Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dear ESB: Should I hire an inexperienced wedding photographer?

I have a friend who happens to be a very talented photographer. He and another very talented photographer friend of his are starting a wedding photography business and are willing to shoot my wedding on the cheap because my friend would only charge me travel expenses. This means we'd get great photographers shooting all day for less than one so-so photographer shooting for fewer hours. Awesome, right? Right.

However, before I figuratively sign on the dotted line, I can't help
but wonder if it makes any difference that they don't have experience shooting weddings. I worry that they won't know how to approach the event and ultimately fail to deliver the breathtaking photos I dream of. Do you think it will make a difference? Is there anything I can do to make sure they're totally ready? 



Will your "very talented" photographer friend and his "very talented" photographer friend take good wedding photos? Maybe. But the fact that you make a point of mentioning that they are both very talented makes me think you're working hard to convince yourself that they are. This concerns me too: "I worry that they won't know how to approach the event and will ultimately fail to deliver [FAIL TO DELIVER?!] the breathtaking photos I dream of." You sound like a neurotic production manager. If I were your friend, no way would I want to shoot your wedding.

You need to decide what your priorities are. If you want "breathtaking photos" and you will have a hissy fit if you don't get them, find someone with a breathtaking portfolio. Not a so-so portfolio, a breathtaking portfolio. (Whatever that means to you.) Short of sending these guys off to shoot a bunch of other weddings before they shoot your wedding, there's not much you can do to prep them. There's a reason you're getting them on the cheap.

The other option is to take a deep breath, remind yourself that your wedding is not a photo shoot, and sign on the dotted line.*

Let me let you in on a little secret: All you need is one really good photo.**

(Another one by Lukas Wierzbowski)

*Do ask for a contract, even if all you're paying for is the travel. Everyone will be better off if there's an agreement in writing.

**As Alexis is fond of saying.


  1. I totally agree with this, you only need 1 or 2 good photos, please do not be that person who has 5 wedding pictures up in every room of their house or puts 300 of them on Facebook. It is tacky. Plus, someone needs to take a chance on these guys otherwise they will never get experience.

  2. If you trust your friend I say hire them and write a list of moments you would like them to capture. Like the first kiss or the "details" or something like that.

    If they are as good as you say they are, then they will produce great photos. Here is a wedding that did what you are thinking of:

  3. the disappointment can be enough to ruin a good friendship. i'm all about doing things on the cheap, obv, but i wouldn't skimp here. for some it would work, but you sound like a bride who has some photo expectations.

    and there's a LOT to being a good wedding photographer- not just being able to take good photos. you need to understand the ins and outs of the whole wedding day, etc. it's a moving, active day- not a photoshoot. so they need to be able to roll with the punches, grab a split-second shot of important moments, and anticipate when those important moments happen.

    if these kids need to build their wedding portfolio, maybe let them snap some photos at the wedding, but don't hire em. that'll be the best way for em to get experience without effing up someones wedding album.

  4. YES about the one really good photo.

  5. We hired a non-wedding photographer friend on the cheap and he rocked it. We took him to the church and the restaurant a few weeks beforehand at the right time of day so he could figure out the lighting and the angles (his suggestion) and find places to be unobtrusive during the ceremony. We gave him a short list of the really important moments - but in the end, yeah, all you need is one great photo.

  6. Totally agree that you need to decide what you want. If you want "breathtaking" sets like what you see on blogs, then hire someone "breathtaking" and spend the cash, like ESB said. BUT remember that that is NOT an effing requirement for a wedding, and if you care more about the "one good photo" and having a document that will remind you of the day but not necessarily make you feel like a model or whatever dumb shit, then go with your friends. Just don't put any expectations on them that are not reasonable to put.

    I am so freaking tired of all the photographer talk that surrounds weddings--"it's the more important expense" and blah blah blah. You don't NEED amazing photos of your wedding. You just don't. Very few of our parents had them. Decide what you WANT.

  7. You really really need to think this through ahead of time like everyone said, about priorities.

    Like ESB, when I read "breathtaking photos" I thought, this chick needs to hire a professional photographer. But I also agree that your wedding is not a photoshoot. However, I do not agree that all you need is one good photo.

