TWO THINGS I COMMONLY HEAR FROM POTENTIAL COUPLES:
“We’re on a small budget, so hiring a family member might be the best route for us to go.”
“We know someone that we trust and know well that’s done some beautiful work. Wouldn’t that be sufficient?”
While I can sure appreciate the list of reasons for asking these people to document your special day, I have also heard enough horror stories and experienced saving brides at the last minute to urge you to carefully reconsider going down this path of potential landmines.
Out of all of those conversations and experiences, here’s my 4 top reasons why you shouldn’t hire a family member or friend to shoot your wedding for you – continue reading below for more!
1. A PROFESSIONAL IS A PROFESSIONAL FOR A REASON
I’ve been there, done that. Seriously! Everyone has to start somewhere, I get that – and I had to too, and I’m so thankful for the couples that took a chance on me during my first season. Before getting into wedding photography though, I went through 13 years of experience passionately learning everything I could about photography. I’ve shot various events, worked with hundreds of clients, done pre- and post-processing on tens of thousands of photos, met countless deadlines, created contracts that protect both myself and the client, worked every imaginable lighting situation one can think of…the list goes on and on. I encourage my couples to think about these things when they’re legitimately at a crossroads in making a decision on who they hire!
2. IT’S A 2-PERSON JOB
Photographers don’t include a second shooter to simply have an excuse to up their packages. Two professional photographers for a wedding day are absolutely needed. So much happens throughout the day, beginning to end, and since it’s physically impossible for 1 person to be in 2 places at once, we devise plans for every location we’re at to ensure that absolutely everything is covered at all times, so that nothing is missed.
We also count on each other for the necessary breaks and to make sure those pesky lighting situations are handled correctly. It’s definitely no easy task covering all of the speeches, dances, bouquet tosses, and cake cutting.
Having a second shooter ensures full coverage for you and distributes the responsibilities enough, so that I, your main photographer, can focus on you – the client.
3. PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR WEDDING IS MORE THAN JUST YOUR WEDDING
I’d like to challenge you just a bit further here. Some things I’d like for all brides to consider is this: Will there be an engagement session as well, or would the family member/friend simply be photographing your wedding? What will photo delivery be like? How about prints? A photo book? What about photo editing? What will their turn around be – will you be lenient and relaxed about it, or will there be an agreed upon deadline? Hiring your photographer for your wedding day means keeping up with you months and weeks before your wedding day to see what’s happening, being with you for 6, 8, 10, or even 12 hours on your wedding day. Could that person commit to that time investment and be certain that they’ll be there no matter what? What about the weeks spent afterwards working on your photos, prints, and books? It truly goes beyond the scope of the wedding day itself.
4. THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORKING AT AND ATTENDING A WEDDING
Perhaps one of the most overlooked details when considering hiring a family member or friend, is the celebration aspect. Have you considered what they might be sacrificing and missing out on? They’ll be working – a lot! They’ll be on their feet most of the day, have to stop conversations half way through, and overall will not be having the same experience at your wedding, as other guests. The emotions of the photographer inevitably have to take a backseat. Their focus needs to be 100% on the task at hand.
Although this makes wedding photography sound like the most horrid job in the world, there truly isn’t any other event that I love more! The big difference between hiring professional photographers and your family member or friend is that we don’t know your family- we won’t be upset because we didn’t get to sit down and catch up with people we haven’t seen in years. We are always absolutely thrilled to spend the day with you and celebrating you! Having been on both sides of working at and attending a family/friend wedding, I can tell you very easily: please let your friends and family be guests at your wedding!
Formerly known as Brian L. Coss Photography or BLC Photography, the Coss Creative team delivers luxury wedding photography and videography in Chicago, IL and worldwide.
Photographer & Filmmaker Brian Coss and his team go beyond imagination, capturing your authentic moments and the raw emotion of your wedding day.