My Thoughts On Asking A Family Member Or Friend To Be Your Wedding Photographer

Is it a good idea to ask a friend or family member to photograph your wedding in order to keep the costs down?

Having been a photographer for both friends and family I believe I can comment on this and help you make the right decision when considering your wedding photographer. When building my wedding photography portfolio I had the opportunity to photograph weddings for my sister, brother and other close friends. I found that having such a close relationship to the bride and groom and all of the guests affected my performance when taking photographs. While I was not the only photographer covering the wedding I still felt I had a job to do, especially when I needed to expand on my portfolio, but it wasn’t as easy as I had thought.

In my opinion I either need to be a guest or photographer. To be a guest at a wedding you need to sit and watch the ceremony, you need to talk to relatives you haven’t seen for a while, you need to be part of the dinner service, enjoy the speeches and have a few too many drinks. all of these things cannot easily coincide with taking professional looking photographs.

While I was able to provide some nice photographs to my family/friend, I was unable to photograph key shots like the group shots, the ceremony etc. as I needed to be part of these celebrations and was not in the right mindset to manage a crowd and organise a large group of people. If you feel you need to save money by hiring a photographer who is a friend, I would advise you to find someone who isn’t a close friend e.g. a friend of a friend. That way the photographer won’t feel obliged to take part as a guest and only take part as the wedding photographer.

Be careful – even though you know the person photographing your wedding don’t just assume they are up to the job because they have a hobby in photography or own a decent camera. Experience is essential and without it you may end up with wedding photographs you never want to look at. Be sure to have a good look at what the person has photographed in the past, and decide whether it is relevant to what he/she needs to do on the day.

One last pointer – if you decide to hire a friend in order to save money, make sure to treat them as you would a professional. By this I mean make sure they know what sort of shots you want, who is going to be in what group shot, how early they will arrive and what time they will leave. This will both help ensure you get the photographs you want and will put the photographer into the right state of mind.