    We hired a friend, who was a professional photographer but not a wedding photographer. I have one good photo, hell, I have ten, but I am deeply sad about my wedding photos. (Something I don't like to admit outloude.) The ten good photos? They are all of us. They are not of the whole community there. I take a large responsibility to failing to communicate clearly our wants. But also I think Liz articulated above the other problem, that there is stuff that a wedding photographer knows from experience, and it takes just that to build it up.

    So yeah. Everybody is different. Accordiansandlace is right. You don't NEED it. But if you are like me and you want it, be careful and thoughtful.

  8. And if I had them, I wouldn't post 300 on face book. They would be to pour over the memories with the husband & friends and family who grace them. :)

  9. We hired a friend, a very talented friend, who shot our wedding beautifully, and for a teeny tiny fraction of the price. BUT, I didn't have any reservations about hiring her and I wasn't worried that the photos wouldn't live up to my expectations- I walked into the whole shebang without expectations.

  10. Great Post! I'm with ya except for the 'one good photo'. I'm guessing you're talking about a bride/groom portrait, which ya, all you really need is one good portrait to hang on your wall. But if you are into albums and parent books, that one good photo isn't going to cut it.

    Everyone choosing to hire a non-wedding shooter should manage their expectations and you did a great job illustrating that point. Thanks!

  11. we went all out with our photographer because the pictures were important to us .. all of them .. not just one (sorry esb + anon + mouse i need more than one picture). we don't have any of the pictures hanging anywhere, but i look at them on my computer a lot, and they make me happy, a lot.

  12. I would RATHER have a photog who doesn't do weddings...

    you're way less likely to have that ostentatious, contrived vibe about the pics

  13. If you have big expectations about having beautiful and "breathtaking" photos, then DO NOT hire your friend. period.

    The only time its good to hire a friend is when a) they are an amazing experienced wedding photographer, b) you really don't have big expectations for photos.

    We weren't going to have an official photographer at all (tons of people brought digital cameras -- you can't stop them even if you want to), but then decided to ask a couple non-wedding photographer friends to take photos during the ceremony and some quick family portraits. The portraits are not photo-shop-pefect crystal clear "wedding portraits", but they do the job. In 30 years we will remember who was there and what we all looked like and that it was a wonderful day.

    We ended up with some great fun photos, especially the candid and party shots. But there were some moments that nobody caught -- for example, our photographer friend was filming super 8 and everyone else was clapping while we were having our big smooching moment in the ceremony, so we don't have a (still) photographic record of that particular classic wedding moment.

    But we do have a really fun photo of my husband piggy-backing me over the wet grass to the ceremony, which we might not have gotten if we were being ordered around to pose for some "first look" bullshit by a photographer instead of goofing around by the lake with one of our best friends who just happened to have a camera.

  14. I'm with cevd. That's what we did. I do want to print off a few, like the one of my whole family, because we don't see certain relatives very often. But I think it's weird to have photos of yourself plastered all over the place.

    Anyhow, it really just depends on how important photography is to you. It does sound like the reader has some reservations about this friend, so maybe he wouldn't be the best choice for her.

  15. uh, j... i hate to break this to you but your expectations are way too high even for a badass, overqualified, brilliant photographer. if you're going into it hoping for "breathtaking" pictures, you're kind of raising the bar too high and setting yourself up for some disappointment. maybe i'm the only one who feels this way, but when i look at photographs from our wedding, the last thing that comes to mind is "breathtaking"... because, HELLO they're of ME. maybe other people see them that way, but that's not really the point of wedding pictures.
    i'm not trying to say i don't love my pictures, because i do. but the overwhelming emotion you'll be feeling that day (or should be feeling that day) is going to be the "breathtaking" part of your wedding and that's not the kind of thing that is captured in pictures. photographers are there to document the day and the pictures are for helping you remember how you felt on your wedding day. that doesn't mean wedding pictures aren't absolutely beautiful, but unless you're a supermodel, you come from a family of supermodels, and all your friends are supermodels, then i fear every photographer out there will "fail to deliver".

