So you are planning a wedding, and you want somebody to record the event but who you have to take the photos? Do you go for the friend or the professional photographer? As a professional photographer ‘it’ could be said I have a vested interest, BUT like many other professional photogs I have covered other people’s weddings as a friend (we do have them! :-D) as well as being a professional and I will say there is no correct answer… does that surprise you?
Asking a friend to do the wedding photography might on the face of it can seem a great idea and save some money, but there are some things to consider:-
> The most important thing whether is you like their photos? Actually the same applies for any professional photographers you are considering! Somehow with the potential of it being free or cheap we become less worried about whether we like something. However – this is your big day and the images that come out of it you’ll be looking back on years to come afterwards. This not day to take shortcuts that you might regret. You aught to have the images you deserve and want to treasure.
> Closely in line with this is how good is your friend at photography? Owning a good camera does not make somebody a good photographer nor does ‘experience’. I’ve seen individuals who have had a camera for ages and still take okay photos, while others have only been taking photos for a couple of years and take great photos. Photography like most things is a skill and an art.
> Something to seriously consider is whether you want your friend to enjoy the day? Shooting a wedding is not a social experience. The photographer does not have the time/luxury to spend chatting to others and being social. They cannot just sit still in the service and enjoy it, they have to keep moving, looking for the angles and shots as they come. They also cannot sit down and enjoy the wedding breakfast if offered unless they want to miss shots. If you ask your friend to photograph the reception or party, they will be torn between gettign the right shots and having fun. The professional photographer is only worried about capturing the atmosphere and nice shots. So either your friend needs to be aware of this and is happy to miss out, and/or their passion for photography makes up for what they will miss out socially (I’m the latter).
> Photographing weddings is not the same as photographing an event like a birthday. It has its own set of skills beyond the actual skill of the photography, these skills include handling people and organisation. Professionals have spent time developing these skills and the resources they need to help the photographing of your wedding go smoothly.
> It’s quite likely a friend will not have access to resources which are only available to professionals. Resources that professionals have spent time researching to get the best quality prints and albums they can find.
> Will you get some of the other benefits a professional photography service might offer like an engagement shoot as part of a paid package?