A wedding doesn’t have to cost the earth – and in difficult economic times, a lot of couples are looking to save on their big day and are finding creative ways to put a homemade spin on their wedding.
It can be agonising trying to decide where to allocate your budget, and therefore very tempting to bring friends and family in to take the place of suppliers.
I may be biased, but I’m here to tell you that the one thing you may really regret asking a friend to take on is the photography.
Why is photography important?
It’s only after the wedding that a lot of couples realise just how important wedding photography really is in the big scheme of things. With the wedding over, the photographs not only provide short-term excitement and a chance to relive the day again, but they are a lasting record of the happiest day of your life. Your marriage and your photographs are the two things that will last forever – and after months, maybe years of planning, it seems crucial to capture those moments that go by so fast at the time.
Why can’t a friend do it?
If you happen to have a friend who is a professional wedding photographer (and who is happy to spend your wedding day working) that’s one matter. I do, however, find that couples who have friends take the photos either ask friends with an interest in photography and a decent camera or photographers who don’t usually shoot weddings.
So why isn’t that enough?
Wedding photography is very, very different to any other type of photography. While a friend may get some nice shots of you and the family if the lighting is in their favour, the following points may well be missed:
- The need to be unobtrusive. Many churches have rules about photography, flash and where the photographer can stand. A seasoned professional will be well aware of the nuances of photographing a ceremony without disrupting proceedings. A hobbyist photographer may not – and may be caught off guard when they can’t use flash or have to try to shoot from an awkward angle. Even if the ceremony is not in a church, there is a need for subtlety and discretion on the part of a wedding photographer and it takes a long time to hone this art.
- The need to capture the moment quickly. A good wedding photographer will be used to seeing ceremonies and special moments throughout the day – they will know exactly when to snap and will be able to react quickly. A friend, with all the best intentions in the world, may miss out on some of those special parts of your big day.
- The need to understand lighting. A wedding photographer will know how to shoot in a dark room, a bright room, outside, inside, in a marquee, at night, without compromising the quality of the images. Even if someone takes really nice shots in their spare time, it doesn’t mean they have the expertise to change lenses, work with the light and produce professional work in any circumstances.
- The need to capture people and detail. A less experienced photographer might not know how to shoot all those little décor details you’ve worked so hard on in an artistic way. They might not know how to shoot the flow of the day so that it tells a story, or understand how family group shots work and who to call on when the time comes for formals.
This cautionary tale on the mighty Rock'n’Roll Bride blog certainly reinforces some of these points and gives a first-hand account of a bride who regretted asking a friend to take her wedding photographs.
How to save money without losing out.
Aside from cutting your budget in other areas, there are ways to save money and still have the wedding of your dreams. For example, having your wedding on a weekday or a Sunday can dramatically cut venue costs. Most photographers will have varying packages and will do their best to work within your budget – if it can’t be done, they will recommend someone who can help you.
When it comes to photography, quite often you do get what you pay for, and in my opinion, your wedding photographs are an investment for life. So put your mind at rest and, whoever you book, make sure you put the lasting memory of your big day in the hands of a professional.