March 29, 2016


One of the more common questions that I get is from friends who are torn about whether or not they should hire me to photograph their wedding.

They love my work, they love me, but because I’m a friend they also want me to be a part of the wedding and enjoy myself (which I totally appreciate) so they aren’t certain what the etiquette is for having your friend photograph your wedding.
I figured a lot of you might have a similar situation and that I throw in my two cents on the topic.

{Disclaimer: when I say “should you have your friend photograph your wedding” I’m referring to if you have a friend who is a professional photographer and you already know and love their work. I am not talking about “I have a friend with a nice camera to take some pretty pictures of her dog sometimes.”  It is still very important to hire a professional to capture your wedding day!  You can read about how to choose a photographer for your rustic wedding in this article.}

So back to the question at hand, should you have a friend photograph your wedding?

The final answer ultimately has to come down to trusting your intuition.  You have to be comfortable with your decision or it will just add stress to your wedding day.
Here are a few points to consider while you make your choice.

Don’t feel obligated

First and foremost, don’t feel obligated to hire your friend simply because they’re your friend.  If they do not shoot weddings in the style that you prefer, or if you’re just not that crazy about their work, ultimately it’s your wedding day and your friend will want you to get the photos that you want for your big event.
This can be a tricky situation to navigate especially if you have more than one close friend who is a professional photographer.  The best way to go about it is to just be open and honest with your friends and if they don’t shoot in the style that you prefer ask them for referrals.  They will know other photographers who shoot other styles and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to make recommendations.

Show your appreciation

You are one of your friends biggest fans.  You are always sharing their work on social media – liking their posts, telling them how great you think they are –  which is awesome, but you can ask any artist and they will tell you the best way to show someone involved in a creative field that you appreciate their work is to put your money where your mouth is. (Check out this great article by David DuChemin that articulates this beautifully.)
Artists are creators by nature and they love to make people happy.  If it were up to most of us we would create things just to create something and not even worry about getting paid. The unfortunate reality is that to run a business, bills got to get paid.
By choosing to hire your friend you are supporting them in multiple ways and showing that you really do love and appreciate their work.

Reduce stress on your wedding day

Your wedding day is like a whirlwind.  It is full of things that need to be done, people you need to greet, and places you need to be – usually on a very specific timetable.
You are usually pretty vulnerable on your wedding day, especially when you think about stripping down to your spanks to put on your wedding dress.

Is this really a time you want a complete stranger hanging out the room with you?

By having a friend there to photograph you’re getting ready and your wedding you have someone you’re already comfortable with and who already understands you helping to make the process go as smoothly as possible.  This lowers your stress and makes your day that much easier and more enjoyable.

Spend quality time together

One of the major concerns that I have heard from friends is that they won’t get to spend any time with the people they care about on their wedding day.
It’s a busy day with a lot of people to see and it can be hard to get quality time with all the people you care about.

When I photograph a friends wedding, I am probably the person she spends the most time with.

This takes an event that can otherwise be stressful and essentially turns it into hanging out with your friend all day and we just happen to take some pictures now and then.

Have your photographer contract the second shooter

Whenever I photograph a good friend’s wedding, a great compromise for me being able to photograph the wedding and enjoy myself as a guest is to hire a second shooter for the reception.
This allows you to get my perspective and my creative eye during the details, the ceremony, and the portraits and still allows me to enjoy myself as a guest at the reception without having to sacrifice having full coverage of the wedding day.
Sometimes I will step in and photograph events like the first dance or the cake cutting, and sometimes I will leave the reception completely to my second shooter.
Much of this is a preference of the bride and groom and you should be sure to discuss your expectations with the photographer prior to the event to make sure you guys are on the same page.

Get it in writing

If you do make the decision to have your friend photograph your wedding be sure for the sake of your friendship that you sign a contract.
Make sure you not only sign the contract, but you actually read and understand the contract fully.  If you have any questions about what is included, what is not included, and the services or products that you will be receiving ask!  Be sure that you are 100% clear on both of your sets of expectations before the wedding.
Miscommunications can lead to hurt feelings and strain friendships but with clear communication prior to the event you should be able to have an enjoyable and stress-free wedding day.
Would you like to get tips about how to plan your perfect wedding?  Click below to download my guide!
{photos in this post were taken while second shooting for Candice Adelle Photography}


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