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A professional photographer does more on the day then just take photos. They are your timekeepers, they will keep you on track. They will herd the families and guests together for those group shots. They are not distracted by friends, or celebrations. They are there to record every moment of your day. Sometimes we find ourselves having to gently pull you away from guests and distractions to get the photos you wanted done. Sometimes we need to keep the bridal party all together. We are focused 100% on you, as that is what we are paid for. A photographer cannot be shy, where friends can feel a little awkward photographing all your guests all day and night.
There is also the technical stuff that a professional photographer has a grip on. And there is a lot of work in the post production, that we do using software programmes to make sure every photo is perfect. Your mates who take great photos may not understand the processing component, nor want to do it as it’s a long and tedious task but needed to make the photos perfect.
You spend a lot of money to create your perfect wedding, and a lot of the day you won’t remember as it fly’s past so quickly, but the only thing you do take away from it after it is all over is the photos. To ensure your photos tell the whole story of your day you need a professional who is experienced and adaptable to make this all happen.
Lets have a look
This is an excellent question, and I'd like to answer with a personal experience from our own wedding. I had a photographer sorted (of course....) but I wanted video. ....And I knew people that knew a video guy...he was kind of a friend of a freind (so obviously VERY recommended, right?) who had some really really good equipment. He wasn't a "professional," but he was a very clever dedicated hobbyist. He had excellent work... and a couple of his videos were wedding videos...but it turned out that he didn't have what it took to BE professional on a wedding or have a basic professional commitment to multiple redundancy. He lost our files.
Lost our files. All of them. Or over wrote them, or had card failure... I'm not sure of his excuse, it kept changing. He should have had multiple cameras, multiple cards... and when they got back home, the first thing they should have done is to back up the day's work to a hard drive and to the cloud. Our guy didn't do any of that.
When you meet with your potential photographer, you really need to be assured first of all that they take photos in the style you want, but that they also do that background stuff that many 'creatives' struggle with... the insurance, the backups, delivering edited photos in a reasonable timeframe. But also know that they have backup cameras, lenses, batteries, flashes... and backup the damn day's work. Religiously.
Why should you hire a professional wedding photographer? Your photographer may or may not be 'pro' but ensure that they have that ethos in their work in delivery, insurance, gear and backup.
We were, and remain heartbroken 10 years later that we have no video. Don't make the same mistake with your photographer. Many people say years after their wedding that the photography is one of the top three things they have to remember.
Also, a professional will have the skills and experience to shoot in the many many challenging ways that one simple wedding can have: bright days outside, dark churchs, unwieldly family groups, untidy groom's homes, late family members, all seamlessly and with a smile...
Then... we can talk about the editing process....