I’ve been thinking over this post for a couple of weeks after some conversations with other photographers and some friends who are getting married. I debated whether or not to post it because it’s been a hot topic lately but having been a budget bride (and when I say budget I mean peanuts) I want to help others learn from my huge mistake.
When Rog and I got married we had a super limited budget ($4500 for EVERYTHING) because we did not want to go into debt getting married. For us a lasting marriage was more important than the wedding itself because one day is nothing in the grand scheme of life. However, I told Rog the one thing that was most important to me was having nice photos that we could look back on in fifty years. This was before I entered the industry as a professional so I did not have any contacts or friends I could turn to so I went to Google. Almost none of the photographers whose sites I went to had any sort of prices listed so I filled out contact form after contact form with info, often times being asked what my budget was. I emailed at least twenty five different people and heard back from three. THREE. The three who emailed me back pretty much said they were out of my budget and shooed me along. I felt like I was annoying them with my inquiries.
I was completely disheartened and didn’t think I would find anyone so I turned to a friend with a camera. I am just straight up going to tell you don’t do it! You will regret it. Maybe not the first day or the first month but you will.
Friends with cameras cannot anticipate moments or help with schedules the way a photographer can. Having worked a full season of weddings for my dear friend Sarah of Ampersand Photography I can say this with confidence. Just this past season I learned so much about scheduling and knowing when moments were going to happen because once they’re gone that’s it. Then there’s the matter of artistic point of view. Any person with a camera can take a photo of a first kiss but photographer’s see moments so differently and capture them beautifully. You friend with a camera is not going to capture your first dance or your dad seeing you in your dress for the first time the way a professional photographer can. They just aren’t.
So please, I beg you, take time and do your homework. Email photographers. Ask for referrals if they’re out of your budget. Chances are they know someone who can and wants to work with you. Don’t be disheartened by unanswered emails. You deserve to work with someone who values you and your time. Just don’t hire a friend to take your photos. I want you to love your images in a way that I never will be able to.
Photo second shot for Sarah Danaher of Ampersand Photography