Is it possible for an “amateur” photographer to do a terrific job at a wedding?

08-11-2013



Your wedding is fast approaching and as the anxiety grows in everyone associated with the big day, two big concerns weigh on everybody’s mind.  Those are…

(1) How can we reduce the stress of this big day? 
(2) How can we cut the costs?

These two questions are in conflict with each other too because in order to reduce stress, you have to increase the work that someone has to do.  Sometime during the preparation time frame, the idea will come up, why don’t we let “John Macharia” do our wedding pictures?  John Macharia may be someone’s brother who is “really good at photography” or just a friend of the family.  The appeal is that they will save you a pile of money and probably do just as good a job as the expensive photographers.

While you certainly want to watch out before you turn over this important job, maybe you or someone in the wedding party can take the photos as well as a professional.  After all, how many wedding nightmares have you heard about a professional photographer who either damaged the romantic nature of the ceremony by butting in too often, aggravated the guests by blotting out their view of the wedding to get an action shot or charged an arm and a leg only to deliver poor quality photos.

In truth, it is entirely possible for an “amateur” photographer to do a terrific job taking pictures at the wedding.  But there are some guidelines you should follow if that job has fallen to you.  If you are reading this as the bride, groom or anxious mother and you are considering using a friend for these photos, spend an hour going over these guidelines and not only will you get better pictures, your anxiety level will go down too.

1.    Know your equipment inside and out.  Whether you are using a run of the mill digital camera or an expensive set up that has taken you years to work up, make sure everything is in top-notch working order and that you are thoroughly familiar with every nuance of the machine.  Remember Murphy’s Law.  If anything can go wrong, it will.  So keep Murphy out of the wedding by checking and double checking your camera and related equipment.

2.    Have spares of everything possible.  If there are batteries involved with the operation of the camera, have several spare sets on hand and know where they are.  If the batteries go out as the bride and party are posed at the alter, you don’t want an hour delay why you run to the 7-11 to get more.  The same goes for flash bulbs and even the camera itself.  Have spares of everything possible so Murphy just goes to the next wedding down the road to make his mess.

3.    The photo is about more than the bride and groom.  If you are used to “staging” your pictures, you may not worry that often with activity in the room.  After all, if everybody is posing, the environment is controlled.  This will not be the case during an action shot like during the wedding or reception.  So keep a keen awareness of the room, the activity around the subjects, the lighting and background props.  You don’t want to produce the perfect shot of bride and groom kissing only to have Cousin Ned gagging on the cake in the background.

4.    Be aware of glare from windows, lights and eyeglasses.  These can sneak up on you.

As a rule, someone who is part of the event can get great shots because they know the people and can be mixing as those wonderful “little moments” occur.  So it’s worth a try if you feel good about the skills of your photographer and they follow these little guidelines.