The internet is littered with stories of people who regret not hiring professional to capture the magic moments of their wedding day, or similar function. Do a simple search and you will find some real horror stories. The popularity and affordability of digital photography has allowed a great number of people to pursue a hobby that was previously only available to those with technical knowhow. An old film camera was great for a snap shot but without the preview on the back you still weren’t sure. You only have to look at the shelves of the local newsagent and count the photography titles to know how much the pastime has exploded in the last 5 years or so. It also means that professional grade equipment can be made affordable to enthusiasts.
I have nothing against hobbyists, I was one some time ago but for your special day, wedding, batmitzvah or barmitzvah, new born or maternity shoot you want to make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing.
Pictures are worth a thousand words and the picture below, which is not mine at all, illustrates this point without question
Once again these pictures were not taken by me, anyone I know, or at a function I was at, it was however used in an article elsewhere, so I feel it's OK to use it again here.
The question is why do photographers charge so much .. you are paying for the equipment, training, job, talent and endless hours of learning and mistake making to get us where we are today. It takes a long time to shoot and edit a set of pictures, I will typically have 1500 or so pictures from an event that I need to bring down to the 500 or 600 that I will deliver all of which will need an edit of some sort. So whilst I might be with you for 8 hours of a function or 2 hours for a portrait set rest assured that is just the beginning of the job. Bear all of this in mind when asking a photographer what they charge as the time spent with you is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are getting memories of a once in a lifetime event that will last essentially for ever then you are getting value for money.