Should your wedding photographer be just a wedding photographer?

Wedding rings on a Bible taken at the bride's home before the wedding
(c) Gary Scott

When is a wedding photographer not a wedding photographer? When they are at a wedding!

I've heard it said that you want to hire a wedding photographer who just does weddings. The thought being; you want them to be the best at what they do, right? 

Consider for a moment the kinds of photographs your wedding photographer is going to take at your average wedding. You might be surprised at all the "kinds" of photographers he has to be that day.

At any given moment, he might be a:

  • Event Photographer - well, that goes without saying - they are photographing your wedding; an event.
  • Portrait Photographer - when you are being technically posed, getting just the right light and producing that magnificent portrait you will hang on your grandchild's wall.
  • Photojournalist - when they are capturing those moments as people interact at the receiving line, or as they get a little more plastered at the reception.
  • Artist - as they paint that odd angled shot in window light and include elements from your table centers in an artistic, expressionistic perspective.
  • Nature Photographer - capturing that idyllic setting you chose for your photo session
  • Commercial Photographer - As they take photos of your tables in the reception hall - empty and inviting.
  • Architectural Photographer - As they take a photo of the church or building where you are married
  • Panoramic Photographer - as they capture a wide angle of your guests gathered outside or inside.
  • Stock Photographer - as they photograph your presents or your rings.
  • Travel Photographer - on location at your wedding site
  • Street Photographer - capturing you going about the business of getting ready.
  • Time Lapse Photographer - really we shoot video, just at a very slow frame rate...

Yes, I admit there are a lot of other photography disciplines that a wedding photographer will likely never need - when will they use microscopic photography? Although macro photography comes in really handy with those tiny rings. Yet, with every form of photography a wedding photographer has up their sleeves, he adds another tool in his bag that might just be the right one to pull off that unique and perfect shot.

Perhaps in the day when you only shot a dozen rolls of film (12 x 24=288 total photos) you didn't really feel a need to capture everything, but these days where it is common to shoot well over 1000 images at the average wedding, the coverage is far greater, and the skills required are much broader.

I love to photograph weddings, but I don't just limit myself to the bride and groom. There are plenty of things around you that make up the day; things the bride has taken special care to select and place. I do my level best to capture all of them, and I use all of the forms of photography I know, not just event photography.

So when you go looking for a wedding photographer, don't just look at their stunning posed photos - although those are certainly important - be sure to look at their photos of the rings, and the dress, and the flowers in the church, and the church itself, and ... well, you get the picture(s).

(c) 2013 Gary Scott - Gary's Lens Photography


  1. Marek Kocan

    On your wedding definitely not miss a professional wedding photographer SNV. Why actually invest in professional wedding photographer and wedding photographer hired a layman that is certainly cheaper. The difference between the wedding photographer certainly is not great, but the details that separate them can care about most.

    1. Agreed Marek, It may cost you more to NOT hire a pro.


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