There are a number of qualifications a wedding photographer may pursue if they wish to have official accreditation in their field, but are they necessary, and do they separate the professionals from the amateurs? Here are a few reasons why you should, or shouldn't hire a wedding photographer based on their official qualifications.
There are a wide range of options for educating yourself in the field of photography, from short online courses to university degrees. Courses may teach students a wide range of photographic fundamentals such as correct photo composition, the exposure triangle and light manipulation. These courses are a great option for amateurs who wish to learn about photography, but they are not an essential stepping stone to becoming a professional in the field.
Many professional photographers are completely self taught, and have no official qualifications. In the age of YouTube, anyone is able to learn the art of photography simply by following a few instructional videos and going out into the real world to give it a go! A good photographer knows the how to use their camera, how to manipulate light and compose a photograph correctly, but a great photographer also uses their own style, creativity and imagination to add an artistic flare to their work. Creating your own style cannot be taught, but must be discovered by a photographer through practice and experience.
A college or university accreditation can be a good indication that a photographer has the knowledge to effectively capture your special day, but it does not indicate that they have the passion or talent to photograph your wedding in a beautiful or creative way.
Another way that photographers advertise themselves and separate their work from the competition is to showcase awards they have won in the past. Awards are often a good indication of a photographers skill level, but beware! In the photography world, there are a lot of companies which offer 'pay-to-win' accolades for photographers who can afford to spend a bit of money.
When choosing a photographer for your wedding, it is best to consider a photographer's qualifications and awards as a secondary factor for choosing their service. You should pick a photographer based on the quality of the images they provide in their service, rather than a fancy piece of paper they acquired from a 12 week online course. At the end of the day, a photographer's work speaks for itself.