A lot of times I hear people tell me that a friend is photographing their wedding. On a rare occasion, this may be a fantastic idea but the majority of the time I don’t believe it is. Not just because I have a photographic background and know the stress that photographing a wedding can cause, but I love wedding photos and I think that they are really special and important part of your family history as shown in my post here about wedding day photography.
The more I hear people say that a friend will be photographing the wedding, the more apprehensive I become. I know a lot of photographers and they all cringe when they are asked by a friend to do their wedding. Not because they don’t love photography or their friend, but simply because it is a HUGE job to successfully and tastefully photograph someone’s special day. The majority of the time it is not just a few snaps, there are huge number of ‘shots’ that the photographer needs to get on the day, and this extends further than just a few of the Bride and Groom. They have to get the kiss, cutting the cake, first dance and they also have to get photos of all of the family.
Wedding Photographers generally love what they do; they put time, money and love into their craft. They must take on the role of portrait photographer, landscape photographer, architectural photographer and product photographer, all rolled into one! They must also deal with strict time constraints and almost no control over the lighting conditions that they are shooting in. Generally any other photographer loves one or two of these things and if they are a landscape photographer they may wait 3 hours for the light to be just right for the shot that they are taking. These photographers may take some of the best photos that you have ever seen, but what they shoot are more often than not things that they love photographing and some of them may have taken hours to set up or some of them may have had hours of work done to them in post production.
You also have to consider what your expectations are of the photos that you are to get back from the day. If you just want 1 or 2 photos from the day that you can be totally happy with and you are not interested in having all of the family shots done, a friend photographing the day might be an option, but it is unrealistic to expect your friend to put together a full album or magazine-type coffee table book especially when it is not their normal area of photographic interest.
The other thing that is good to think about is the value of your friendship. What happens if something goes wrong and the photos don’t come out as planned? You can always ask your friend to photograph on the day as well, and by letting them know that you have hired a professional for all of the vital and family photographs they will be able to still take photos for you without feeling the full pressure of making sure that they capture everything on your day. This also allows them to have a great time and enjoy themselves at your wedding.
It is a huge job that the majority of the time should be left to the professionals, and it is really an investment for the future. Have you or a friend had your wedding photos done not by professionals and had great or not so great results?