Why should I go to the expense of employing a photographer?
Short answer, so you can enjoy your own event.
Long answer, because you trust their ability and appreciate their skills, therefore you can relax, enjoying your event in the safe knowledge that all of those special moments will be expertly preserved.
This summer I had the pleasure of being able to attend a music festival as a punter, taking my camera along to capture a few snaps for my own benefit. I'm not ashamed to admit my initial envy, watching so many photographers with back stage passes. That was until I remembered I was in a privileged place to actually enjoy the music.
Being present - a photographer can worry so you don't have to
I was hired to photograph a 50th Birthday for this exact reason - the clients wanted to be fully present at their big birthday get together and fully appreciate their time with family and friends. I was paid to document the festivities so that they could step back and enjoy, rather than worrying about missing moments or people. Sadly even the best memories fade, but a good set of photo's will remain for life.
Maybe I'll just do it myself
You may well have all the photographic skills to produce your own great photos, but why would you want to when it means that you will miss out on all the fun.
- A good photographer will be listening for jokes ready to photograph the great facial expressions and reactions when the punchline hits rather than hearing the joke and being in on the laugh.
- Great photographers will be trying to predict exactly where the dancers will move next and when they will spin in order to capture the beauty of the move.
- The best photographers will subconsciously have repositioned themselves not only to be where the action is happening but also have manoeuvred to get a higher or lower perspective giving the best angle with the best lighting.
Great photographs don't just happen - they are crafted and created. We have all taken that one off amazing photograph, but a professional is able to do this consistantly shot after shot. It takes the photographer's full attention and focus. You however potentially spent weeks or months planning your great event, so surely your proiority is to be fully present in the moment making the most of the day/evening and all your hard work.
Its really rather tiring darling...
Since the photographer will never really be off duty, you can be. The ability to relax, catch your breath and enjoy your own event is a great reason to hire somebody else to get tired for you. After all, I'm sure there are lots of people you'll want to give your full attention to, un-sidetracked by your hurting feet or the need to be elsewhere.
A good photographer won't just wait around hoping for a good photo to happen, but they will actively seek the moments out. This can mean miles of walking even around a small room to avoid missing that special moment or perfect shot as everybody else lets their hair down.
Memory recall, A picture is worth a thousand words
Photographs regularly jog my memory, helping me to recall what happened at an event. As I sit post-processing event photos I regularly find myself laughing at jokes I heard, or tapping my foot to the memory of music, there is something amazing about a picture which can help recolection of wonderful memories from a great day.
For me, my photo album brings me hours of joy, as I flick through reliving special days. One of the highest compliments I can receive from a client is that their pictures truly tell the story of the event, helping them to re-live the day - 'Do you remember Aunty Doris' hilarious one liner?' or 'what about little Charlie's funny dance with so much enthusiasm his shoe flew off?'. The last thing we want is for our precious memories to gradually fade into oblivion.
A final thought
So for me as a photographer who spends my life capturing other people's special moments, I know I would employ another professional to capture mine leaving me with a brilliant collection of photographs to bring all my memories flooding back. But I want to be able to live in the moment seeing it through my eyes, not my camera, without the worry that I might miss something. As such in part two I will ask the important question of how do you choose the right person for your photographic needs so that you do not have to worry about such things.