If you read the wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride, you’ll know that Kat Williams tries to tackle key issues that come up in our industry, and the controversial subject of pricing when it comes to photography is no new subject for her. However, we feel a response of our own was necessary to this week’s post “Should I Book a Professional Wedding Photographer or Get a Friend to do it for Free: A Cautionary tale, which you can read here
The post is from a woman who asked her friend, a car photographer, to do her wedding photography with disastrous consequences. The wedding photos are some of the worst we have ever seen. It’s a very honest account, with her admitting she should have offered more support, such as visiting the venue and checking he had the right equipment for the job.
We receive many enquiries from Brides who tell us they love our work, but have to ‘warn’ us that their partners don’t feel they should have a professional photographer, usually as they know someone who has a good camera and takes great pictures. I should point out we started by taking wedding photos for two sets of friends, as we knew we wanted to be wedding photographers, but our only experience was a couple of family weddings. The difference here though is that we knew we wanted to specialise in weddings, so we made a point of visiting the venue beforehand to check lighting and space, and obtain any equipment we didn’t already have, as well as find out the couple’s expectations and group photo requirements. From those images and some great testimonials we acquired our first clients which was over three years ago and we haven’t looked back – we absolutely love photographing weddings!
But what is the difference between us, back then, and you asking your friend to photograph your wedding? Here are a few things we advise you to bear in mind when making the decision:
● Shooting a wedding is a pressured environment, things are moving constantly. How would you feel if your friend missed a key moment?
● Do you have any concerns about your friend enjoying themselves? If they are nervous they may not be able to fully relax and enjoy your wedding day.
● Your friend may take lovely pictures when you are on a night out or be able to take nice headshots in the day, but how would they cope with lighting changes such as if it rains and goes gloomy, or you step out of your ceremony in to really bright sunshine? What if your ceremony is performed with the two of you standing in front of a window? This is a tricky exposure that requires a certain level of technical ability.
● We were told a story once about a bride’s friend who was taking the photos during the day but still enjoyed themselves to the point of getting very drunk, so they don’t have any wedding photos post-meal. Would you be able to set the right expectations with your friend or family member?
● As experienced wedding photographers we are ready for most occurrences and can work quickly to change plans if things go a bit awry. This is because we are no longer fazed by weddings, we thrive on the pressure and thrill of getting those moments you will treasure forever.
● Possibly the biggest thing to consider, how will you feel if your friend does not manage to provide you with beautiful wedding photography, if it’s not quite right? This could tear a friendship apart as it unfortunately did for the writer of the Rock n Roll Bride blog post.
If budget is tight try and think about the priorities throughout your wedding and beyond. Your wedding photography is one of the only tangible things that lasts from your wedding so we would recommend it has the next biggest part of the budget after the reception venue and food. The wedding day itself will pass in a whirlwind and even on return of your honeymoon you will find the details are hazy and your beautifully vibrant wedding photography will ensure the memories come flooding back forever.
From experience we know all the wonderful things that can happen on a wedding day. We can truly capture the emotion of the ceremony when mum begins to wipe the tears from her eye and working in tandem we can capture the moments you won’t even know are happening, a lovely surprise for you when you look back at your wedding photography. Another key aspect of the way we work is that we also know how to blend in and not get in the way, in fact, many of our clients have commented it was like having friends photographing the wedding, so we can be your happy medium! Poor photography really can mean that the lasting memories of your special day are of disappointment not joy, so think clearly about the decisions you make, whether it be for a friend or professional.