The folks over a Good Morning America were having a discussion a few days ago about saving on wedding costs, and of course the subject of a photographer came up. Arguably one of the top few expenses at a wedding, it’s not surprising that photography is a common area where people look to in order to save. Here’s what Francesco, a professional wedding planner had to say:
The best thing to do is contact your local school — find somebody that wants to build a career with their skills. Nine out of 10 you’ll save $8,000 just paying for the cost of their camera, their developing and their time. You’ve made a college kid happy and you’ve got some great photos.
Rather than list all the reasons why, in many cases, this is a terrible idea (not discounting that there are some really talented student photographers out there), check out this article by Cheri Frost at PetaPixel who covers all the bases – including a very good point that GMA did not suggest that brides save money by hiring student seamstresses to sew the wedding dress (that one made me giggle).
Although they are discussing weddings here, hiring a student versus a professional applies to a lot of events, not just weddings. Think to yourself, “How upset will I be if the photos of my child’s first (newborn photoshoot, birthday, special event, family reunion) don’t turn out?” Are you absolutely guaranteed to get great photos with a professional? Not 100%, but if you check out their portfolio and reviews you certainly have a very good idea of how they operate. With a student you have a lot less certainty. And although good gear does not automatically make for a great photographer, students may not yet have the budget to ensure that the gear they have is appropriate for the setting.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t hire a student, or give them the opportunity to build their portfolio. Just make sure that they are doing so with the assistance of a professional – often pros are perfectly willing to let a student come along to “shadow” them through the process. You never know, they may come up with the best shot of the day.
What do you think? Have you ever hired a student photographer (or student anything)? How did you feel about the results?