Can You Trust a Friend to Be Your Wedding Photographer?

You’ve set the date of your wedding and you know where it’s going to be. You’ve picked the invitations, the caterer, found a band or DJ and tasted the wedding cake. What’s left? Choosing the wedding photographer.

Of course, everyone wants to try to save money when planning a wedding. Weddings are expensive after all. At the same time though, you also want to reduce your stress. Choosing a wedding photographer is a time where you have to balance these two concerns.

Inevitably, when the wedding is being planned, someone will remember a family friend who is a good photographer. On the surface it seems like a good idea. After all, this person will be willing to work for far less than a professional photographer would. You may have seen some of the pictures they have taken and you may have even liked them.

Of course, everyone has heard stories of the professional wedding photographer that ruined the mood of the wedding by constantly butting in to take pictures. You may have been a guest that had their view of the wedding blocked because the photographer was trying to get the shot. And everyone has heard of a wedding photographer that has charged an arm and a leg to take pictures.

So can you trust an “amateur” to take pictures at your wedding? The answer is maybe… Before you let this person take pictures of your special day though, there are some guidelines you should discuss with them. Setting some ground rules will help decrease your stress and anxiety. Please note that these guidelines apply even if you are hiring a professional wedding photographer.

The photographer has to know their equipment front to back. Your wedding is not the time for a photographer to be using a new camera that they are not familiar with. All equipment should be in good working condition. Your photographer should know the equipment so well that using it is second nature to them.

The photographer needs to have backups and spares of all equipment. This means things like batteries and memory cards for the camera. (Or film if your photographer is old fashioned.) You can’t tell the bride to say “I do” again because you had to run to the store to get more batteries. The same holds true for other equipment like flashes and even for the camera itself. Having a backup means not missing a shot.

Remember that the picture is not just about who is in the foreground. You may have a beautiful picture of the bride and groom, but if someone in the background is sick because they had too much from the open bar, the shot will be ruined. Composing a picture is about more than just the people in the shot. A photographer needs to keep lighting in mind as well. Glare can come from many locations. Windows, room lights and people’s glasses are just a few.

In the end, remember that it is your special day. You’ll be sharing your wedding pictures with people the rest of your life. Imagine how different an experience you will have sharing ugly and poorly shot pictures with your grandchildren than you will sharing beautiful well composed ones.

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