This video made me cry, as it hit close to home.  This is truly the difference a professional photographer makes.

I belong to a wonderful organization of professionals, PPA (Professional Photographers of America).  They recently released several videos to show the importance of hiring a professional for your memories.  Now, I don’t normally post this, as my clients and fans know the importance of hiring a professional.  This is why I do what I do… to record memories for my clients for years to come.  Our families change at the speed of light.  Life has no guarantees.  We have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will bring.  Watch this video and you will know what I mean.

Fortunately, I have not experienced a loss like the one described in this video, but I am guilty of allowing a friend to take wedding pictures for me (Gasp..I know!).  I was young and on an extremely limited wedding budget.  When my friend said that she would be happy to do my wedding for her photography portfolio, I jumped at the chance.  I had no idea what I was giving up.

My day came and went, and it was completely magical.  My hair was AWESOME and my husband looked so handsome.  My parents were there, and all dressed up.  The food was beyond amazing.  My dad still says it was the best meal he has ever had.  It was one of the happiest days of my whole life.

I asked my friend the next week about the pictures, to get an idea of when I could expect to receive them.  She said she would have them developed (we were still in the days of film) and I could expect them the next week.  I checked with her the following week.  Now, there was a problem at the lab with some of the film.  She would give me what she does have the following week.  When I finally did get something, I received a wrinkled box of 18 overexposed and/or blurry images of my beautiful wedding day.  I was crushed.

Never again will my dad be dressed like a King.  (We did a play… that is a WHOLE other conversation).  Never again will those particular friends and family be gathered together.  Never again will I be 25, and my hair will never look that good.

My husband and I have talked about doing it all over again.  To renew our vows.  And to do that, we would hire a professional wedding photographer to capture those memories.  However, it would only bring up one very painful truth… we can never replace the memories of our actual wedding day.  Never.

This “free” photographer was the most expensive mistake we could have ever made.  This experience costed us a lot more than just money.  It cost us the memories of the first, most important day of our lives together. If you have a well-meaning friend or family member, please, kindly suggest that they be a guest at your wedding.  Let them enjoy this time with you, and not working.  Then, hire a professional.

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