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Wedding Wednesday Discussions: My Friend is taking the Pictures at my wedding……..discuss!
As a wedding planner I am here to advice and guide my couples in every aspect of their wedding, but never too take over their plans. That’s why when a bride or groom tells me they are not having a professional photographer as ‘they know a friend who has a good camera’ or ‘we’re going to let our guests take the pictures’ it fills me with complete dread! What do I say? Do I scream at them NO don’t do it? And hope that they don’t sack me, or let them get on with it and hope that they don’t come back to me after the wedding and ask me why I didn’t stop them?
There are lots of reasons why couples choose not to have a professional photographer, and most of them come down to budget, but I do feel that every couple should have a professional do the job.
Now I know most of the photographers reading this will be agreeing with me, but I guess some of the brides and grooms still won’t get it until the big day when it’s too late!
I have heard too many brides say to me after the wedding ‘I wish I’d got a professional to do it’ or ‘the one thing I regret is having my friend to do the photos’ why? Well I will explain.
1) You friend is not a professional and may have never shot a wedding before. They may take nice holiday snaps but this is not a holiday, this is the best and most important day of your life and you want to remember it properly. The last thing you want to do is look back on the photos and regret your decisions because they didn’t capture the moment properly, or they were blurred, or not the right style, or didn’t get all the shots that you wanted.
2) A professional does this every weekend so they know the drill, if there isn’t a planner involved the photographer is often left to take the lead and tell people when things should be going on. They know the timings of things and will know which ‘classic’ photos need to be taken
3) Your friend tacking those pictures is most likely going to be a guest as well…….and believe me they can’t do both, and it’s not really fare to expect them to do both!
4) Your friend won’t have all the professional equipment that a professional will. Yes they may have a fancy SLR but will they have the right lighting, back up batteries, back up memory cards, lap tops to upload onto during the day, will they have insurance in case the worst happens and it all goes wrong…………..the likelihood is that they will have none of these things.
5) What happens if your friend is ill on the day and can’t come? You have no photos! If a professional is ill and can’t work they will have either a 2nd shooter or a backup who can step in at the last minute
I have heard some horror stories from both side of the camps, brides who have got married and hated their ‘friends’ wedding pictures. I have also heard professionals who have told me stories of brides and grooms coming to them to have photos re edited, or touched up as they were unhappy with the results. Brides going to professionals for an after shoot, a cherish the dress. or rock the dress to make up for the bad ‘friends’ photos.
So unless your friend actually is a professional photographer it is never going to be a good idea to get them to take your wedding photos. Even if photography ‘just isn’t your thing’ and not something that bothers you, remember these are your memories! The day will come and go but you will only have your photographs to remind you of that day.
Now yes I know it is very well for me to say all this, It’s not me paying for your wedding and yes I know a lot of photographers don’t come cheap, and if you have a limited budget then this may be the obvious option to loose. But there are ways around it
1) Find a photographer who offers packages by the hour, or a half day packages. I do think it’s best to have them there all day and for at least an hour of the evening reception…but a compromise is to have them there for less time and will certainly save you money
2) Find a photographer who offers a digital package. More and more photographers are offering high resolution CDs with their photography packages and lots of them are happy to offer this instead of an album which can also save you money. You don’t have to get the album made up straight away, this can be done 6 months – 12 months lasted. Maybe you can use your wedding present money to get the album made up?
3) Pay in instalments. Some photographers will offer payment plans, they may not advertise this but ask.
4) If you are having a wedding that may be a bit different find a photographer that fits that style and tell them, the chances are for a wedding that is less traditional, or a certain style the photographer may be willing to offer a discount? It’s going to make their portfolio look great!
5) Ask your guest for photography vouchers as wedding presents. You will get wedding presents weather you ask for them or not, so why not get your guests to donate towards you photography? You may think it’s cheeky but it’s better than getting 4 toasters that you don’t want!
So let me know your thoughts……….are you a bride who had a friend take your pictures, where they good or bad, would you do it again? Are you a Photographer who has experience of this? Are you currently planning your wedding at the moment and struggling with budget and considering ditching your photographer?
Tell me your thoughts I am dying to hear your stories!