• Elizabeth Nelson

5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer and not a Friend.

Want to hire a family friend to photograph your wedding? Here's why it's not always the best idea.

As a photographer in the wedding industry, I am not really surprised anymore when a couple comes to me with this sentence regarding their wedding photography.

"We have decided to go with a family friend".

There are always different reasons why they have gone with their friend, some being for convenience others because it was a gift they were offered but most of the time it is due to financial reasons. Usually a family friend will do it for a considerably lower cost than a professional.


I can not fault couples who wish to use a family friend, but I would be lying if I said it didn't sting when that is the reason given for not choosing to work with me. Mostly I feel bad and anxious for the couple because I have heard one too many stories full of regret from couples who chose a family friend over a professional wedding photographer.


So, if you are contemplating the idea of working with a family friend over a professional wedding photographer, hopefully I can shed some light on why that might not be the best idea. Especially if having quality photos is high on your list of priorities.


Professionals are committed to you

When you hire a professional wedding photographer, we are duty bound to you and your wedding day. From the day we are hired to the day we deliver your photos to you, we are working closely to make sure every last detail is captured and remembered just the way you want in the least stressful way.


From my own experience, I have had couples express to me their regret in hiring a friend or family member because they simply didn't show up to capture their day. Usually this is because of the high pressure that is put on photographers to capture everything perfectly.


As professionals, we tend to get used to the chaos and pressure that comes with photographing a wedding because not only is it our passions to be there, but after the 5th or 6th wedding, we become familiar with the pressure and chaos and adapt quickly. We are also contractually obligated to carry out our duties.


Nothing can substitute for experience

Imagine if on your wedding day you have your friend who is photographing your day coming up to you and asking a million and one questions about what you want photographed or worse, not having them ask you anything at all and realizing that you don't have that one photo you've always wanted. Imagine the time has come to take family photos and no one is there to take charge and guide everyone into those post wedding ceremony family photos that you've so badly wanted?


"No man's knowledge can go beyond his experience" -John Locke


As professional wedding photographers, we have hundreds, most likely even thousands of hours of experience under our belts by the time we are photographing your wedding day and it will make all of the difference.


Throughout your day, we are there to guide people into large family photos so that everyone is seen smiling and happy to celebrate your day with you. We are there to capture those tiny details like your wedding jewelry and your special wedding day perfume. We are there to capture surprise visits by family members, that special gift you gave to your soon to be spouse and that quickly passing emotional moment because we know what to look for.


Your wedding day is unique to you and you alone. No two weddings will be the same and in order to capture all of those moments you so desperately want to be able to look back on, takes a professional who is well experienced and who can adapt to your day effortlessly.


Quality comes with the profession

Most, if not all professional wedding photographers will have a set of high quality lenses, multiple camera bodies, external flashes, and on occasion some fun accessories like fairy lights, props or prisms to take your photos to that next level. With all of that equipment alone, we can produce images of high professional quality.


When you add in the experience we bring with us, the quality of images goes up tenfold. We have spent thousands of dollars on equipment to ensure the quality of images we produce meet the standards and expectations of those who inquire to work with us.


Think about your relationship

When hiring a professional wedding photographer you will develop some level of friendship. Sometimes it lasts the duration of planning the wedding and ends or changes to an acquaintanceship once the photos are delivered or you become true friends before, during and after!


When you hire a family friend or just a friend, you run into the chances of straining the relationship. This usually happens when either the person hired begins to hold a grudge for not having been paid an adequate amount or when you are not happy with the results and you can't tell them which can cause hardship. Or you do and it damages the friendship.


Either way, risk is being put onto that friendship when it doesn't have to be. Let your friends and family attend and enjoy your wedding day and let the professionals work to capture your day.


There will always be someone who can do it for cheaper, but at what cost?

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I can not fault anyone for choosing to go with a family friend over a professional wedding photographer but what I hope for is the chance to educate couples about are their options.


I am a firm believer in the fact that a wedding should never break your bank. There are always ways to get what you want so that you can look back and have no regrets about your wedding day.


If wedding photos are on the top of your priorities, I urge you to stay away from choosing a friend or family member to photograph your big day. For the majority of us, we only get one chance to get the wedding photos of our dreams and that is a lot of pressure to put on someone who does not have experience in photographing weddings.

"I don't shoot what it looks like. I shoot what it feels like".

As a wedding photographer, I am here for you. Everyone deserves to have the wedding photos of their dreams. If you are a budget conscious couple and wedding photos are the most important part of your day, I will work with you in a way that benefits the both of us so that you don't have regrets.


If you are having second thoughts about hiring your family friend, reach out to me and let's talk about your options. ❤️


You can email me at elizabeth@nelsoncinematic.com and I will respond within 24 hours.


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Phoenix, Arizona  elizabeth@nelsoncinematic.com  480-268-5795

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