The 3 Challenges for Amateur Wedding Photographers

I hear it often when I ask who is taking the wedding pictures; a friend with a good camera. A good camera does not a good photographer make. It would be like my climbing into a NASCAR saying I am a contender. I can drive it but won’t win a race.

Your wedding is important. Some deem it to be the most important day of your life. Certainly when I married my Sweetheart, I considered it a milestone of my life – one I still believe to be life changing. I’ve loved my 33 years with her. When it came to deciding on a wedding photographer – we wanted someone who would do a quality job. Every year at our anniversary – we haul out the photo album, chuckle at the cigar picture and remember the day – over a glass of bubbly.

So I am always somewhat stunned when couples who will spend thousands on the day will skimp on a professional photographer and have a ‘friend’ do it. I’ve seen many an amateur photographer struggle and stress over three challenges.


Wedding locations are not ideal lighting conditions. They seem to be either too dim or back-lit. Both conditions do not bother a professional since they have encountered these before and know what to do. I’ve had a bride and groom wait a whole two minutes and ruin their walk down the aisle as the photographer tried to adjust their camera to a bright background. Professionals have already planned that shot and adjust accordingly.

Catch the Moment

There are key times during the day when predictable and surprise special moments occur. A professional knows this, anticipates them – an amateur does not. These are fleeting and need to be captured or they are gone forever. And it is not only about the bride and groom – but the audience around them. A pro is environment aware.


Post-Shoot Editing

We live in a digital age. Many people can take some nice shots. But a professional has the experience and expertise to transform your photo into a piece of art in post-shoot editing. The taking of the photo requires composition talent and the post-shoot editing is where they express their art. You can distinguish the photographers ‘look’ by their website gallery. How have they represented the bride and groom? Are they dreamy, dramatic, vintage, realistic or surrealist? Most amateur shots are ‘nice’ shots. They are not artistic.

When I am asked – I always advise brides and grooms to hire a professional whose gallery photos you go “Wow” to. These are the kind of wedding photos you want to have to remember your day – your story – 30 years later over a glass of bubbly.