6 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Ask Your Photographer Friend To Do Your Wedding For Cheap
Keeping real friends in this day and age is hard, don't put an unnecessary strain on that friendship by asking your friend to walk through fire for 30% less than they usually walk through it for you, because you may or may not know but:
1. Wedding photography is really really hard.
Photographers are like doctors. Not because you should ask us if that abscess on your inner thigh is infected, you shouldn't, and it is. It's because we're normally specialized into certain fields. Some Doctors specialize in your guts, some specialize in picking babies off of baby shrubs (I'm not really good with how human reproduction works.) and others vary in their specialties. Some Photographers do product photography, some do editorial, journalism, fashion, portraiture, video, etc... a wedding photographer is more like your general practitioner you expect them to know about your sniffles, your uteranusil (again not great with reproduction) or that green growth in my beard... wait... that's Chimichurri. A wedding photographer has to take product shots of the cake, the rings, the place settings, the wine. They have to take portraits of everyone and their drunk aunt. They have to take photojournalist style shots of everyone getting dressed, people crying in the audience, children dancing. Fashion shots of your dress, his suit, her suit, his dress... whatever dress/suit combination you have elected upon for your special day. Do you expect them to only be kind of ok at any of these different specialties? no. you expect them to be better than the specialists in each specialty, because it's YOUR big day. So your good friend that you guilt-tripped into this is going to pack up their car and drive to your venue and immediately roll their eyes because:
2. Your venue is probably awful
"Not my venue!" you scream impotently into your computer screen "My wedding is different! We're doing farmhouse/ shabby chic/ Gatsby!" Or whatever thing you think nobody has done before. There is one thing that farmhouses, hotel ballrooms, dedicated event venues, country clubs, Chuck-e-Cheese's, abandoned U-boats, and open fields have in common. They were not designed with the photographer in mind. They are inevitable going to have to contend with shitty fluorescent lighting, (can't have a high shutter speed, constant fight with white balance) Sunlight blasting into an open window next to the couple, (find a way to get reflectors and diffusers to block the sunlight without hanging your goofy photography shit all over the Trellise.) the laser sun overhead at an outdoor venue, (fill flash, and being a weather controlling diety that can move softening clouds about the sky with nothing but a thought) Or the gloomy interior of the U-boat (bribe a nazi ghost with gold to hold an eerie lantern for you). Your poor friend is going to be sporting a pretty defeated look in their eyes when they start lugging their gear out of their car and you'll probably not be prepared for the fact that:
3. They are going to have a silly amount of gear
One of the many reasons good wedding photographers are expensive is because their gear is expensive! It's not just a camera and a lens. Your wedding is almost as important to them as it is to you, and there are no do-overs. They're going to have two full-frame professional camera bodies, an assortment of Telephoto, Prime, Macro, and portrait lenses. On camera lighting, off camera lighting, reflectors, diffusers, batteries, cards, stands, bags, backdrops, backups for all that... and a whole extra photographer to cover their ass in case they miss anything. Whom is getting paid full price, out of your discounted price. Even with all of that it's going to be a trick to get your shots you want, because"
4. Some of your guests are assholes
If I invited you to a party and told you it was going to have 160 people at it, how many of them do you think would be straight up garbage people? 10? 20? 158? Guess what? your friends and family aren't any better than any other large gathering of people. The only difference is the open bar, and let me tell you, that's not a good difference. They're going to block shots, they're going to have their cellphones in front of every shot. (some of them intentionally) They're going to put up rabbit ears, because the drunken best man is 12 again. They're going to bump into tripods, trip on cables, and just generally be a complete pain in the ass. Even if you have a "no cell phones" rule. They don't care. They are drunken party barbarians that destroy everything in their path. They will not rest until they have made your photographer seriously consider leaving all of their equipment at the altar and going to clown college. and once the dust settles and you think that your photographer is packing up and done with their job, they might inform you through clenched teeth that:
5. The wedding is only 20% of the job
Now your "friend" (assuming they haven't fled the country to live life as an abandoned U-boat pirate captain) gets to upload hundreds or even thousands of pictures to their computer and START doing the biggest portion of the work. Culling through the plethora of blocked photos, closed eyes, rabbit ears, nazi ghosts, and drunken stumbling uncles. Winnowing down to just a couple hundred photos, which they will now painstakingly edit one at a time to make sure that your sisters gold grill looks like teeth. to make sure that your tan lines from the bachelor(ette) party in Cabo aren't showing (Cabo really...? way to go against the grain) 50 work hours later they get to build you a client gallery, so you can verbally shit all over their work because you don't like the way you look in your dress/suit/dinosaur costume. They'll fix it, because:
6. It's hard to work for friends
When dealing with a client, I can easily let them know when they expect things that are out of the realm of probability. I build contracts, I set expectations, I hold them to their end. This gets much more complicated when we're dealing with someone we actually know and love. I don't want to disappoint friends, I'll take more shit than I should. I'll deal with ridiculous requests. I'll edit the same picture 7 times because you don't like the color of the carpets, or your own eyes. Or the eerie luminescence of that ghost nazi. So the best thing you can do is this:
If you have other options don't ask your close friend at all, and let them bring a small camera and lens combo to take candids as their wedding present to you, they will be much more comfortable with this arrangement. If you do have to use them. PAY THEM WHAT THEY'RE WORTH. A real friend is worth more than a 30% discount, especially one willing to go through all of that for you