  16. ohhh @celia, good point! its way easier to look at other ppls photos and see them as "breathtaking" models.

    photos of yourself are always just goign to be...well... photos of you. and while they might be joyous and have been taken with a really expensive high-megapixeled camera... prob gives you a slightly different reaction.

    i think this is such a struggle. though i care very little about ANY wedding details, initially i got super sucked into having AMAZING photos b/c thats "the one thing worth splurging on"

    then. i came around. and realized. um, all 100 ppl at my wedding will probably have pretty good digital cameras. they will all be taking pictures. why do i need 2000 photos? what will i do with them? put them in an album and glance at them a few times?

    i think the photographs are the one thing even the practical, indie, anti-wedding industry brides get sucked into... and yet, still a huge amt of money that may not be worth it in the long run...

  17. Normally I'd say do it... but the word 'breathtaking' gave me pause. You have to be honest with your self. The stuff you REALLY BIG TIME care about? The dirty secret is that you have to spend money to get those things (And you should. You want a professional, you pay for a professional.) Everyone tells you, "oh it's possible to do that for $500. I heard of someone who did it once." Yeah, that's BS.

    Bottom line - I bet they'll be kick *ss. But they probably won't be Breathtaking.

    And ESB is right: GET. A. CONTRACT.

  18. PS
    The one photo thing is true. We were lucky... we have tons of breataking photos in the running for 'the one.' But we can't USE those (it's so sad). We have THE PHOTO up in our living room. And an a picture that's more like an artprint somwhere else. And we can't use the rest, really. Sigh....

  19. Not that I regret our photos for a single minute. One of the best choices we made...

    Ok, shutting up now.

  20. if you want your friend to continue to be your friend after the wedding i would say it is a bad idea to hire them for such an important job. not because it is definitely going to ruin your relationship, but the potential is much greater than if you tell them that you hired a non friend. it is very common for people to ruin friendships when they're trying to save a buck!

  21. One thing no one talked about....
    how good of friends are these photographers? and are they friends with other people there? If they have a lot of friends at your wedding they may get distracted and forget they have a job to do.
    also I wouldn't rely to heavily on guests getting a bunch of pictures. It's a nice idea but most guests are expecting there to be photographers to get all the pictures and they want to be there to enjoy the moment, not be behind a camera.
    I also want great pictures, for me, not the blogs or flicker. I chose to pay more for a photographer that I trust and now with all the things I have to worry about leading up to our wedding I have no doubts about our photographer and it is a huge weight off my shoulders.
    but in the long run this is your wedding and you know what will work. trust your gut on this one...

  22. We're using a photographer-friend who shoots fashion not weddings. He is experienced in his field, but how he "works" a wedding remains unknown. I want him to bring his style to our wedding, but I will prep him a bit by sharing some wedding photos I like and by making him a list of MUSTS (such as, pics of me + my dad, pics of my fiance + his mom, etc.). We're not expecting "breathtaking;" we're expecting our day to be documented in an honest way by relaxing, having fun, and letting the photog do his thing.

    I found this quote on A Desert Fete via Let's apply it to wedding photos, shall we?

    "they're not perfect, but they are fantastic,
    and sometimes fantastic is better than perfect.
    wouldn't you agree?"

    Wishing you luck, J!

  23. I'd agree with what's been said already by Meg and esb, among others... But my 2cents:

    Do they already work within the style that you want? Like, if you are wanting arty photojournalism, have they done this at other events? Or, if you're wanting traditional portraiture, have they done that? If those pictures they've aleady taken were for your event, would you be happy with the result? I mean, don't expect traditional or mediocre photographers to transmute into One Love Photo or Max Wenger 'cos you want them too and it's cheap. But if they *have* the transferable skills and just need an opportunity...

    I have a talented photographer friend who refused to do the wedding as he wishes to enjoy the event. As we have a teeny budget, I've hired a less established photographer to take the group pictures everyone will expect (maybe she'll come up with a little extra but that's all I'm expecting), and am going to put a few vintage and/or polaroid cameras out there and hope. But that's our budget, our choice, and I'm keeping my expectations reasonable.

