JUST DON'T: Why you shouldn't hire your 'friend' to shoot your wedding.
WARNING! I am not writing this blog post to be mean, condescending or to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’m also not writing this in hopes that you will hire me to shoot your wedding. I am writing this blog post because I do not want you to be that bride who ends up with the story of how you got your photos back from your ‘photographer’ and you were crushed, devastated, heartbroken and/or any other synonym that describes a negative emotion. That being said, listen to me very carefully.
Please do NOT hire your cousin, uncle or family friend to shoot your wedding. Let me explain……
It’s every photographers nightmare when a bride inquires about their services, they connect over the phone or in person and then after what seems to be the best consultation in the world, she ultimately decides to hire a family friend or a relative, uncle or cousin to shoot her wedding instead. But let me be clear. We’re not upset that we didn’t get the business. Not even close. We are upset that you are choosing NOT to hire a professional. This would be similar to walking into a five-star restaurant, looking at the menu and then saying to the waitstaff, “I think I’ll just go to McDonald’s instead.”
There are a few key reasons why this is a bad idea. The first being that there’s a chance that a ‘friend’ is just not going to care as much as a professional would. We’ve all heard the story of the ‘friend’ who had a few too many drinks and pretty much didn’t shoot ANY images during the reception they were supposed to be covering. When you don’t have that client/vendor relationship then the lines can get blurred between what your photographer should and should not do and you just don’t want that. A professional’s number one job at your wedding is to capture everything. Our sole purpose of being present at your wedding is to do all we can to help you remember your day and when you don’t hire a professional, there's no guarantee you’ll get that level of dedication.
Secondly, your friend just isn’t going to be as good as a professional. In order to do what we do at even a decent level you have to be well-versed in posing, lighting, angles, perspective, dynamic range and an infinite list of other things that your ‘friend’ just doesn’t know. Contrary to the widely popular belief, having a ‘good’ camera is not a pre-requisite for trusting someone with the most important day of your life. The person behind the camera makes the magic.
Now, if your ‘friend’ just happens to be an actual photographer with a portfolio and experience to match then by all means, hire them. That’s a win-win situation for everybody. BUT, if your ‘friend’ is just somebody who owns a decent camera and only takes pictures at your family reunion and the company Christmas party then you are potentially setting yourself up for the heartbreak of a lifetime. I know that’s not what you want.
Now bear with me for one moment and ask yourself this question. Have you ever considered the idea that it might be in your best interest to pay a little bit more for your wedding photography? Just let that marinate for a second if you would. I was at the annual WPPI conference in Las Vegas in February of this year (2018) and a photographer by the name of Bambi Cantrell posed this question during a class she was teaching.
Of all the things that you pay for on your wedding day, not looking to a professional to hand craft the story of your wedding day is just not a good look. I mean, your photographer is literally the ONE person on the planet who is responsible for how you will remember your day. If you don’t think that’s serious then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
To sum things up, I am fully aware that there are some couples who simply don’t care about their wedding day photos. They view them as a necessary evil more than anything. That’s completely ok. BUT if you care about the memories of your wedding day and you really want photos that tell your story, then you must set your sights on hiring a professional. That's the bottom line.
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