Recently I’ve attended a few weddings where the brides and grooms have asked friends to photograph their special days. Now I have no problem with this (I myself had a friend photograph my wedding) as long as the photographing friend is a professional. I don’t mean “professional quality,” but an actual professional photographer.
Brides, I understand why we like asking our friends to be our photographers. Honestly, it’s cheaper as you’ll receive the friend rate. You’ll feel comfortable posing for this person. Then there’s even that level of trust—you’re friends, so you know he or she will give you his or her best.
But, brides, while it’s tempting to hire your friends as your photographers, I want to give you a little glimpse into several situations to consider before you book. If your friend passes the test, then by all means strike up a deal! But if not, then consider leaving the most important day of your life to a professional with the proficiency to give you exactly what you want.
Ten Questions to Ask before Booking your Friend as your Photographer:
- Time Management: A friend might be able to capture excellent imagery, but how many shots will it take? The guests will be waiting for the Grand Entrance, and you’ll want enough time to enjoy your reception.
- Technical Skill: Will your friend have the technical prowess to capture brilliant images, no matter the lighting situation? Think sunset at an outdoor ceremony, the dance floor in a dim reception room, or the cake illuminated by candlelight.
- Post-Production: Professional photographers are not fazed by the magnitude of post-production and the editing process. They have excellent turn-around times too. But will your friend eat you alive the next time you ask: “How much longer before I receive my pics?”
- Party vs. Work: You want your friend to enjoy your wedding, and she will likely want to celebrate too. Can your friend separate “time to party” from “time to work” on your wedding day?
- Artistic Style: Does your friend’s style match your own? The wedding day is no time to find out she wants you to do handstands in heels for some artsy photograph you have no interest in duplicating.
- Photojournalism Experience: Your friend may be great with still-life portraits, but how is he with live action? Your friend must capture moments as they happen, from that special kiss at the ceremony’s end to an impromptu laugh during the best man’s toast.
- Licensure: Is your friend a licensed photographer? Many Las Vegas wedding venues require a vendor be licensed and have insurance. It’d be a shame to find out too late that your friend won’t be allowed to photograph, due to this detail.
- Albums and Prints: Does your friend possess album design skills or offer professional prints? The digital images are only a portion of the final product. To preserve your memories, find out if your friend will provide professional prints that will stand the test of time as well as design a creative album.
- Professionalism: How does your friend present himself? A pro has no problem doing his job well, even in high-tension situations. You want a photographer you can trust to be professional, prompt, and interact well with guests and fellow vendors.
- Bonds of Friendship: Will you still be friends at the end of it all? Most importantly, you want to keep your friendship. If high stress equals bad news for you two, don’t put yourselves in that situation.
Las Vegas brides, for your wedding day, you want a professional photographer who has the technical skill, the professional demeanor, the creative edge, and the customer service to make your wedding dreams come true. If your friend fits the bill, then congratulations! But don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself about your friend’s skills either.
To explore additional options, review the portfolios of professional Las Vegas wedding photographers and make appointments to meet with your favorites. If you’d like, invite your photog friend to join you at these consultations.
You know what works for you two! Now do some brainstorming, be honest, and be confident about who you invite to photograph your special day!
Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2012
Photographs: Jamison Frady of Quiet Art Photography © 2010