THE BLOG

Pro Photographers vs Non-Pro Photographers

04/08/2015 02:39 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015

Have a hard time distinguishing the difference between professional images and non-professional snapshots? Please allow me a moment or two to show some specific differences and get into why you need a pro photographer for your wedding.

Thanks to Kim from Silk Flowers by Jean for sharing her pictures with us. These samples are from weddings that we did together, her on florals and us on photos. She took cell phone pictures for her own purposes before she realized we were the photographers. (We always share our work.)

What do these comparisons mean for you? Kim sent us these pictures because she feels the same way as we do: Professional wedding photographers are critical.

We talk to brides all the time who decide to save money by having a friend or family member take photos for them. We also talk to brides after they've seen their friend-taken pictures and it's always a huge regret.

Standard disclaimer: We're not picking on Kim. She isn't a pro photographer nor do we expect her to be. She was kind enough to allow us to use them for this demonstration. Also, I'm trying not to sound like an arrogant know-it-all because that definitely isn't the intention. I just want to show what a pro can do.

OK, let's roll off a couple pictures from Jason and Rosanna's wedding. Kim's pictures appear on the left and ours appear on the right.

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Kim took a pretty good picture here. You can't do much better with a cell phone. However, once you add in professional equipment, professional lighting, and professional knowledge, you can see a difference.

You can really see a difference in the next one.

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More centerpieces. Huge difference. Ours, on the right, is lit well. Kim's, on the left, is of the centerpiece and a mostly empty table.

Now let's switch over to Waggter and Jonai's wedding.

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Again, Kim did a fairly solid job with this one. The difference, besides the obvious lighting change, is the clutter. Kim's image contains the centerpiece but also a table number, chairs, glasses, and miscellaneous tables in the background. In ours, the centerpiece is clearly the focus of the image.

Here's an altar display from the ceremony of the same wedding.

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Kim's snapshot is off balance and shows a giant chunk missing from a step. However, the most important thing she's missing is the ambiance. This was an outdoor, nighttime wedding. We have the proper equipment to light up our subject at night.

These are just pictures of flowers. Now imagine that you're the subject of these pictures. The lighting is poor. The background is cluttered. The framing is off. These are your memories.

You only have one shot to get these pictures. Make sure they look great.

Note: This article originally appeared on East Carolina Bride.