    By the way, I suggest a good read through A Practical Wedding's archives, it's an *incredible* pool of sanity and meaning in an aesthetics-obsessed wedding world, though I love the wedding porn as much as anyone (and it has some of that too.)

  24. I am just so not with you guys on the all you need is one photo thing. (and i am used to being with you guys.) yeah it's all you "need" but you don't "need" any of it.

    If it is something that is important to you- don't risk it.

  25. I thought the most important part of the whole wedding thing was erm, the VOWS, and that being there in the moment was of slightly greater priority than a collection of *breathtaking* photos. Indeed, I echo ESB, Meg and other's sentiments - that if you are concerned friend photographers may fail to deliver (ergh) these amazing "look at meeee" photos (I'm sorry - that's but the feeling I'm getting) then you really need to do 2 things. Remind yourself that your wedding is NOT YOUR PHOTOSHOOT, and further, that perhaps you need to pay someone with a *breathtaking* portfolio.
    Because that's clearly what you want.

    Personally, a collection of candid photos of people having a great time and feeling loved up and happy would be much, much more preferable (IMO) to those hackneyed, posed photographs that I see so often. Just sayin' is all.

  26. I am with @Celia. It is you + your partner who will make the photos "breathtaking". You can't disguise pure unadulterated happiness. And I need more than one photo, too. I loooove pictures. But that is just me. If you are uncomfy with hiring them, then don't. Your day = your choice.

  27. We're going to spend quite a bit on photography. But it is really important to me. I've always been the kind of person who prints out all of my photos and puts them in albums and looks through them regularly.

    If you are also one of those people, I'd pay the money to be sure.

  28. personally i totally regret the fact that i had a $500 budget for photography when i got married in 2006. some of the pics came out great, and i like them a lot, and the event was covered. but the photographer, although a total professional in fashion & sports photography, was not experienced with weddings at all. guys, weddings are a TOTALLY different field of photography. i do this for a living and there is so much you need to know in this field specifically. even if you have been a pro photog for years- it's really different to shoot weddings. think of it like you're a really excellent cook at home, then someone throws you into a high-stress restaurant kitchen to cook for the night. you would need to learn that environment really well first in order to cook well in it... no? (i guess i'm thinking of Gordon Ramsey's Hells Kitchen, which would be a pretty darn good example). i'm not saying i don't like the pics from my wedding. but since the photog wasn't prepared enough & didn't have wedding experience or enough backup equipment, (besides the fact that it was like 105 degrees!) it was totally stressful for them & i would have liked to get more pics of me and my man too. also, the photog needs to be able to run some shit too, know the schedule, be in control of time, group shots, communicate w/ other vendors, know what's coming next (speeches? first dance? introduction? cake cutting?). in all honesty, no matter how many weddings i have shot (I've been doing this 4 years) it really is still the most stressful job i have ever had, which isn't bad at all (i love it) but major stress just comes with the territory. weddings have a flow and a schedule and lots of behind-the-scenes type stuff etc. you have to deal with every different type of lighting situation in a period of a few hours, understand how the day is going to run, etc etc. there are really so many things involved & so many things that could go wrong. however, if you just have a small budget (like i did) and there's nothing you can do about it, the best thing is to get someone (a friend) who knows photography and is creative if that's your only choice, but then lower your expectations... way down. stop looking at photography/wedding blogs and all that. consider too that if you are asking a friend to do it, you are asking them to perform an extremely stressful thing and most of the time they don't know what they are getting into. also, i personally enjoy pics that aren't TOO posed, even when it’s time for posed shots. my clients will ask me "should we smile? or what?" and i always say, just do what you feel. i don't like forced smiles and i never ask people to smile. i also don't believe that the only way to express joy or love is by fake-smiling all day. the funny thing is, from the gazzilion weddings i have shot, i realized the couple is usually smiling their asses off all day anyways coz they're just super-stoked, as they should be. that's what i like to see/shoot. it's beautiful. as for the couple session, those are really fun and when else do you get the opportunity to get pics taken of you both all dressed up? and on the happiest day? etc etc. overall i agree, if you're totes stressed about the pics on your wedding day, it's going to affect you that day. better spend a little more and get someone who knows what they are doing. or spend a lot more and get your dream pics. it's up to the combo of your taste vs budget. now if your wedding is like the post above this one... a sweet little elopement with like 3 people, that's a different story. but if you have 100 guests, food, DJ, flowers, a schedule etc. someone needs to know what they are doing. or as i mentioned before, just stop looking at all the blogs and pretty pictures coz your expectations will be mega-high = disappointment.

