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Dear DBS, Should I hire a friend as my photographer?

Dear DBS,

A friend has offered to be our photographer, but I also want them to enjoy the wedding. I’m thinking of hiring a second shooter or an alternate photographer, but I still want my friend to take pictures. How should I handle it?

You sound like a super sweet person. Your friend offers to shoot your wedding, and, first of all, you are concerned that they will have a good time at your wedding. Wow. Very considerate.

Besides your marriage certificate and some wedding gifts, the only thing you walk with after your wedding day is your photos. These are your future family heirlooms that your grandchildren will treasure.

So, we have some questions for your friend.

*Do they have the skills to take on the responsibility of capturing one of the most important days of your life? Do you love their artistic style? Have you seen their portfolio?

*Do they have the gear to cover the job? Photography is a very expensive hobby. Professional photographers usually slowly build up the equipment they need, which includes backup lenses, flashes, and batteries. The quality of photography depends a lot on the quality of the equipment.

*Do they have photography insurance, and are you both comfortable signing contracts? If an accident happens and your photos are lost or damaged, insurance covers it. Plus, a contract lays out the details and expectations. Furthermore, a contract covers what happens legally if those expectations are not met.

We think you are spot on to include your friend as a photographer, but to hire a pro as your primary.

LeeAnn, DBS’s own co-founder, is a wedding photographer with over 15 years experience. Not to brag, but she’s a real pro. Here’s what she does when a friend asks her to shoot their wedding.

“My arrangement with them was always this: I will photograph ALL the before-hand photos and the ceremony. Most of my couples chose to see each other before the wedding, so we were able to do ALL the pics before the ceremony. Then I would photograph the ceremony, as well, because if I were a guest, I would just be sitting in the audience. However, I would ask them to hire someone else to do the reception. This is where all the socialization, fun, eating, and dancing come in for the guests. I always wanted to be a p

art of that, and I wanted to visit with my friends during that time. Reception photos really are just candid photos, and anyone can take those pics with decent equipment. This arrangement really worked well as I was able to take the photos I really specialized in, which were the fun and romantic, outdoor photos, and still be a guest at the most important time to be a guest.

There you have it. LeeAnn dropping some wedding wisdom on us, as usual. We hope this helps you handle how to have a friend be both a guest and a pro at your wedding. This was a great question that applies to having a friend serve in other roles, too, like wedding officiant, planner, caterer, DJ, etc. Thanks for asking, and keep “Dear DBS” in mind when more wedding questions come up.

If your friend asks to help out, make sure to ask them some important questions first.


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