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Snap Unhappy? Why Friendship, Amateur Photography and Weddings Don’t Mix

If you search any wedding forum, you are sure to come across many tales of woe from newlyweds lamenting the fact that they asked a friend or a budding amateur photographer to shoot their big day for them.

It’s true, weddings are one of the most expensive days of anyone’s life, but if you are on a budget, or even if you’re not on a budget but a friend or up-and-coming photographer offers their services, here are some reasons to think long and hard before agreeing to a friend, relative or amateur photographer shooting your special day:

There’s a lot more to wedding photography than just ‘point and shoot’

Often post-wedding photography complaints from brides are about the quality of the photos supplied, such as blurred or dark shots. Digital photography has opened up the opportunity to take beautiful pictures to many people, but this doesn’t mean that a decent camera is all that is needed.

A good knowledge of aspects such as lighting is crucial – particularly if your wedding is late in the day, in the winter, or you are unfortunate enough to experience inclement weather.

Framing, background and attention to detail also figure in the must-have skills of a wedding photographer. If you’ve spent hours creating beautiful centrepieces, you don’t want pictures of them obscured by the table number, for example. Similarly, do you really want to look back in years to come at pictures of a beautiful bride and a handsome groom stood in front of a fire exit?

Weddings are busy, busy, busy: blink and they’ll miss that vital shot!

Weddings are long days with a lot going on. Taking photos of static objects and landscapes is not the same as capturing moving people and conveying emotion.  If you ask a friend or up-and-coming photographer to shoot your day, they are reliant on a style they are used to and the timetable you give them; if you hire a professional photographer who’s been in the trade for a long time, they can anticipate what happens next, which often leads to that great shot of the bride and groom sharing a loving moment or the best man telling a hilarious joke, for example.

Similarly, if timings go awry, professional photographers can help to get things back on track by suggesting that certain shots be taken at other times. Even with a list of the photographs you want taken and a good best man or chief bridesmaid to help the photographer out, if you’ve asked a friend to shoot your wedding day, you may end up disappointed when you find important shots missing; an experienced photographer will have excellent organisational skills and won’t be afraid to round up friends and relatives when needed.

No hard feelings

It’s easy to think that friendship runs deeper than a few photos, but if you do ask a friend to shoot your big day, and it all goes wrong, are you going to be able to forgive them, or is that out-of-focus image of you cutting the cake always going to be in the back of your mind to make you resent them?

And so, the moral of the story is: if you’re splashing out on dresses, suits, flowers, favours and all of the other paraphernalia that comes with a wedding, don’t skimp on wedding photography: you only get one wedding day after all; you’ll want beautiful images of that day to remember it by.