fleeting—time in your life. It’s the time that the two of you decided to spend the rest of your lives together, why not capture that moment in time with a gorgeous set of photos?
MYTH: I’ll have my wedding photos back the next day
BUSTED: This is another one that’s photographer dependant. It’s important when you’re considering hiring a photographer to ask what their turnaround time is and to ensure that it’s stated in their contract. (And if you’re hiring a wedding photographer who doesn’t use a contract, well, just don’t!) Editing images takes time and 4-6 weeks seems to be the average turnaround time, with many wedding photographers providing sneak peeks within a week of the wedding.
MYTH: One photographer is fine, I don’t need a second shooter
BUSTED: Weddings can absolutely be done with a single photographer. However, bigger weddings can certainly benefit from having a second shooter. A second shooter allows getting ready coverage of both people simultaneously and allows things like capturing different angles during that first look or the walk down the aisle. That said, if your photography budget is tight, not having a second shooter may be a good place to cut costs.
MYTH: I don’t need an album, I only want digital files
BUSTED: I get it—everything is in the cloud these days. But remember flipping through your parent’s or grandparent’s wedding album as a child? Scrolling through the cloud through a mass of digital images just isn’t the same! A wedding album tells the story of your day from start to finish and is the first heirloom of your new family.
MYTH: I look awkward in / don’t take good photos / am not photogenic
BUSTED: Everyone can look good in photos! A good professional will take the time to make their clients comfortable and pose them in flattering ways. And yes, we do sometimes capture those awkward-looking faces. That’s the reason that we don’t deliver every single photo captured on your wedding day! We edit out the photos that would make you feel less-than-confident and deliver the images that show you at your amazing best!
MYTH: I don’t need to feed the photographer(s)
BUSTED: When you work an eight-hour day, you need to eat lunch, right? So do we! The reality is, it’s rare for us to sit down during the eight (or more) hours we work at your wedding, so feeding us keeps our energy up to ensure great pictures! And many photographers have something in their contract that if a meal is not provided by the couple, they can leave the event for up to 30 minutes to get food. So please, feed your photographer(s)! The reality is, we typically inhale the provided meal in 3.2 minutes and get right back to shooting because it’s typically the time for an important event, like a toast or a special dance, but we truly appreciate being fed!