Ryan hender films


801-349-6546        Utah videographer

As Seen in The Knot Magazine
Things to consider when hiring a professional Photographer or Videographer


Today I want to talk to you about photography and the importance of hiring a professional wedding photographer, opposed to letting a friend with a good camera do it, leaving it to your guests or hiring a non-wedding photographer.

Yes I know I talk a lot about photography on the blog but I really do feel it is a part of the wedding that is really important to get!

As a photographer, videographer and a blogger I have heard a number of horror stories about wedding photography. Couples choosing to let 'a friend' do it, or 'I know someone with a good camera', or 'we're just going to let our guests take the photos'.

Many people when they first start planning their wedding and researching prices may think that a photographer comes with a hefty price tag; 'they only do one day's work a week' or 'their job is simple', well think again.

A Photographer will (in some cases) meet with you for an initial consultation, they will then have email or skype contact with you before the wedding, they will listen to your plans and answer your questions, in some cases acting as an unpaid wedding planner. On the day of the wedding they will be with you for 10-12 hours.

Think of the last time that you went to a local photography studio. Most of the time you are in studio for less than an hour, and you end up with just a few images, maybe you end up with a dozen edited images. These studios are already setup with all the equipment ready to use, and you end up spending $100-$300 or even more, for a mere 45-60 minutes of their studio's time.

In the case of a wedding photographer, they are expected to lug around all of their gear to your location and adjust constantly to changes in light, group size, and often changing lenses for different effects. Now multiply the amount that you spent at your last studio portrait shoot by the amount of hours you will have your wedding photographer working for you.

Let's say for example your typical family portrait session at your local studio costs $150/hr. Your wedding photographer will spend 1-3 hours with you before you even decide if you want him/her to work for you. You will then work with them another 1-3 times for an hour or so each time before the wedding day. If you were to pay your wedding photographer the same money you pay your family portrait studio, you 'd pay $7,950-$10,500.
Interesting way to look at it huh!

After this they will design your wedding album, another day or two worth of work. Most photographers will shoot with 2 cameras each costing thousands, as well as a back-up camera in case anything goes wrong.
They will pay for insurance, some have studio hire, and then there is their transport and hotel fees for those weddings further from home. All in all wedding photography isn't cheap because it isn't a cheap business to set up, maintain or run.

Why hiring a professional photographer is a good idea.

I have spent literally a thousand hours training to be a photographer and another thousand or so photographing weddings. I know how to get the shot predictably every time. I know how to compose the shot beautifully and then execute it with skill and precision. It is the experience of being at 100s of different weddings that allows me to know just where to look and when. I know the time in the wedding when I can sneak a shot of your dad looking at you with a tear in his eye.

I know how to work in tricky lighting. I can walk into any room and know within seconds where the best spot is to stand and where the best light will be.


I am experienced in dealing with the raw emotions of a wedding day. I know how to get mom to stop repeating the time every 10 minutes whilst the bride breaks out into a cold sweat because she might be 3 minutes late for the wedding. I know how to get you calmed down when the flowers show up and they are the wrong color. More reasons!


A non-professional won't carry back up gear with them, a professional will. If anything goes wrong with one camera then they will always have another one with them, this means that. It also means that they will know what to do if a memory card corrupts or if the battery runs out they will always have a spare one.


Your guests won't always know how to light a dark venue such as a barn or a tipi. Going from a dark venue to a light venue requires you to monitor the light constantly and react by changing iso, aperture and shutter speed.


What if your friend is ill on the day? Will they have someone they can call in an emergency? A professional will have a network of photographers and 2nd shooters they can call upon in an emergency.


A friend or guest won't have insurance, what if something goes wrong and they cause an accident? Hiring a professional photographer who doesn't have experience of weddings can also be a bad move. These people won't know the general running of a wedding day, what happens when and where they need to be for the bet shots. Yes they may photograph landscapes beautifully but do they have experience of moving from group shots to close up shots of flowers all in the same breath?


If you get a friend or your guests to take the photos are they really going to be committed to the whole day? Guests will get drunk and a friend with a good camera may not realize the full impact of a wedding.

​A Photographer will (in some cases) meet with you for an initial consultation, they will then have email or skype contact with you before the wedding, they will listen to your plans and answer your questions, in some cases acting as an unpaid wedding planner. It is the experience of being at 100s of different weddings that allows me to know just where to look and when. I know the time in the wedding when I can sneak a shot of your dad looking at you with a tear in his eye. I know how to get mom to stop repeating the time every 10 minutes whilst the bride breaks out into a cold sweat because she might be 3 minutes late for the wedding. These people won't know the general running of a wedding day, what happens when and where they need to be for the bet shots.