Bello’s Portraits has been photographing weddings both locally and at locations around the U.S. for over 10 years now. I have heard the stories and seen some of the work that was shot by “professionals”. The one thing I have really started to notice over the last 3 or 4 years is the emphasis on “price” that prospective brides and mom’s of brides place on selection of a photographer for their wedding. Believe me when I say that I know times are tough. We all have had to learn how to spend wisely in the current economy! But hiring a “photographer” to photograph one of the most important events in a person’s life based on price alone is foolish! There are what is know in the industry as “AWAC”s (Anyone with a Camera) out there who will gladly take your money just because they have a decent camera and a web-site. If you apply this logic to other professionals it would be like saying that because a person has a good set of wrenches he can be a professional plumber! Not so! Becoming a professional takes training and experience, in both your craft and in business. I have been involved in the art of photography for most of my adult life as an amateur and professional. I am a member of the Professional Photographers of America and the Maryland Professional Photographers of America. Through these organizations I am able to continuously educate my self by attending seminars, workshops and on-line classes to make me a better photographer. I am a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and as such able to keep abreast of the latest in retouching and editing software. Education and more education is the mark of a “professional”. When deciding on whom to hire to photograph a wedding, check with local business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and other vendors in the wedding industry for referrals and always meet with and get to know a photographer before making a decision. What albums do they offer, do they use a professional lab, what professional organizations do they belong to and certainly ask for referrals from past clients. Make sure that they have a location you can visit and review sample work and know that you can find them if there is a problem! I hope that what I say here has helped without scaring. True professional photographers love their craft and are eager, willing and most able to provide wedding photography that will be remembered and cherished for years to come. That is how I approach my business and the art of photography! Oh yeah, I have some pretty good cameras too!