Photo by A Brit & A Blonde
Have a shutterbug in the family or circle of friends? Although it’s tempting to ask them to shoot your wedding for you, consider that doing so will take them out of the realm of ‘guest’ into the grey area of being an unpaid vendor. While everyone else is partying it up, they’ll be running around taking photos. Or they might party it up, leaving you without a lot of photos of the reception (or possibly a lot of out-of-focus shots).
Then there’s the question of what do you do if you’re not happy with the photos they give you? There really is no recourse.
When you hire a professional photographer, you have the expectations of both sides laid out in a contract. You know that your pro is working for you and is there solely to capture the best images possible for X number of hours. Because there is a professional relationship, there is no need to “pussyfoot” around with them, as they know the drill and are there to make you happy.
Same cannot be said for “friendors”. They have a personal relationship with you first and foremost. Even if they shoot professionally for a living, when they do a favor for you by shooting for free or for less money, it’s exactly that – a favor. Which means both sides have a lowered expectation since you’re not paying them the same rate as another client would be. If they are invited as a guest, then they cannot be expected to be running around as they would had they been hired.
My advice – spend the money, hire a professional and save yourself possible disappointment. Your photographer friend/family member will also be thankful, as they can relax and enjoy your special day. Photos are the one thing that you’ll have to capture your day for posterity so it’s worth the splurge (and I speak from experience, having had a friend shoot my wedding).