Qualifying a Professional Photographer or Videographer?

 
by Daniel E. Paano

With advancement in today's technology, there are now plenty of enthusiasts photographers and videographers out there who own fancy DSLR cameras or capable phones that take photos and video. So what’s the difference between a photographer that charge $250 and one that charges $2500?

What makes a professional wedding photographer a professional?

Style.

Wedding style is an important aspect for a professional photographer or videographer to have an expertise in. Today's wedding photos and videos are definitely not like how they were when our parents got married. Thanks in great part to the internet, there are a lot of different styles and trends that have emerged. So whether it's High-Fashion, Artistic Glamour, Photojournalism or Traditional photography, a professional photographer will have developed a style particular to his own that suits the wedding couple or be well-versed in all to be able to accommodate for what the clients have imagined for their wedding photos or videos.

Wedding Expertise.

Professional wedding photographers have expertise in all different types of weddings, cultural, and religious observance. Every wedding is just a little different from the last, so professional photographers and videogaphers have the expertise to be knowledgeable with traditions that go with particular weddings, such as a Chinese/Vietnamese tea ceremony with Asian weddings or the traditional 'barong tagalog' in Filipino traditional weddings.

Experience.

Aside from the dictionary definition that a professional photographer is one who makes a living as a phtotographer, experience in photographing, leading, facilitating, and coordinating weddings is a lot more work than most people realize. 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. We invest in the time to better our craft. The more we shoot, the more we learn, and the better we are prepared for those unforeseen 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 the Uncle Bob’s out there.

Equipment.

Professional grade cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment is another big difference between professional wedding photographers and amateur photographers. But owning them does not necessarily make you a professional photographer, in as much as actually knowing how to use them is a trait of a professional photographer. Professional photogaphers and videographers have the know-how to use entry level cameras to create professioanl results. But professional level equipment allow photographers and videographers to have full control of their camera settings, to focus more accurately, and to handle low-light situations much better than consumer-grade equipment. We not only invest in our equiptment, we also invest in the time to learn every aspect of gear. Indoor wedding ceremony or indoor wedding receptions too often run into challenging low light conditions, an amateur who shoots only in automatic mode 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. Every Professional was once an amateur, so we have been there before and know what it is like to not have reliable professional level equipment to get the shot you envision.

Insurance.

Liability Insurance is usually not on the mind of amateur photographers or the wedding couple, but it’s something that seasoned-professionals think of. Who is liable when camera equipment is stolen during or after shooting a wedding? What if a guest is injured or property is damaged from equipment that falls over? Professional wedding photographers should all have liability insurance for their equipment and for those unfortunate situations. A $1,000,000 Liability Insurance at minimum is just one requirement at high-end wedding venues required of vendors and that million dollar liability falls on the wedding couple who takes a chance on hiring amateur photographers who is not covered by insurance. Our insurance covers us when we’re on the job, which means you won't have to.

These are just a few of the differences between professional photographers and amateur photographers.
Feel free to CONTACT US for more info or to find out how we can help you capture your big event!