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We like Uncle Bob. We really do. He’s a great guy and everyone loves being around him. He tells great jokes and can even do a few magic tricks at parties. He’s the guy we all look forward to seeing at Thanksgiving.

Uncle Bob rocks.

But what do you say if he offers to photograph your wedding?

It sounds pretty good. He has a really expensive camera, and he says that he won’t even charge you. It will be his wedding present!

Awesome. It sounds too good to be true! And it’s totally understandable to consider it. After all, who wouldn’t like to shave a few thousand dollars off their wedding budget?


The problem with this scenario is that many clients have the same expectations of Uncle Bob as they do with the professional images they see in the wedding magazines. After all, anybody can be a photographer, right? And if that’s true, why not save the money and put it towards something else?

It’s true that anyone can press a shutter, but it’s a wholly different thing to have them deliver professional quality images at a wedding. Wedding photographer is considered by many to be one of the most difficult, challenging, and high-pressure photography jobs. You have to be master of multiple photography disciplines, and you have no luxury of a re-shoot if things don’t turn out.

So what are the REAL differences between Uncle Bob and a professional? Why should you have much lower expectations from hiring Uncle Bob? What advantages does a professional have?

We decided to outline, in a lighthearted way, the differences between what to expect from Uncle Bob vs. a professional wedding photographer:


Uncle Bob:

Takes wonderful pictures of flowers and his kids at the playground.

Brings his camera on vacation.

Took a community college photography workshop about 5 years ago.

Favorite camera setting is “Auto.”

Enjoys discussing the comparative merits of various cameras on internet message boards.

Doesn’t see the need to spend $450 for an external flash because his camera has a pop-up flash.


Averages 3,000 to 10,000 images every week.

Knows how to shoot in all situations: dark caves, sunny beaches, large churches, in the rain, and in the snow.

Can quickly adjust camera settings blindfolded.

Adept at using ambient light, bounced flash, fill flash, and off-camera lighting.

Understands the principles of photojournalism, portrait photography, creative posing, and composition.

Is up to date on modern wedding photography styles and techniques.

Enters wedding photography contests.

Belongs to professional wedding organizations.

Lives, breathes, and sleeps wedding photography.


Uncle Bob:

Has attended a few family weddings.

Loves dancing to “We Are Family.”

Tends to takes snapshots only of friends and family that he knows.

If the wedding pictures don’t turn out, oh well.


Shoots 30 to 50 (or more) weddings per year.

Can show you multiple examples of wedding galleries from past clients.

Has enough experience to help your whole wedding day run smoothly.

Has dealt with a myriad of wedding scenarios including churches, backyards, castles, ballrooms, beaches, and parks.

Has shot small weddings, large weddings, traditional, modern, unconventional, offbeat, and everything in between.

Knows the flow of a wedding day and can anticipate where to be, what to capture, and can adjust to the unexpected.

Can provide valuable advice on your timetable and recommend family group shots.

Realizes future livelihood relies on delivering high quality images.


Uncle Bob:

Oftentimes will have a new top of the line pro camera, but hasn’t fully explored (or understood) all of its features.

Has one or two consumer grade zoom lenses.

Might have a flash, but always uses it pointed straight ahead, set to Auto of course.

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