Photographing your best friend’s wedding — 10 Reasons to say NO!

I saw a tweet fly about twitter that read:

Photographing Your Best Friend’s Wedding – 10 Tips #photography #photo

There was no URL with it to go read the 10 tips, but with the help of our friend Google I was lead pretty quickly to this site, which seems to be the origin of the tweet:

a website called Photography 101.

In full disclosure, I make a majority of my photo income photographing weddings.

The article’s advice is aimed apparently at amateurs who have been lured in by their BFF to do a for free, er. Pro Bono job because they have a nice camera. My advice: Just say “No!”

Just say No!

And here are the 10 reasons why!

1. Photographically speaking a couple’s wedding should be the most important day to them. It is not a time to be breaking a new photographer in to do the job. Couples will look back on these photos for years and not having a professional do the job is just a mistake. Quality wedding photographers don’t have to cost $4,000 depending on what is being delivered. Depending on the local market, its possible to find talented photographers who will do the job for under $1,000.

Its very very important for you and your BFF asking you to do this to realize the average wedding photography isn’t just the 8 hours on site for the wedding and reception, but considerably more. If albums are involved, a pro photographer can easily spend 50 hours of work to make that 8 hour wedding a possibility.

2. You need backup gear. Murphy’s Law is a frequent guests of weddings and having just one camera body, one lens and one flash is an invitation for Murphy to apply his law. Even pro’s loose gear at weddings but we are smart enough to have backup’s packed away so we can keep shooting.

3. Weddings are stressful, even for an experienced photographer. They are hectic and high paced. As a guest or even as the couple themselves, you don’t realize all the different photos that have to be taken. It takes planning and choreography and coordination to pull it all off. You have to spend time with the planner, the DJ, and the couple while they are stressed to the max. Which leads to #4.

4. You won’t enjoy the day. This is your BFF. If you’re behind the camera, you’re not enjoying the wedding. Your friend may not realize what they are asking of you. There is no time to socialize. No time to hang with your family and friends.

5. You cannot (should not) drink if you’re working. So no partying for you. No cocktail hour either because your busy trying to make sure Auntie Em and Uncle Joe get in the right photo.

6. No champagne for you to toast with. You have to get that photo!

7. No cake for you. You will be busy shooting the dance floor.

8. This one may be a positive! It’s an excuse to skip the Electric Slide… but you still have to take photos of it.

9. Its time for the garter/bouquet toss. Wait a minute, you’re still single and you want to catch it. Guess what! It’s not your time to catch the flowers, you have to take photos of it.

10. Now you have to deliver all of your goods and well a lot of the photos are blurry (did someone miss reason #4 above?) and the exposures and color balance is all over the place and you give them to your friend and they are disappointed with them and it costs you your friendship. Is it really worth the risk of loosing your BFF because your quality just wasn’t there? You’re friendship is way too important.

Want to be a true BFF? Take your wedding gift money and contribute it to the fee to hire a professional photographer. Wedding vendors are becoming more popular additions to the Bridal registry and a young couple will appreciate better photos in the long run than a toaster.

They will appreciate having you party with them and be there to help them get through their stressful day. If you are interested in the photography aspect, why not volunteer to be the liaison between the photographer and the family. Photographers appreciate having someone who knows the family and can help out. Just don’t neglect the fact that you are there to be with the bride and groom, not work the wedding as a vendor.

Just say no!

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