Why you shouldn’t get a friend or relative to photograph your wedding (even if they are a pro!)

I’ve been blogging about weddings for so long I forget, sometimes, that new readers follow the English Wedding Blog every single day. Some of you have been planning your weddings for months; for others it’s all new: blogs, weddings, styling tips and planning advice can be a little overwhelming. However… there are some pieces of advice which every bride and groom need to hear. At the top of the list (with knobs and bells and whistles on), is ‘don’t ask a friend or relative to photograph your wedding‘. Why? Bristol wedding photographer Sandy explains it plainly in this afternoon’s super helpful feature post:

Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (1)

Weddings are expensive things, in fact the average spend in 2014 was just shy of £21,000, so looking for ways that you can bring down costs is a great idea. DIY projects, for example, can save money and add a personal touch to your wedding, which is great!

One way that people sometimes look to keep their budget in check is by asking a friend to take their photos. These days loads of people have a DSLR camera and amongst the people you know there is probably an enthusiastic snapper who has shared some great pictures with you. It is very tempting to ask them to shoot your wedding – they may even offer – but there are good reasons not to do this.

Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (4)

1. You will only get shots of a limited group of people

I’ll start with the biggest, most important reason not to get a friend or relative to shoot your wedding (even if they are a professional); you will mostly (at best) or only (at worst) get photos of the people they know at the wedding. One side of the family or one group of mates plus shots of you, the couple. Even if they are a pro and you have discussed this before hand this will happen, it’s just human nature. While they are at the wedding they will recognise and be recognised by the people they know already. The guests that know them will be more comfortable with having their photos taken and will naturally end up taking more pictures of them.

To give an example, before I was a full time professional wedding photographer I did a few weddings for friends and relatives, including my sisters. Her husband-to-be had asked a friend to shoot their wedding and my sister asked if I’d mind taking a few shots as well. As it turned out it was a good job she asked me, her husbands friend pretty much exclusively took photos of his friends leaving our side of the family almost completely out of the photos. Other than the big family photo, there is only a single photo of me and my wife at my sisters wedding. If I hadn’t been taking photos too there wouldn’t have been any of our side of the family.

Even as a professional, when I have shot weddings for friends, there have been more photos of the people I know. I’ve made a conscious effort to get shots of everyone just as I do when I am working but when I look through the photos afterwards I still find many more of my friends. I have recently decided to stop shooting weddings for friends for this and one other reason – to do my job to the best of my ability I need to be focused. This leads me to number 2…

Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (5)
Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (3)

2. They either won’t be as focused or they won’t have a good time

In order to do your best work you need to be focused on what you are doing. Weddings are all about capturing the moments so you need to be paying attention and ready at all times. As a guest, you are there to enjoy yourself meaning you miss a lot of these moments. If you are focused on taking photos you aren’t focusing on enjoying the day.

Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (6)

3. Do they actually know what they are doing?

Owning a nice DSLR doesn’t make you a photographer just like owning a nice set of pots and pans doesn’t make you a michelin star chef. Photography is a skill that takes years of practice to get good at. Wedding photography in particular is difficult, you need to be able to deal with many different situations and switch at a moments notice. There are some situations which simply take experience (and the right equipment) to be able to deal with properly.

You want your photos to be the best they can be, after all they will be the things that you can still look back at in the future. The food, wine, cake and decorations will be gone shortly after and you will probably never wear the dress after the wedding but you will look at the photos again and again over the years. Do you want a few snaps taken by your mate or a beautiful set of artistic images created by a professional? To quote Benjamin Franklin “The sour taste of a poor job remains long after the sweetness of a cheap price has faded

By hiring an outside professional you are getting someone with no bias, someone with the experience and equipment to do the job properly and someone who is there to focus on just doing their job to the best of their abilities. They are worth the money!

Image credit Bristol wedding photographer Love In Focus (2)

Huge thanks to Sandy for sharing this article with us today. Do feel free to share it via our Facebook page – the link will be there at

Find out more about Love In Focus here:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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