I am here today to implore you to be extra careful when hiring a wedding photographer. I was not, and I've lived to regret it.
My husband and I are both extremely introverted, as well as highly camera shy. We are not the couple that takes selfie after selfie. We only have a few special photos from our time as a dating couple and later engaged couple. For all of these reasons, I was sure that we would not care very much about wedding photos. My small budget allowed for a venue, food, attire, and flowers. The flowers were done very inexpensively by a close friend I trusted, and she did a fabulous job. Luckily, my venue came with a wedding planner and was already well decorated on its own, so that saved me money as well.
We were not going to be able to afford a professional photographer at $2000 or more. There was just not way that was going to happen. A co-worker of mine who loves to do photography offered to do it all for free. She assured me she'd done wedding photos before, and she even showed me several that she had taken and I liked them. They weren't professional quality photos, but they looked good considering I would be getting it for free.
My "photographer" met with me at the venue the week before and enthusiastically talked about her plans for some creative shots around the venue, especially in the front of the house (a VERY cool place), and informed me that she was enlisting some former students to assist her with the whole affair. She talked about bringing in equipment, light deflectors, tripods, etc. I was so excited with all her plans.
She showed up late the day of my wedding by herself with an amateur camera and nothing else. When we did our posed shots, she took us to the brightest part of the back yard (not the front) and just snapped a few plain shots. We were all squinting.
I was too delirious that day to push for what I wanted. The whole thing was a whirlwind and I was anxious about the wedding in general, otherwise I would have had the presence of mind to say, "What the heck are you doing? This isn't what we talked about!" I have guests who took better photos on their cell phones (thank goodness for Instagram).
Out of the 3000 photos she *claims* to have taken, I've seen 90 candid shots of pre-wedding and reception events. Of the 90 I've seen, I'm moderately happy with about 18 of them. She says she will get me more, but keeps putting me off. I still haven't seen any photos from the ceremony itself, or any with my parents, my bridesmaids, etc.
I'm so furious, but mainly I'm furious with myself for being so stupid. There's no way I could have known how much these photos would mean to me, so that is why I am writing this post. Most of you may be thinking, "Duh! Of course we want great photos!" This post is not for you. You're smarter than me. This post is for brides like me who didn't think they would care, and figured they would save a little money by going with an amateur.
We are setting up a re-take photo shoot with a professional photographer. The owners of our venue are being gracious enough to let us come back and get some portraits taken around their beautiful grounds so that we can have something nice to frame. We can't recreate the entire day, but at least we can somewhat salvage the results of my foolish decision.
I hope this has encouraged someone who was on the fence to go ahead and figure out how to hire a trustworthy photographer. These are incredibly special memories that you will never be able to get back!