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photographing weddings. In addition, many couples nowadays are asking family friends or relatives to serve as photogra- phers as a budget-friendly alternative.
The reality is your wedding photogra- phy is simply too valuable to entrust to anyone other than a professional. A pro- fessional photographer is prepared for the myriad challenges of shooting a wedding, such as working in a variety of lighting conditions, capturing special moments in an unobtrusive way, and expecting the unexpected.
For example, “A bride may have planned for an outdoor ceremony and reception, but suddenly it starts rain- ing and the event has to move indoors,” says James Yates, Communications Specialist at PPA. “A professional pho- tographer will know how to quickly and effectively transition between indoor and outdoor lighting to ensure your photos are flawless.”
To make it easy for brides to find a pro- fessional wedding photographer, PPA offers With near- ly 30,000 members in its database, this
free online search tool gives you the abili- ty to find local PPA photographers special- izing in a variety of styles.
Professional or Amateur – How Do You Know?
How can you be certain that you’re dealing with a professional photographer? According to Scott, there are certain qual- ities that differentiate a professional pho- tographer from an amateur.
Experience: Professional photogra- phers view photographing weddings as their career and passion in life. They will have many years of experience photo- graphing weddings, evident in an exten- sive portfolio and referral list. Pros know how to deal with the unpredictable nature of a wedding and can quickly adapt to any situation, whether a change in weather or camera or equipment malfunctions. Don’t be afraid to ask prospective photogra- phers how many years of experience they have and to see their images from a vari- ety of weddings. Every photographer has a style, and reviewing their images can help you determine if their style is right for you.
Are the images formal with an eye for the perfect picture or do they have a photo- journalist style, capturing the hidden moments when no one is looking? Look for images that you can see yourself in.
Education: A professional photogra- pher will be educated in photography, whether through college coursework or specialized training. They should be very knowledgeable on lighting, posing and all the technical aspects of photography. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their education as they will give you a true sense of the photographer’s commitment to their craft: Did they earn a four-year degree at a university; have they earned any advanced photography degrees and/or certifications by any professional organi- zations like PPA? Many professional pho- tographers continually upgrade their skills through educational opportunities offered through professional associations.
Professionalism: From their website to the way they present themselves, a pro- fessional photographer will exude profes- sionalism and have a reputable business. When you meet a photographer for the

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