Are you Planning on using a friend to do your wedding photography?

This article isn’t intended to shake a disapproving finger at couples who feel they cannot afford the services of a professional wedding photographer, nor is it a post delivered by a photographer who feels his profession is threatened by keen amateurs taking a piece of ‘their’ market.

More so I hope this is going to be an informative and objective post for those people who really have found themselves considering using a friend or family member to capture the biggest celebration day in their lives.

Planning a wedding is a costly business, with a recent survey conducted by the Telegraph placing the average cost in at around £18,000!

This price tag is far from cheap and with such costs involved it’s hardly a surprise that 1 in 9 newlyweds admit that they came close to breaking up due to money related worries!

It has become more common for newly weds (every 1 in 4) to ask for money as a wedding gift to help with finances and a further one in eight even admitting to selling items from their gift list to generate funds!  With such high costs, one has to look at priorities and what you count as being important. These days couples are finding more creative and quirky ways to reduce the bill by putting a lot of their own time and skills into producing hand crafted invitations, table decor, bouquets, cakes etc.

Each detail has attributed costs but many expenses can be cut through personal thought and effort being made by prospective Brides and Grooms.

Getting back to the wedding photography, it has to be asked –

Would you want to save money at the cost of jeopardising the quality of the photography? 

If you take a moment to consider that the wedding photography alone will be the day’s lasting legacy. There may well be a dress stored in an dusty attic or a small fragile keepsake sitting somewhere, but the images will still remain. Highlighting and defining the memories for you and further generations to come.  They will serve as a precious insight into the love and lives that we share.

If this romantic view or passion isn’t something you share, its probably wise to waste no more time reading further 😉

Bridal Portrait Gallery

So here’s the question –

”How much do you really value your photography?”

Not only is this going to be a personal record highlighting and illustrating your memories for many years to follow, it is also the generation of historical documents and will be the public testimony for the times in which we live.

How many of us look back at old family photos, whether they are of our parents, grandparents or other family members?

I know that I do, often marveling at them, thinking about my family and where I come from, whether is a curiosity of the fashion at the time with the clothes they wore, their rugged facial features, or wondering about their connection as a couple – was it a happy marriage?…. the list goes on.

My own parents were reliant on a friend who was going to take the necessary photos but then forgot his camera, so the following day Mum and Dad put on the suit and dress and asked a relative with a camera to take a few snaps. They did, however, have someone taking a cine film so all was not entirely lost! Needless to say these images are precious family documents valued for their rarity.

Today, we are all so lucky to instantly record events in our lives, yet easy access to technology should not mean that we lose sight of the value of photography.

With the advance of technology we will also have access to quality and refinement.

Rather than a rigid studio portrait to record the day, we can record ‘that’ picture. Consider a bride (or groom) shedding a tear during the ceremony, a flower girl looking on in awe at her mother in the wedding dress, the emotional father of the bride and the best man’s flowing speech that reduced the room to fits of hysterical laughter.

Wedding Party gallery

Creativity is there to harness in abundance

– so why settle or treat photography in the same manner as the generation before?

A few photographs taken by friends or family placed in a peel and stick album or a blurb styled book with digital photographs reproduced on cheap paper is something that anyone with access to a computer can do.

Surely your wedding, our generation and the time in which we live deserves to be documented and displayed in an appropriate manner. Truly reflecting the responsibility associated with documenting your wedding day and showcased within unique products sourced from all around the world.

Exclusively crafted Handmade, Bound Wedding Albums & contemporary wall art produced by the world’s best craftsmen.

The duty and responsibility of photographing your wedding day is not something to be undertaken lightly. Without an appreciation of the wedding day and respect for those involved it is hard to produce accurate, emotive documentary wedding photography.

This trained insight is something you only get when using a professional. It is also something perfected over time utilising skills such as familiarity and anticipation in order to see instances develop and culminate by taking the image at the decisive moment. This cannot be achieved when utilising a friend or family member and exactly why you should not get a family friend to photograph your wedding.

A friend or member of the family is too familiar with you, your relations and other friends. They do not see the trivial pointers that define relationships within your own family group, if they do, they do so when it is too late and the moment has passed. They also run the risk of being caught in the moment with you, sharing or emphasising when they should be recording it.

Wedding Party gallery

A split second in time

We are talking split seconds in time – gone in a moment, yet recorded well, they will stand the test of time and be real instances that bring you back to that moment over and over again.

Such captures are priceless in my opinion. They far outweigh any posed portrait, high fashion shoot or image directed by a photographer.

A number of years ago, long before considering wedding photography as my main area of expertise, I was often asked to photograph friends’ weddings.

I did oblige on a number of occasions but sometimes, I am loathe to admit, I often made the excuse of not being available. I felt that I was being invited due to my choice of career rather than as a friend.

The pictures taken were reasonable and the Bride and Grooms were indeed happy with them. Yet, it has to be said they lacked depth, connection and keen observation. All skills that have now been fine-tuned since those times.

“Retrospectively, I can say with confidence that shooting as a friend with a camera, you have crossed the line that blinkers your creativity.”

You are a relaxed participant, usually indulging in a drink or two and probably engaging with fellow guests to the detriment of missed opportunities.

As a paid professional, priding myself in the service I deliver, I am always looking for that opportunity of a stunning capture. Relaxed but always looking for when a picture will present itself – moving in and taking the image at it’s culmination.

I love a drink as much as the next man, yet it always tastes better once I arrive home having delivered what I set out to do and knowing I have a great edit to look forward to with the pleasure (in due course) of presenting my work to the Bride and Groom.

Wedding Party gallery

What if?

If your wedding photography turned out to be a ‘fail’ – how would you feel? What could you do? When will you see the pictures? Can you make demands of this friend?

A paid professional has perfected tried and tested methods to ensure every possibility is covered. You get what you pay for – the pictures you want. I deliver pictures my clients love and very, very importantly pictures that I also love!

An industry survey maintains that couples spend on average 15% of their wedding budget on photography, which if you use the Telegraph surveys average spend as being £18,000 takes the photography budget to £2,700.

I’m pleased to say that my average client pays substantially less than this yet there is a growing pattern of clients willing to pay a far greater percentage of their budget for photography.

They appreciate the art, the importance of producing that family heirloom, the lasting tribute and testimony to their life and the times in which they live.

If you were planning on using a friend to do your wedding photography, I hope this post has given you food for thought?

We all know someone who thinks they’re good, we all know someone who we think is good – but will they produce wedding photography the way they should?