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Lately, I hear a lot of photographers lamenting over brides choosing their friend or family member to photograph their wedding, instead of hiring a professional photographer. So, I thought I’d weigh in on the topic. Why shouldn’t you hire your cousin over a pro? Well, unless your cousin also happens to be a professional photographer (in which case, you won the wedding lottery), the pro has a few things your cousin may not.
So, what do you say to an offer of free wedding photography? I have a few options that should make everyone happy.
Politely explain to your cousin that you really want her to enjoy the wedding as a guest, so you plan to hire another photographer. Then ask her to help you pick one out. Either take her to meetings, or look through websites together. Ask her to point out good things about the photographs you see, as well as any concerns she might have – she’ll feel included and useful.
If your budget just won’t allow hiring two pros, and your pro is on board, request that your uncle be the “second” photographer. He can photograph the guys getting ready as the pro is with the bride, and will give a second perspective on the ceremony, as well as be your “eyes” at the cocktail hour as you’re posing for formal photographs. Then he can relax at the reception, but still feel like he contributed.
If you have a relative that really wants to help with the wedding planning, ask her to be the assistant for photographs. She knows all the family, so she can help gather people for posed photographs and hunt down any strays. It’ll save you time and stress, plus it gives her a job.
Print “eye spy” table cards and ask all your guests to get in on the fun of photographing. You can either supply disposable cameras, look into renting digital camera card copy devices (Canditto), or just have guests use their own cameras/phones. I’m sure your guests will capture some really priceless candids to fill out your memory of the day. Ask your photographer about setting up a website or gallery where guests can contribute all their photographs.
Picking out the perfect wedding vendors for your wedding day doesn’t have to be stressful. Find someone you know you can trust, then relax and enjoy the wedding day.
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