Make us your home page

Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Wedding Week: Don't trust your uncle with your wedding photos

The difference between an iPhone and a professional who knows what he is doing. Photo by Chip Litherland.

The difference between an iPhone and a professional who knows what he is doing. Photo by Chip Litherland.



Tampa Bay Times photographer and recent bride Eve Edelheit argues that photography is the one place you shouldn't outsource to a non-professional on your wedding day. Follow her advice for wedding picture bliss.

As a recent bride, I know the dollar signs — and the corresponding stress levels — begin to quickly climb before the wedding day. But skimping on photography is where many brides go wrong.

Yes, Uncle Larry has a really nice camera, and he offered to do it for free.

But your photos are the only thing you will have to remember your day. And Uncle Larry didn't realize you wanted a full 14-hour day of photography. 

Why professional = best results

Your guests came to share in one of the biggest days of your life and make sure the money you spent on the open bar is well spent. I had at least 20 professional photographers at my wedding and I STILL HIRED a professional because I wanted them to just be guests. (I hired good friend and all around amazing wedding photographer Chip Litherland for my wedding.)

Professionals are prepared to deal with bridal meltdowns, family conflict and those perfect golden hour portraits you have been dreaming of since before you got engaged. We have an amazing selection of professional wedding photographers in the Tampa Bay area; you can't go wrong. 

I also think it's important to make sure you hire a second photographer or an assistant for your main photographer. Your photographer will pick someone they feel comfortable working with and trust in a pinch. They can help provide different angles and be a back-up in important moments. Your main photographer can't be in two places at once, so you'll be disappointed when they didn't get your groom getting ready because he was photographing you putting your dress on. 

I know there is still hesitation to drop anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 on a photographer. However, you wouldn't chose a doctor for your heart surgery based on comparing their prices, right? You shouldn't do that with a photographer either; you should base it on their portfolio.

Let me explain what it goes into that amount: an 8-16 hour day of shooting; all the couple and family portraits; setting up special lighting for your first dance and cake tasting; and all of the hours it takes AFTER the wedding to edit thousands of pictures for your final package.

Where to start?

Let's say you don't work at a newspaper alongside a dozen documentary journalists. Here's what you should do.

Choose a handful of options based on what you've seen online. Marry Me Tampa Bay is strong local resource for ideas. Ask your friends (whose wedding photos you like) who shot their event. Then ask the photography candidates a few questions.

1. How would you describe your style of wedding photography?

2. What is your shooting style? Do you only do portraits or do you have more of a documentary approach? Or both?
3. Do you use a second photographer or assistant?

4. How long does it take to see my photos? (So you know this ahead of time and aren't asking too often.)

5. For the price stated, how long is your coverage? Will you just do the ceremony and reception or getting ready photos too?

Getting bang for your buck

If you hire a professional photographer, here's some advice for getting the most out of them for your money.

Make a clear schedule with all the events happening during the day so they know exactly where to be and when to be there.

Be nice/AKA not a bridezilla. The photographers are here to make sure you look good!

Make a shot list of EVERYONE you want to be in portraits several days in advance. Your photographer can't read your mind about wanting cousin Fred in your photos.

Understand that your photographers can't be everywhere all the time. (They are sure as hell trying!) If you are worried about making sure everyone gets in a photo, a photo booth is a really good way to make sure that happens. And finally...


Your photos will be perfect and special because it's your wedding. In 2016 we are inundated with so many strangers' wedding photos, especially on Pinterest, that it skews what is realistic. Many of the wedding photos we actually see on Pinterest are actually styled shoots. Keep that in mind when clicking through your images for the first time. 

[Last modified: Friday, February 12, 2016 2:58pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours