Dr. Alan Viau

The 3 Challenges for Amateur Wedding Photographers

By Rev. Alan Viau

I hear this answer 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 me climbing into a NASCAR saying I am a contender. I might be able to drive the car, but I won’t win the 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 our wedding day to be 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 on 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 their 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 do no all have ideal lighting conditions. They seem to be either too dim or back-lit. Both conditions do not bother a professional since they have encountered them before and know what to do. I’ve seen a bride and groom wait a whole two minutes and ruin their walk down the aisle so the photographer could try to adjust the camera for a bright background. Professionals would have already planned that shot and adjusted accordingly.

Catch the Moment

There are key times during the day when predictable and surprising special moments can occur. A professional knows about these and anticipates them whereas an amateur does not. These moments are fleeting and need to be captured or they will be gone forever. And it is not only about the bride and groom, but the audience around them as well . 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 compositional talents and the post-shoot editing is where the photographer expresses 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 make you go “Wow”. 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.

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