I am a wedding and portrait photographer who keeps things light, fun, and full of energy. I’m based out of Springfield, Illinois however I love traveling all over the midwest and beyond.
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When you think about your wedding photos, I’m sure you are envisioning your first kiss, seeing your soon-to-be spouse for the first time, and even sharing your first dance. Your wedding day photos are the reminders of butterflies, laughter, and tears which were all part of your day. For a budget conscious bride, it can be tempting to hire a friend or even family member to photograph your wedding. As a wedding photographer and vendor myself, I hear this idea from brides a ton. In this digital age with everyone having a nice camera, is having your BFF or favorite family member the best choice to take on the responsibilities of capturing every moment you will hold near and dear for years to come? It’s important to understand the value of hiring a professional photographer and carefully weigh the pros and cons of hiring a friend or family member to capture these once in a lifetime photos in the name of budget cuts.
Pro: You Feel Completely Comfortable With Them
You have known your friend forever! They know your personality and all your quarks. You understand one another and your friendship means everything!
Con: It could strain your friendship
It’s inevitable! Things come up with weddings, even when you are an amazing planner. And differing opinions between you and your friend could cause some strain if you don’t agree on how to handle a situation.
Pro: You will likely receive a deep discount
Expenses can balloon when planning a wedding! Brides on a budget may look to a friend to become a vendor to help relieve some of those expenses with a “Friends or Family” discount.
Con: Certain Costs Could Be Overlooked
When offering you their discounted friend rate to photograph your wedding, expenses could potentially be missed with the quote given. If your wedding is out of town, will there be travel costs for your friend that were not included in the price? Or was an engagement session included in the price? What about a wedding album? These are all desired items you and your fiancé may want, yet aren’t included in your package. After all those extras are added the “discounted” price may not be worth it.
A friend may know how to take a great picture in perfect lighting. But, can they replicate that over and over again throughout your wedding day? You will want to make sure that your photos are consistent from start to finish.
A wedding day is full of beautiful moments, the people you love the most, and once in a while…Unexpected events. The pressure of capturing it all may feel overwhelming if you have not been through it before. Making sure your friend can stay cool under the pressure is very important.
Con: If Your Friend Is Working, How Will They Enjoy Your Big Day?
In theory, having your close friend as your photographer can make sense. You trust them, they know you, and you enjoy each other’s company. However, wouldn’t you enjoy their company more on the biggest day of your life celebrating with you instead of working for you? This is a huge decision you will need to make.
A professional photographer should have many weddings under their belt and have a good understanding of all of the different elements of a wedding day. They know how to anticipate moments during the ceremony, reception, and everything in between. Check out photographers websites to see their past experience to ensure you have someone who can handle your precious memories!
When hiring a professional photographer, you most likely are drawn to a specific style of their work. Whether it’s lots of colorful images, light and airy, or photos that are full of candid moments of joy, the photographer you choose should have a certain style they put forth in all of their photos.
A photographer who photographs several weddings over the course of a year will develop a consistency of their work. They know how to deliver the style you hired them for each and every time.
Not only is the photographer there to capture photos from the big day, but they usually end up running the show and keeping the bride, groom, and bridal party on time throughout the day. The timeline of a wedding day is crucial and the photographer needs to be efficient in getting the photos you want on top of keeping everyone moving so you aren’t keeping your guests waiting. They should be a people person too as they are building relationships with you as a couple on top of showing your family and friends respect and patience all day.
Simply owning a nice camera probably won’t cut it on a wedding day. Different lenses give a photographer unique looks and offer the best option in certain situations like tight rooms or long aisles. Even as a natural light photographer, myself, I still carry along my flash to every wedding for low light situations and the reception. If the photographer doesn’t have the proper equipment, they may not be fully prepared to photograph your special day. The decision is ultimately up to you and your fiancé to figure out what your top priorities are when choosing to hire a professional or hire a friend or family member. Determine if you can truly put your trust in your friend to capture your memories or if it is worth the money to not mix business and friends.