Wedding photography isn’t a priority when it comes to your budget, so when uncle Dave offers to take your wedding photos for you it seems like an ideal way to save some money…or is it?
Before we get into the details, let me make it clear that I’m not going to say you should let him take photos or not. Not everyone can afford a wedding photographer so uncle Dave is actually better than nothing. So if it comes down to you having any pictures or not, then go get uncle Dave signed up asap!
If you have got it in your budget to get a wedding photographer, but think it’s worth getting uncle Dave to do the photos so you can reallocate the photographer budget to something else, don’t think photos are that important, then that’s the time to really have a hard think about things.
As I mentioned in my post about “why is wedding photography so expensive” the value of a good wedding photographer isn’t seen till after the wedding. By then it’s too late to go back and change things.
The wedding day does only last a day, but the memories you want to last forever.
Uncle Dave could actually be a good photographer, have a good camera, good lenses etc, but experience and craft are really the main attributes you should look for when getting anyone to take your wedding photos.
Being family or a close friend then it’s also easy for them to take their eye off the ball. They’re there as a guest really and so will have that focus about the day. They would rather be by the bar talking to old friends and family than making sure they get your day documented.
I’ve seen a variety of outcomes with letting a non-professional take the photos. In one or two cases I’ve actually been really impressed with how good the photos have come out. But let’s get it clear when I say “impressed” I really mean “Didn’t mess up”. But to be honest more often than not, the couple are disappointed by the photos they, eventually, get.
That’s the other part to this decision, don’t expect to get the pictures anytime soon. It can take, and I mean literally, years to get the photos. In the case of one of the couples who were happy with their wedding photos from a family relative, it took 3 years to get them.
Another thing to keep in mind is what happens if Uncle Dave’s memory card fails, breaks his camera or just completely loses the photos? These things can happen to even a professional, but for a professional having backups is part of their process. (Read more about keeping your photos safe)
The other option for those who don’t have the budget to pay a full blown, hundreds of weddings under the belt, professional photographer is to find someone who’s starting out.
I got my first wedding gig by offering my services to a friend. He was doing the wedding on a shoestring, I wanted to help him out and so shot his wedding. Before that wedding I really wasn’t interested in making this a living, landscape photography was my thing – It meant I went to awesome places and didn’t have to deal with people! It was by doing that wedding I actually realised wedding photography could be an option for me.
There’s always people starting out in a profession that need a few breaks and are willing to do things for cheap or even free, and for a couple that don’t have a budget it’s a winning combination.
Keep in mind though that for someone starting out, they too likely don’t have the equipment they really need, the experience and especially the craft. But what you would gain from them over uncle Dave would be raw passion, eagerness and a mindset about actually photographing your day rather than propping up the bar.
Should you bite the bullet?
If you have the budget then yes, definitely. With a professional you are really paying for a guarantee. A guarantee you get what you’re after, when you want it, high quality, minimal fuss, no excuses and a great attitude.
Anything other than a professional then you have to compromise somewhere. But that’s your choice to make.
Remember the food will be finished before the day is gone, the reception will be empty by the end of the night, the flowers will be dead by the end of the week, but the photos will be there forever.