Occasionally when at a wedding fair chatting to a a new couple when I ask if they have booked a photographer I hear the words “we have a friend doing it”.  I usually ask if their friend is a professional to which the usual answer is “no but he/she has a good camera”. Sometimes I try to probe to check that they are totally happy with this and often the couple is but sometimes they say he has offered so they can’t really say no.

I want to tell these couples to make sure they are 100% sure, has the photographer got insurance, back up equipment, a second shooter, do they know how a wedding day runs, etiquette in the church/ceremony, the shots you NEED and the shots you WANT, how to run the timings, arrange group shots, confetti shot, how much time they need for couple shots, editing suite, how to work flash and off camera flash, a back up plan if it rains…. the list goes on! The chances are they have a good camera, enjoy taking photos and think they will be able to show up shoot what is going on, have a few drinks and hand you a disc of unedited shots. I mean this post to be in no way patronising to all the aspiring photographers out there who are very good and can take beautiful images but shooting a wedding is a very different ball game!

I have heard some horror stories, some really awful ones about lost memory cards with entire weddings on, blurred shots where the photographer has had no idea how or when to use flash, friends disturbing ceremonies and being removed from church, out of focus shots, forgotten group shots, no couple shots again the list goes on. The amount of people I have spoken to in the last few years who have booked a ‘friend’ and been very disappointed with their images is unbelievable. I think there is far more education now through wedding blogs and magazines on how important it is to book a professional but there are still couples out there who think this is a great area to save money and it is these couples I plea to rethink. I am not writing this post to gain bookings but I simply die inside a little when I hear the words “we have a friend doing it” as I can see another future very disappointed couple.

If you are planning to ask a friend then please check their work, have an engagement shoot with them, go through the plan of the day, and check all the points listed above to make sure they have them covered. They may be a friend but if they mess up your wedding photos chances are they won’t be for very long, is capturing the biggest day of your life and your friends relationship really worth it?

As a little bit of fun I requested some images from some of my lovely 2012 couples and thought I would compare them to my own shots taken at the same time on their wedding day. Don’t get me wrong these images are lovely and to me every single image has a place in helping you remember your wonderful day, whether blurred, dark, poor quality they were all images of  YOUR day and each one is just as important as the next. Having a full set of professional shots with all the important moments captured in fun, interesting, artistic ways, beautifully edited, all the group shots you wanted and some lovely romantic shots of the two of you, perfectly sharp shots of your speeches and crazy ones of your dance floor, are absolutely priceless.  Please take my advise and don’t save on your photographer these are the shots of your day you will treasure for the next 50 years!

Dougie & Ellen’s big day ~

Getting ready….

Gorgeous Bridesmaids walking in to the church…

A stunning Ellen walking in with her Dad…

Confetti time…

The Cake cut…

Gary & Denises Big Day ~

The amazing dress going on…

Walking down the isle as Mr & Mrs…

Guests getting down on the dance floor…

Jon & Faye’s Big Day ~

Jon getting ready with the boys…

Married and signing the register {a tricky shot with a huge bright window behind them}…

 

In the sunset {difficult to focus and shoot without knowledge of Off camera flash}…

 

The boys getting crazy on the dance floor…

Mickey & Amy’s Big Day ~

Amy all ready to go looking stunning {in a very dark room}…

Girls and boys group shots…

All my couples have informed me they have asked their friends and families permission to use their shots for this post so thank you to the friends and family for making this post possible.

So you can see what a huge difference a professional can make looking for the best angle, the best expression, a little editing and the best knowledge of the camera to quickly get the best possible result. One of the brides who sent the images over even commented that some of her friends shots were even taken on DSLR’s! So when it comes to your wedding day, would you still want too book a friend?

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