Having a friend do a professional’s job almost never works. Whether they claim to be plumbers, painters, or photographers, the experience and expertise just isn’t there. (Unless you’re lucky enough to have a best friend who actually IS a professional and you’re comfortable that the blurry line between personal and business…more on that below.) When it comes to wedding photography, you really are best off hiring a professional. Here are five reasons why it’s best to hire a professional wedding photographer.
1. A professional is committed to you!
I have heard horror stories of “friends” committing to photograph a wedding and then flake out a few months – or weeks – before. Friends and friends-of-friends just don’t have the commitment to you as a client. They don’t feel the same obligation to show up on time (early), stay until the end, be attentive, and care about your experience. When you hire and pay a professional, though, you sign a contract that commits them to fulfill their obligations to you. For this reason, even if I do work for friends, we always sign a contract and I charge a fee. Commitment goes both ways, right?
2. A professional has experience.
Most people calling themselves wedding photographers have worked at least a few weddings, even if only assisting for other photographers. So even if they don’t have more than a decade of experience, like I do, they still have more experience then your friends. And it shows! Professional wedding photographers know what to expect during your day, where to be, when to be there, where you need to be, and what needs to happen in order to get the photos you want. A key tenet of my business is making the entire wedding photography process stress-free, and I specialize in helping make your day easy and fun. This is the value a professional brings.
3. You will get beautiful photos.
You know the cliche, “You get what you PAY for?” Well, cliches exist for a reason. Hiring a professional wedding photographer means you’ll get professional quality wedding photos! If having beautiful wedding photos is important to you, then it’s worth the investment in hiring a true professional.
4. You won’t have to worry about straining your friendship.
I have photographed friends’ weddings before, I confess, with contracts and invoices and lists and the whole nine yards. And you know, what? It kind of sucks. Almost always, when working with a friend or family member, there is some kind of strain. Am I a friend or a hired helper? What if you don’t like the photos and feel like you can’t tell me? What if you feel like I am not working enough? What if I feel like I am working too hard? The strain is just not worth it when there are so many wonderful professional photographers who would be happy to work with you. Save your friendships.
5. You want your friends to have fun at your wedding!
This is the biggest reason why I don’t actually enjoy working for friends. (And also why I don’t ever bring a camera to a family members’ event.) I want to have fun! I want to party and celebrate with my friends! I want to enjoy the open bar and not have to think about the lighting situation. If your friends are truly your friends, you want them to have fun at your wedding and enjoy it, right?