  29. yeah what noa said.

    also, what's with the criticism here? "I thought the most important part of the whole wedding thing was erm, the VOWS, and that being there in the moment was of slightly greater priority than a collection of *breathtaking* photos"

    Um, why are you assuming she has to choose between? This was a specific question about photography. Just cause she is taking her time to think this through doesn't mean she doesn't give an eff all about the ceremony.

    I guess we could respond to all of ESBs questions this way? Erm, why are you thinking about your effing shoes, no one will see those anyways. They are under the dress. How can you think that is more important than the ceremony.

    "....may fail to deliver (ergh) these amazing "look at meeee" photos (I'm sorry - that's but the feeling I'm getting) then you really need to do 2 things.? Um again. I wish I had spent more on a more experienced photographer SO THAT I WOULD HAVE PICTURES OF MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

    AND this?? "Personally, a collection of candid photos of people having a great time and feeling loved up and happy would be much, much more preferable (IMO) to those hackneyed, posed photographs that I see so often."

    Again, did the writer SAY she wanted hackneyed posed photographs? If anything, it requires more skill and experience to catch people being candid in an artful, non cheesy way.

  30. I agree with the post above. Guys, weddings are stressful enough. I think a lot of these posts are being a little harsh on J. She's one of us, you know? We all read this site, we all have weddings on our minds, we should be supporting each other. Points taken about not having sky-high expectations, sure. But yes, everyone is different. And also, good point from the above post that she was asking a specific question. Be kind with your advice. Remember, this specific post is about HER day. Not how you'd do YOUR day. It's totally ok if she wants her day to be beautiful. She's probably kicking herself for having used the unfortunate word "breathtaking." Poor girl will probably never use THAT word again.

  31. Woah, man, keep your pants on. Who is assuming that anyone has to choose between *breathtaking* photos and vows? I'm not. I just... I guess I struggle to see beyond how all this other stuff pales in comparison to standing there and saying your vows to your partner. But that's just me.
    So, I apologise to J - I am assuming too much the type of photos she wants, obv!
    Ultimately, the photo issue can really only (IMO) be resolved via a conversation with the people offering to do the pictures, because it is only then that she can decide if there's agreement between the 4 of them on what they want, and whether or not it's deliverable.

    The thing is, so much emphasis is placed on having the most amazing photos and this notion that everyone has to look awesome and amazing and completely joyous etc etc etc (not by the OP, but by the wedding industry in general) that people (just like J) get to a point where a friend very kindly offers to do the pics on the cheap, and the poor girl is flipping out worrying that they're not going to be as good as they could have been, etc.
    From the second any woman sets foot in the wedding industry (and even beforehand) we are bombarded with images of perfect looking brides with their perfect looking bridal parties and their perfect looking grooms. It's not realistic.
    So, sure - shoes aren't as important as the vows. But it's generally a far less stressed about expense than the photographer.

    But whatever. Do whatever makes you happy, and whatever you decide, don't regret any of your decisions, it's really not worth the effort. And most importantly, good luck, with whatever you do.

  32. your friends should never be your vendor, especially if you want to be friends with them after the whole shenanigan is done.

  33. I didn't have a photographer at my wedding.

    People still had a brilliant time. I still had a brilliant time.

    There were still many beautiful memories.

    And I still ended up married at the end of it.

    (Oh, and I still ended up with some amazing, heartfelt and worthy photos.)

    Just sayin'

  34. p.s. my point is not that I did the only right thing by not having one, but that you've got to do what you are comfortable with.

