Wedding photographers will always encourage you not to use friends as the photographer at your wedding, it’s in our self-interest right? Another friend, another booking lost? But there are some very sound reasons why booking a friend is actually really bad for your wedding.
On your wedding day you are inviting your friends and relatives to join you to celebrate your marriage. If you get a friend to do the photography at your wedding, their role essentially turns from being a guest to being the hired help. It gets worse, if they have a partner, they will be abandoned for most of the day. You simply cannot be a guest and a photographer (I know because I’ve tried it!). If you had a friend who is a chef would you expect them to help out in the kitchen at the reception? Probably not.
A professional photographer will not only have a good camera and lenses, they’ll have backups. In fact they’ll have a backup of most of their equipment. Weddings are a one day only event, there can be no re-shoots or time to charge batteries. If your camera fails or you only have one memory card – you are stranded.
The right equipment
Photographers carry a range of equipment to adapt to different situations on the day. If it rains they may have to light the formal shots inside with flash (and no, the popup camera flash won’t do).
Range of shots
A hired photographer will be concentrating on taking photos all day. They will be able to shoot as many parts of the wedding as they can, capturing all the special moments – many of which you won’t even see on the day. From wedding preparation to first dance they will be able to shadow the bride and groom and tell the story of the day.
Perhaps the most important piece of kit in every photographers bag. From experience photographers know where they need to be for important moments during the day to get the shots. They know how weddings flow and can plan accordingly. My day schedule is usually twice as long as the bride and grooms as I need to know where I need to be, and at what time.
So, you’ve had a friend shoot your wedding, and now they have 2,000 photos to edit, select and retouch before they deliver the final shots to you. This can take as much time (if not more) than shooting the wedding itself. It’s also the point where a friendship can get a little stretched, when they realise how much work is still to do when the day is over. You could be in for a long wait. A photographer will have both the software and hardware to consistently retouch your shots and deliver quality photographs.
Everyone has a camera these days in their smartphone. I’m actually a big fan of guests taking photos – the more memories you have of the day the better. Where I’m not a big fan of smartphones is during the service – when you look at the congregations and all you can see is a crowd holding aloft their latest iPhone (or iPad!) – it looks a little naff. So ban phones at weddings? Absolutely not, but I do think that guests should put their phones down a little and take in the day, be involved… and enjoy everything the bride and groom have meticulously planned for them..
I’m not going to sit in my blogging pulpit and preach that you shouldn’t use a friend to shoot your wedding. Not everyone has a budget that may stretch that far. If you do use a friend, through choice or necessity, I hope that the above points are helpful in showing you that you may not quite get the photographs back you expected.