When a bride or groom tells me they're 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! And I mean COMPLETE dread!
To me photography is one of the most important aspects of your day. It is one of the only things that you will have left after the food has been eaten, the flowers wilted and the band have packed away their equipment! Your wedding photos are your memory of the day and will stay with you for a lifetime... so why ruin those memories by not hiring a professional??
There are lots of reasons why couples choose not to have a professional photographer, and most of them come down to budget. 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 had so many brides come to me after the wedding and tell me of their wedding regrets and that 'I wish I'd got a professional to do it'. With horror stories of badly taken photos, waiting an age for them to come back to them, badly edited - if edited at all images - blurred, over exposed. What about the friend who accidentally deleted the whole memory card... yes that actually happened!
There are many reasons your friend shouldn't take your wedding photos and a professional should; here are just a few
1) Your 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 in the wedding, 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 photos need to be taken and when.
3) Your friend taking the pictures is most likely going to be a guest as well.......and believe me they can't do both! They may be OK to do a few at the church and the group shots but believe me, eventually they will get bored and want to enjoy the day as a guest! Especially after a few glasses of fizz!
4) Your friend won't have all the professional equipment that a professional will. Yes they may have a fancy DSLR, 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 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 and is happy to be booked out for the whole wedding, 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.
So let me know your thoughts... are you a bride who had a friend take your pictures, were they good or bad, would you do it again? Are you a Photographer who has experience of this? Are you currently planning your wedding and struggling with budget and considering ditching your photographer?
Tell me your thoughts I am dying to hear your stories!