Investing in a professional wedding photographer will save you many many headaches. Markets are ruled by the aesthetics, personal preferences and having the best Photographer your budget can pay, is key for having your most precious moments documented in the most beautiful way possible.

Defining a Professional Wedding Photographer

But what it takes to define any photographer as professional or not? Well, there is indeed a huge debate between what it takes to be a Professional Photographer, and it usually competes with the not so flattering concept of Amateur Photographer. The equation is pretty simple and is like this, any Professional Photographer is someone that perceives more than 50% of their income due to selling Photography Services. Therefore a Professional Photographer is not that individual that has a heavy and big DSLR with a whole arsenal of lenses and flashes, but the one that makes its living on a sustainable business model. This will force him to have insurance, stay on top of the market, invest in his education and plan long term.


palm springs ceremony by professional wedding photographer

All of us started as Amateurs, but we recognized it

There is nothing wrong with being an amateur photographer. Many of us started that way, and some great photographers are producing splendid work as amateurs because they simply don’t sustain their lives around photography.

When it comes to Wedding Photography, there is a particular road map that is considered healthy to take. Each and every serious professional wedding photographer I know, started their careers as amateur, but they were honest about their state and didn’t dare to call themselves Professional Photographers, like a lot of new pseudo-professional wedding photographers that are confusing many clients when they need to take a decision on what photographer to call for their beloved wedding event.

The roadmap is simple, any amateur photographer that is willing to become a professional, starts to work as a staff member or even as an apprentice of a formally established brand of wedding photography services. There they practice and practice until their style is refined into something that can be offered in a market that has zero-tolerance for failure. This period of time takes longer to other photographers but is healthy to undergo. The reason why is healthy is that they get to practice at real weddings, and they reduce failure when delivering photographs because they are part of a staff. This is something that simply doesn’t happen with self-called professional photographers that are just mere wannabes.

So, how to spot a wannabe wedding photographer?


Indian Groom baarat by professional wedding photographer

There are some tricks to spot a not serious photographer playing to be a professional one. First of all, the lack of a solid crew. Weddings are massive, and flying solo on them is just not the wisest move, so if you find a magnificent one-man-army photographer that assures to handle the whole thing by himself, it’s probably a stretch. There are situations when it’s possible to cover a wedding solo, especially when it’s not a big wedding.  Weddings are full of moments and actions happening at simultaneous places throughout the whole thing, and having a talented crew covering it, is the smartest move of all and pros know this.

Another great tool for spotting wannabe pros is to ask for a portfolio. If that portfolio lacks consistency, and a wedding target, you better politely turn them down. The thing is that Professional Wedding Photographers usually work only around weddings because is a broad niche that requires specialization in order to excel. If you receive a portfolio that has dogs, events, flowers, street, nature, and weddings, you should not trust them for your wedding at all.


Don’t ask to have the service as a favor

Don’t expect to get great results if you have a friend that happens to have a fancy camera, and that they will take the most amazing pictures of the world. It could happen but is too serendipitous in my opinion.

Bride and bridesmaids portrait in Palm Springs.jpg

Allow your friends to practice at your wedding if you wish

A good practice is that you invite those friends (1 or 2, do not overcrowd the thing) to be part of your wedding and if they’ll like to take some pictures at the big day with no strings attached. They’ll thank it with all their heart, and they could deliver great material for the ephemeral social media platforms since they’ll fade away faster than you wish due to the endless content posting dynamics.

The importance of trusting a Professional Wedding Photographer for your wedding
The importance of trusting a Professional Wedding Photographer for your wedding relies on the fact that yours won’t be the first wedding they’ll cover, and they’ll certainly have a backup plan if something happens on the Big Day. Weddings are the summit of meticulous efforts around logistics that will last a few hours, everything has to be clockwork. You will probably pay some serious money for images at a wedding but memories will be vividly saved for you and your loved ones.

So, hiring a professional wedding photographer I think is one of those obvious decision ones should make.

Attila Iuhasz is a professional wedding photographer in Los Angeles with expertise in capturing your wedding day moments, creating unique bridal and couple portraits.

He currently also runs a wedding photography blog.