Your wedding photos will be priceless and irreplaceable so please, for crying out loud, hire someone who knows what they're doing. Just because your BFF has a nice camera doesn't mean he or she knows how to beautifully capture the most intimate moments on your wedding day. But, if you're considering going the friend route for your wedding photographer, keep these 7 things in mind.
The cost. If you're hiring a friend to cut costs, make sure you're actually getting a good deal. It might be a tad bit awkward negotiating pricing with a close friend, but hammer this out initially to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.
How well you know them. One advantage of hiring a friend or family member to take your wedding photos is that they already know you, which can help you feel way more comfortable in front of the camera. But, choose wisely. Don’t settle for your estranged Uncle Bob, who’s never even met your fiancé but swears he's a natural with a Nikon. You need someone who knows both of you fairly well and can bring out the most candid shots, or else you could be stuck with awkward photos you won’t ever want to reminisce on.
Choosing someone too close to you. With that being said, definitely don't pick one of your absolute closest friends to shoot your wedding. Your friends deserve to knock back a glass of champagne (or four) and enjoy your wedding just as much as you, so don't ask one of them to follow you around with camera equipment all day. This could also potentially lead to drama between the two of you if the shoot doesn't go as desired. Aim for someone slightly more distant, like a second cousin or a neighbor.
Doing a trial run. You obviously wouldn't pick a wedding cake without testing it first, so do the same with any potential unprofessional photographers. Test out different lighting and locales. You should also ask for edited versions of the trial photos to get the full effect. If you're not feeling it, don't be afraid to reject one of your friends. After all, it's your wedding, and every detail should be just the way you imagined.
Their equipment. So many people with a standard DSLR camera think they're the next Irving Penn. Professional photographers typically use a range of different lenses and even multiple cameras, so ask your potential ameteur photog what gear they have on-hand. You might even consider helping them financially to stock up on higher-quality equipment.
Time. Some professional wedding photographers only book wedding day sessions for a specific amount of time. In this case, you can use a friend to your advantage and not worry about beating the clock to get the best shots in. But, figure out how much time your desired friend or family member is willing to put in beforehand. They do need a break at some point to partake in standard wedding guest activities.
Your expectations. Let's be honest, unless your friend happens to be a professional wedding photographer and plans to cut you a sweet deal, you're probably going to have to lower your photo expectations. Unrealistically high expectations and amateur photographers typically don't mesh well, so don't get your veil in a knot if the photos don't turn out as pristine as you had hoped. This also makes the trial run even more important!
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