Uncle Joe or a Friend vs. Hiring Professional

Uncle Joe or a Friend vs. Hiring Professional

Is it a “Terrible” idea to let a friend or family
member photograph your wedding?


Searching online will provide you with a brimful of information and advice saying what a terrible idea it is to let a friend or family member (Uncle Joe) photograph your for your big day.  This is going to sound crazy coming from a professional wedding photographer, but I’d be a hypocrite if I told you that I completely – 100% agreed with them. Truth is, I wouldn’t be a professional wedding photographer with more than 100 weddings under my belt, if it wasn’t for my sister who gave me the opportunity to shoot my very first wedding, in 2009. In fact, I didn’t hire a wedding photographer for my own wedding. You see, not realizing the true impact of what I was doing, I asked my friend to shoot my big day. He had a DSLR and could take amazing pictures of cars so he must be able to shoot my beach wedding right? Wrong!


Uncle Joe or a Friend vs. Hiring Professional


But here’s the worst part, we weren’t on a $1000 budget, we spent quite a lot more. I prioritized wrongly. We spent more on dresses than our photographer, more on pretty decorations than pretty images…simply put, we were fools!
Occasionally, I do feel a bit bummed that we didn’t get everything we wanted for our wedding.
My parting words are these, a keen amateur photographer with an DSLR is no substitute for an experienced professional with the skills and experience to work in all conditions, along with the equipment to shoot competently in all lighting situations
Do they know when the best light will be for portraits, or will they try to photograph you in harsh, direct mid-day light, squinting into the sun? As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” 


These are the things you should consider if what you are actually paying for aside from hiring a photographer who can create and meet your standards:


A professional will be committed to YOU and your wedding day. They are guaranteed to show up on your wedding day, no questions asked. I’ve seen “friends” commit to photographing a wedding and then flake out 2 months – even a few weeks- before the wedding, people not show up to help on the day-of when they said they would, and even people just not caring at all. When you hire and pay a professional, they are contractually obligated to carry out the duties that you hired them to perform!



Shooting weddings, events or documentary work, are a different ball game than any other photography. There aren’t many other photography situations where you have absolutely no control over the light. Professional and experienced wedding photographers are really comfortable shooting in low light, shooting in extreme changing lighting conditions (from that dark church to a bright summer’s day) and able to add light where needed (dance floor shots, for example), which is a real test of a photographer’s skill level. An entry level DSLR and a kit lens, it won’t be able to cope with dark churches/barns. 


When you hire and pay a professional, ideally they’ll bring the following as a minimum:

  • Two Camera Bodies (one to shoot on, one as a backup)

  • A fast wide angle lens

  • A fast telephoto lens

  • A spare lens – I’d go for another wide angle as my back up, as that’s what I shoot most on, but this will depend on personal preference

  • Two speed lights (flashes) and batteries

  • Around 100g of memory cards


    Truth being said, you must understand that you are not just actually paying for the photograph itself but you are also paying for the expertise and time of the one who is creating your photos. Good photography preserves every detail so you can relive that experience whenever you so desire. It transports you to that very point in time.



    A professional with experience will have a specific way of doing things, so there won’t be too much guesswork for you while planning your wedding. The last thing you want to have to do while planning your wedding is figure out what your friend is supposed to be doing! There’s nothing worse than having everyone standing around at your wedding not knowing what to do next. 

    Hiring a professional will ensure that you get a great result. Whether it’s photos or flowers, or food or coordinating, having someone who does weddings for a living will certainly give you the best outcome. Not to mention, there’s a contract involved and they are obligated to provide you with awesome results. After all, their business and its reputation is on the line! 

    Uncle Joe or a Friend vs. Hiring Professional


    When working with a professional, if anything, you will build a relationship with them. Almost always, when hiring a friend the relationship gets strained in some way. Either they hold a grudge against you for making them work for free or less than normal, or you’re not happy with your results and you just can’t tell them. It’s not worth ruining a relationship with one of your friends!



    Hiring someone who has experience will most definitely help your stress level both before and during the wedding, and if they truly are your friend, you’ll want to have them at your wedding and enjoy it, right? And if that’s not the case, then you don’t really want to even have them at your wedding.

    Uncle Joe or a Friend vs. Hiring Professional

    If you can’t afford it, you don’t need it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know not everyone has the budget to pay much for their wedding photographer, the last thing you want is to be one of those people who are still paying off their wedding five years later, still making payments on your wedding credit card. I say use whoever you want – a professional, a friend, whoever…it’s your wedding after all. You might be the person that ignites a new passion in them and sets them on the path to a new career!

    I have absolutely no problem with inexperienced people photographing weddings, as long as everyone knows exactly what they’re signing up for. I urge you to do your research first and go into it knowing that the results of the cheap option just won’t be the same as someone with experience shooting weddings. If they are inexperienced and you have higher expectations than just getting a few ‘snaps’ then you’re actually putting a whole lot of pressure on them and also setting yourself up for a fall.

    There are other options.

    It may not always be the most ideal option to spend money on a professional, but really and truly, paying for a service makes SUCH a huge difference! Nevertheless, here at Elite Photography we offer custom packages to meet almost every budget. Get in touch and lets chit chat!


    Packages from $600 ~ BUY NOW