    And even if the photographer doesn't work out exactly as you want - you'll still end up married to the person you love at the end of the day.

  35. Yes! Pip! That's what I was trying to say. :) Hooray for people being more concise and tactful than me.
    Good luck, j, regardless of what you decide.

  36. im glad noa posted. i was getting annoyed that everyone assumes a professional photographer only does cheesy, posed photos. (when, um on THIS site we see thats not true ALL THE TIME- via noa, and one love, and love me do, and max, etc...)

    a non-wedding photographer will be used to posing things. a GOOD wedding photographer will be used to catching candid shots of a moving and vibrant day.

  37. I'm glad I got a professional and experienced wedding photographer because she just knew how to do everything and get everyone organised for those "family shots" and I didn't have to worry about a thing...she was so efficient- as if she wasn't really there!

    I like to have lots of photos to look at in albums, but it's true you can only put so many on the wall before it starts to look a little freaky!

    P.s. I do think some comments were a little harsh especially as we all love to see those beautiful weddings on blogs and they would not be on the blog without beautiful PHOTOGRAPHS...and maybe some people would like their wedding to be blog-worthy like all the ones we love and comment on...half-arsed photos will not do if you want a beautiful visual memoir of your wedding, rather than the washed-out blurry heads cut-off squinty-eyed photos my great uncle Henry takes.

  38. Somebody has to be willing to be a photographer's first wedding if that photographer is ever going to start a portfolio. I think that that someone needs to have some pretty relaxed expectations though. Personally I think that Meg said it best, there's nothing wrong with wanting breathtaking photos but you're going to need to gutsy up and pay for them.

    @Noa, The photographers who did the elopement kind of needed to know what they were doing too. Just sayin'

  39. J here.

    One anonymous poster REALLY summed it up when she said i'd never use the word "breathtaking" again. Boy, do i regret using that word! In my own defense, I don't expect magazine photos. I want shots that remind me of the day and feel candid intimate. Yeah, i probably am neurotic and i do have high expectations...but "breathtaking" was obv the wrong word.

    As has already been mentioned, it IS possible to think about things like photography and NEVER forget that what really matters are the vows. That fact never ever ever escapes me.

    I'm not trying to "convince myself" of the guys' talent. they're amazing. my question was just if there was a difference between wedding and non-wedding photogs and I thought it'd be good to hear other peoples' experiences.

    Thanks all for sharing your stories, ideas and advice. I think i will hire him after all and make sure that we talk about any specific shots i want (i can't think of too many specific ones, tbh), visit the locations beforehand so he can check out angles and stuff like that, and i promise you all, i'll get a contract.


  40. @peonies, you must have completely misunderstood me!! here's my quote again:

    "now if your wedding is like the post above this one... a sweet little elopement with like 3 people, that's a different story. but if you have 100 guests, food, DJ, flowers, a schedule etc. someone needs to know what they are doing."

    i was talking strictly in regards to shooting large weddings. about the difference in knowing how to handle a big tightly scheduled wedding, and shooting 3 people in a pretty place. i was NOT talking about the photographer's skills as a photographer or artist AT ALL!! I was speaking strictly about environment & situation as a response in regards to the initial question which was about getting a “talented” photographer with “no wedding experience”. Again, it's like the great chef at home that gets thrown into a restaurant kitchen. It says nothing about his cooking skills, it only says he is not used to the environment.

    Or to give another example. I'm a photographer but I wouldn't have any idea what to do with a wildlife photo project on Safari. I would need different lenses and a totally different setup, I would have to know lots more about high-speed photography, and I would have to deal with a WHOLE other kind of high stress (like lions eating me and stuff like that). Plus there is probably at least another 20 things I would have to know that I can’t even think of because I have never done that type of shoot before… know what I’m saying? The closest I have gotten is taking pics at the zoo and shooting my kitty cat as often as possible.

