Hi! I am Chastidyi from Star Noir Studio. I am the photographer, editor, and all-around-do-everything girl for my small business. It is my baby, and I have spent five years nurturing it into something I can be proud to share with my brides. My two associate photographers and I use a lifestyle/photojournalistic approach to cover all kinds of weddings in the east Tennessee area from barn weddings to the ultra glam, and we love every moment of it! Our images are more about whimsy and fun than ultra posed or formal, and I enjoy spending time with each and every one of my brides on their wedding days.
There are many options out there for photographers, and I wanted to share some insight about professional and nonprofessional photographers that will hopefully keep you from having a wedding day horror story.
#1 Experience. Most craigslist photographers don’t have any. They are probably just starting out and trying to build up their portfolio so they are offering you what seems like a great deal to help them get more pictures. Would you want a first year med student performing a major surgery on you? Of course not. While your photographer won’t hold your life or death in their hands, they do hold your memories. Be careful about trusting the tangible memories from one of the most special days of your life to someone who may have never had that responsibility before. If they are not familiar with the ebb and flow of a wedding day, they may not be in the right positions to get the photos you are hoping for. Uncle Bob may be great at getting a beautiful photo of the roses in his backyard, but he might be a little overwhelmed trying to wrangle your ten person wedding party.
#2 Reliability. On your wedding day, you need someone who is going to show up early to get the lay of the land, be prepared for any mishaps, and then deliver what they have promised. If you choose a craigslister, you may find that you booked someone who was dabbling in photography and has since closed their business. Or, you may find that the images they used were cobbled together from other photographers to make it look like they have a legitimate portfolio then they take your money and disappear. If you luck up and find one that does show up on the wedding day, what happens if their camera messes up? Pros know to have a backup in case this happens, but hobbyists may not have an additional camera. Finally, you want to know that you will be receiving your images–and not six months after the wedding day (or with a pesky pimple showing up in every image).
#3 Consistency. A beginning photographer hasn’t had a chance to develop a consistent style. Because they are often still trying to find their voice, it is possible that the photos they take three months from now will be edited completely differently from what you see in their portfolio today–they may fall in love with a crazy filter or set of presets that make their photos look very different from what you hoped. A beginning photographer will also not have had a chance to become consistent in their business practices which could lead them to not have their equipment or other resources prepared for your wedding day.
#4 Quality. This is a biggie. Have you heard the old adage that you get what you pay for? In this case, it is often true. The quality of service and products a professional photographer offers is going to be higher than a hobbyist or craigslister which is why they charge more. Pros have high-end equipment and software that often costs thousands of dollars–not just a canon rebel with a kit lens. Though the equipment doesn’t make the photographer, it can make a great image into an even better one by allowing the photographer to capture images in lower light, with less graininess, in higher resolution, and faster–which keeps them from missing those important moments. Professionals will often have college educations specializing in the industry which allows them to know the technical aspects of the equipment and software as well as have a solid knowledge of artistry that will help them think outside the box to help you get images that are aesthetically beautiful and meaningful to you. Pros also spend time and money going to workshops to learn the latest and best techniques and to improve their craft so that you get the best images possible. They run real businesses with business licenses, sales and income taxes, marketing expenses, personnel, and other assorted expenses. Pros have spent time and effort researching the best products to offer that will last you and your family a lifetime. Many professionals also spend time after the wedding day editing your images to make them fabulous instead of just dumping them onto a disc so the 8 hours they spent photographing on the day of the wedding could turn into another 40 hours of editing depending upon the processes they use and the final product they are producing.
There are always other factors to consider when choosing your photographer–such as personality (you are going to be spending a lot of time with them on a stressful day–make sure you get along), style (if you like a crisp, clean look you don’t want to choose someone who uses lots of filters), affordability (many photographers will work with you and offer payment options and plans so that you can have them at your wedding). However, when you are looking for someone to photograph your wedding keep these four important things in mind… experience, reliability, consistency, and quality. If you decide you want a pro, we would love to hear from you!
Star Noir Studio
Smokey Mountain Sounds looks forward to helping you with your Gatlinburg Wedding in the Smoky Mountains.