Using Friends and Relatives as Photographers
Many Utah brides have family or friends that generously offer to photograph their weddings for little or no cost. While these well-intentioned friends may well be excellent photographers, there are some points you should consider. Here is a guide to help you decide when and how to use their help to extend your wedding photography coverage.
Photography skills are not the only requirement for creating great wedding images. Experience photographing weddings is the only thing that can develop the timing and intuition required to anticipate and capture the moments that tell your story.
As a guest, your friend will be drawn into conversations, have some cake, a glass of punch, talk with their families and possibly be in some of the pictures himself. How many photos will be missed or poorly executed by a distracted photographer?
If things go badly, your relationship could be strained forever. Not to mention, you could be left with no photos. Casual photographers usually don’t own backup equipment. If he drops a lens, his camera fails, batteries die or a piece of equipment was left at home, your photography could suffer.
Family and friends may lack the versatility necessary to do what you want them to. A casual photographer has probably never had to adapt his style of photography to suit the tastes of another person or photographed enough weddings to have built a repertoire of poses and shots to offer you.
If he is shy or inexperienced in directing people or not used to minding small details, you may end up with poorly posed photos of people looking in all directions or photos of only the people he felt comfortable directing.
You aren’t his livelihood. Since he probably has a full time job, you can expect to wait longer for your photos and handle your reprints yourself.
He may not possess the tools or experience to retouch photos. Your wedding day nerves-induced pimple will be captured forever in each and every photo.
He may be biased. If he still views you as a sweet little six-year old girl, chances are that is how you will look in your photos. That could be a problem if you want to look glamorous and maybe even (gasp) a little sexy.
Skill operating a camera and skill posing you to look 10 or 20 pounds slimmer do not go hand in hand. If your friend does not have experience posing all kinds of people, he can make dozens of subtle (and not so subtle) posing, composition, and lens selection mistakes that make you look a little shorter, a little heavier, and a little awkward.
If your wedding photography budget is modest, we recommend you choose the professional photography package you can afford and use it for the most important photos. Use the professional’s time to cover formal bridal photography, bride and groom portraiture, and family photos. – basically the photos most people frame and hang in their homes. Then let your friend provide additional candid coverage after the professional photographer has left – or the types of image you’ll likely use to make a scrapbook or album. If you’re primarily interested in photojournalistic style photography then you should divide the work between the professional and amature in the exact opposite way.