    I have shot many small weddings myself (3-10 people) before and it's nowhere anything like a full on wedding. Did it still take skill? composition? creativity? heart? Abso-fukin-lutely! Again, nothing to do with the photographers, just the scenario!!

    obv the elopement photos are experienced & brilliant photographers who knew exactly what they were doing. In fact I think those photos are unbelievably beautiful, creative and uhm *breathtaking*. And i mean that. Those are what breathtaking photos look like in my opinion. Warm, pretty, and completely encompassing the mood of the moment, the characters & landscape etc etc Hope I cleared that up, luv! Sorry if it wasn’t clear before…. xoxo

  41. @Noa please don't worry, I understood. And I was kind of teasing, sorry if it didn't come really across!

    Thanks for your sweet words about the photos. And you're absolutely right that a three person wedding is a shitload easier to manage than great big beast of a wedding. I'd be curious to hear about your first wedding and how it came about. I'm always grateful to the first couple to hire me and Nye but bloody hell were they taking a big risk.

  42. @peonies

    WHATTTT!!!??? OMG, what!! YOU took those????!!! holy crap, sorry i must have missed that little HUGE bit of info!
    dude, those are FUCKING amazing. i honestly didn't know they were yours. I really really really love them... I hope you are seriously considering doing that more often. just gorgeous. wow. xoxo

  43. @noa peonies & the boy have a wedding photography business called lillian and leonard. they do A LOT of weddings (big and small). and they are terrif. obv.

  44. oh. i never figured out the connection with the lillian and leonard thingy. duh. yes, they ARE terrific!!

  45. If you want to go with the friends, cool. But I would agree about the list for any "must have shots" and I would also talk with them about one of them taking control of the group portrait time (if you do that). As in: somebody has to tell people where to stand and when to look at the camera, etc. Do not assume this will happen naturally. It is chaotic without someone in charge communicating clearly for group shots, and I would say just ONE person in charge so everyone knows who exactly to turn to for direction. This could be one of the photographers or a friend/family member/somebody who can effectively take charge of a group.

    Also, if you have a dark venue for the ceremony or reception, I would make sure they have proper equipment to handle that. Maybe they will need to rent a lens or something to get the photos you want and allow enough light in to get clear shots in a dark environment, or to be able to have a narrow depth of field, etc.

    And if you want your guests to take photos, I would contact certain people and intentionally ask them. We did not have as many guest photos as we would have liked to have. Not sure why...? Maybe they were just having fun and not snapping away?

    I think that you get what you pay for with photography IN GENERAL. (Though there are certainly wonderful exceptions, and I totally support choosing someone who is getting into the field, that is what we did.) And it seems that even with super experienced wedding photographers, every shot is not a masterpiece. Some are gorgeous and knock your socks off, many are very nicely done, and some are just okay. (If you look through the entire group of photos of a photographer for one wedding this is more clear.) I think because we only see several (often 5-10) posted on blogs for various weddings, it is easy to assume every photo from that wedding looked like those incredible, perfect ones. But we don't usually see the "okay" ones where somebody blinked or whatever, or the angle was a little less than ideal. And if you are using someone with less experience the ratio of incredible photos to mediocre will likely be different. Not a bad thing necessarily, as long as your are prepared for it and okay with the risk of hiring someone who is less experienced. Good luck!!!

  46. I've been on both sides of this situation, as the inexperience photographer who was asked to shoot a wedding for $100 and also as the friend who hired an inexperienced photographer for our wedding.

    As the photographer - It sucks when the bride/groom expects a lot out of you. It's difficult enough to wrestle with your equipment much less running around trying to capture every moment and coordinate crowds. It does take experience to feel comfortable & know your cues exactly.

    As the bride - I gave the photographer full freedom and I trusted her style & vision. I love the photos. But as everyone already mentioned, you gotta trust the photographer's vision and not have any expectations. Def. don't expect a lot of family photos/traditional portraits unless that's their style.

    Good luck!

  47. wow. popular topic!
    our "wedding photographer" was actually more of a photojournalist... which was why we hired him. we didn't want the cheesy staged photos, we wanted a more candid memories.
    J - if you love your photographer friend's style, i'm sure you'll love the wedding photos they take :)
    best of luck!

  48. I agree 100% about 1 really good photo. Of my hundreds of wedding pics, there are only 3 that I always go to when I think of my wedding.