August 12, 2015

Can an app replace a wedding photographer?

In a word, no.

Recently, a site for photographers, DIY Photography, posted an article titled This Simple App Could Spell the End of Wedding Photographers, but that title was a little misleading.  The “app” mentioned is called Ceremony and the idea behind it is simple; put a networked app on every one of your guests’ smart phones and get them to take candid shots of your wedding for free.  Sounds great, right?  Like it’s a brilliant way to save big on your big day?
Well, consider this; do you want your vows interrupted by a dozen people with cell phones trying to find the best angle to capture you and your new spouse?  I know I wouldn’t!  Rather, it’s best to let a professional get the shots that really matter.  Shots that amateurs might not think of, like pictures of the rings and formal photos of the wedding party.  Or artistically arranged photos showing off that very expensive cake before, during and after, it’s being cut.  Or even those discrete shots of the preparations before the ceremony that make for such fantastic, and private, memories later.
Also, do you want the job of going through hundreds of tiny cell-phone photos to find the best ten or twenty?  Do you want to risk missing a shot of your favorite aunt or uncle, leaving it to a crowd of people who might not remember in the exciting how much that relative meant to you?  And, what about all the print options that an app may not offer you, and that you may not even know about, but that a professional can suggest?

Let me give you a personal story about this to illustrate the point.
The first time I got married, we ran away to Las Vegas and had a huge portfolio of professional shots that were all part of the wedding package.  I didn’t want most of the shots, even before the divorce, but a few select ones were shared with everyone who wasn’t there.  And, for me at least, they were treasured keepsakes, until we split.
The second time I got married, we did it at home.  We decided that we didn’t want a big, fancy wedding, since we had both been married before.  Instead, we opted for something super casual with catered barbecue from a local place.  We also, foolishly, decided to let our guests take our photos for us and, you guessed it, save a little money.  I am here to tell you that was the biggest mistake of my life.
We ended up with less that fifty photos of our wedding and only two or three of us.  We did get video, but that’s just not the same.  After all, some cheap, hand-held video isn’t the same thing as a photo in a frame on my desk at work.  Or on the wall in my parent’s living room 1,5oo miles away.  One of the inspirations for my creating this site was that event and my regret at not wanting the hassle of trying to find a photographer for our event.

Don’t let this happen to you!  Sure, use the app, too, to capture the candid photos at the reception, but don’t think that will ever replace paying a professional to do all the work you may not even be aware they’re doing.  Spend the money on a photographer to preserve your big day!