What Can Happen When You Hire a Friend as a Wedding Photographer

Having a talented photographer as a friend is pretty great, isn’t it? You always have someone who’s able to get that oh-so-perfect photo of you for Instagram feed or an adorable family photo for your holiday cards. It’s the best! However, when it comes time to pick your wedding photographer, I strongly encourage you NOT to hire your friend.

You’re probably thinking, “but wouldn’t it be best to work with someone you already know and feel comfortable with?” You probably think it will be more meaningful to have someone you know and trust shooting your wedding. Plus, wouldn’t it be much better to give your friend money rather than a stranger? You’re right, it might seem a little crazy, but hear me out. I’ve seen it happen and more often than not, it doesn’t go super smoothly… no matter how much you love your friend or their work.

Here’s just a few reasons I advise couples against hiring friends (or family) as their wedding photographer:

They Won’t Get to Enjoy the Wedding (Or They’ll Enjoy it Too Much)

Shooting a wedding is a big job. In fact, it often requires more than one photographer, just because of the number of hours — and photo opportunities — involved. If you think your friend will be able to still enjoy the ceremony, dinner, dancing, and drinks while still making sure you get all the photos you want, think again!

Either your friend is going to feel like they missed the entire wedding (which is a huge bummer) or they’re going to be having too much fun at your wedding that they’ll completely forget to take the photos you were hoping for on your big day. Both scenarios are not ideal, and that’s why it’s better to hire someone who isn’t already on the guest list to photograph your wedding.

The Photos Aren’t What You Were Expecting

Maybe your friend has a really nice camera and they’ve taken some great shots with it. That’s awesome! However, shooting a wedding is on a whole other level. There are so many factors to consider: lighting (indoor, outdoor, time of day, etc.), posing, angles, focus… I could go on and on. Let’s just say there’s a lot of room for error. Practice makes perfect, so someone who hasn’t done a ton of weddings is working at a disadvantage versus someone who solely photographs weddings.

Skill level aside, there may be a difference in style as well that you may not know if you haven’t seen examples of their wedding photography before. You never want to gamble when it comes to your wedding day photos. Instead, choose someone who has lots of examples to show you so you can get a feel for their skill level and style beforehand.

They Won’t Take Charge

The last thing you want to be doing on your wedding day is directing photos. You want to be able to get completely lost in the day and enjoy every single second. If you have a photographer who isn’t comfortable coordinating your guests for posed portraits, you and your partner are going to be the ones who end up doing it.

When you hire a wedding photographer with lots of experience, they’ll actually be able to help you on your wedding day (not the other way around). A professional with experience will have their own system that works for them, so you won’t ever have to guess what’s going to happen or help them if you catch them standing around looking lost.

I know you love your friends and you want to support them, and that’s great! Just remember, this is your wedding day and it’s only happening once. Instead of using it as an opportunity to give your friend more photography experience, allow them to be a guest and truly enjoy your wedding. There are other ways to show your support, and I think at the end of the day, you’ll be happy you went with a professional.

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