Why should I hire a wedding videographer?

Why should you hire a wedding videographer?

That’s a great question! Here is a list of some fantastic articles on the subject.

All about video

by Korrine Claxton

Holy cow are you ready for the snowpocalypse?  I am not looking forward to it we still haven’t gotten rid of the snow from the last snow storm.  This February has been one for the record.  Today on the blog it is all about videography.  I interviewed my friendor Reid Johnson from Best Made Videos®.  He is an amazing videographer and captures wedding days beautifully.  

I hear a lot from brides saying that they don’t want to invest in videography and they feel pictures are enough.  For me personally it was one of my biggest regrets when I got married, I would have loved to have seen Justin and my wedding day captured on film.  There are many reasons why I feel video is so important one of them is you get a chance to see you and your spouse on the most important day and you get to review all the details and laughter and love.  Also I read about a bride who lost her spouse and video from her wedding day was a way for her to hear her husbands voice and see him happy.  How special is that.  Anyway I could go on and on about this so I am going to go ahead and get to our interview.

1) How did you get your start in Videography?  

I went to school for broadcast journalism at Gonzaga University.  I shot news for about 6 years before transitioning to my own company in 2013.  I became disillusioned with the broadcast news industry and wanted to find a way to have more personal and professional growth along with securing a more long-term job for myself moving forward. 

This episode has some more info - https://youtu.be/2q-HHTXlIE4

2) If you are shooting video at a venue you have worked at before how do you make each story unique? 

The biggest thing about our company is we really focus on the personalities of the couples.  Even if we shoot at the same venue which we usually do a lot the couples own quirks and other unique personalities will make their video stand apart and be different than anybody else’s.  This is also the feedback that we get from lots of our inquiries they appreciate feeling like the couples personalities are captured and represented in the video.  We have our clients go through detailed shot lists as well as have giving them lots of say in the music that we use for their videos.  All of this really helps us fine tune our videos to each and every client we work with.  It is the utmost of importance for us to make sure that our couples feel as though our videos represent their day 100% authentically.

Here’s some text copied from our site - 

TIRED OF BORING, CLICHED WEDDING VIDEOS? SO ARE WE!!!

Allow us to tell the story of one of the most important days of your life using your own words. No cheesy wedding videos here! We will capture all the sights and sounds of your special wedding day and use them to weave a narrative that is entirely your own. Let us give you a wedding video you can be proud of and cherish forever.  Everything about our fantastic wedding couples is captured in their own unique wedding videos, making sure that no two wedding videos are ever the same!

3) What are some things a couple need to know when looking for a Videographer? 

I think the biggest thing about hiring a videographer is experience and equipment. We own all of our own equipment there is never any doubt whether or not we will have what we need to capture their wedding day.  Not to say that people cannot rent equipment as needed, it’s just something to keep in mind.  Also the amount of experience that we have we have shot over 200 weddings is something that sets us apart.  We simply have a lot more on the ground experience than your regular craigslist or smaller videography company.  In my experience newer or less experienced companies also don’t take the necessary precautions in backing up a client’s footage following the wedding day.  I spend an extraordinary amount of time and money on this, and it is something that I guarantee for our clients for years to come.  That is also something to keep in mind and ask about when looking for a videographer.  Most videographers take longer to deliver the wedding videos than the photographers, although we do not taking only about 1-2 weeks, therefore it is important to make sure that the footage is protected until it is delivered to the client.

The biggest thing that I always tell people is that besides your photos, your video is the only thing you are able to keep after your wedding. The venue, your DJ, food, decor, none of that you will be able to keep with you except for your photos and video. So I hear a lot of people wanting to cut their budget and find a cheaper photo or video person my advice would be to focus on cutting costs in other areas to ensure that you can have at least some sort of video and/or photo coverage of your day.
Even your hair and make up, as essential as it is to your wedding day will only be preserved  through photos and video.

4) How are you different from other videographers?

I think the thing that sets us apart from other companies is like I mentioned above the fact that we have a very quick turnaround. Our contract talks about 1 to 4 weeks following the wedding day for delivery, we usually deliver around one and half to two weeks following the wedding day.  Most of our couples enjoy watching their highlight wedding videos either on their honeymoon or shortly after they return home, which is a great experience!  

I love learning about other vendors and what makes them unique and I want to thank Reid again for giving us this fantastic interview so we can learn more about what makes him an awesome videographer for your wedding.  To learn more about his business please go to his website at www.bestmadevideos.com.

5 Reasons to hire a wedding videographer to capture your special day

by Junebug Weddings

The question of whether or not a couple should hire a wedding videographer to capture their day continues to be one of the most common questions we hear. And we totally get it! Hiring both a wedding photographer and a wedding videographer can seem like an overwhelming cost, and some couples find it hard to justify spending a large portion of their budget on documentation when there are so many other things to purchase. But, after years of experience and hearing from hundreds of couples, we know that wedding videography is one investment couples never regret making. If you’re still on the fence, we’ve got 5 reasons to hire a wedding videographer that just might change your mind!

1. You can relive the memories over and over.

Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but your wedding film allows that day to live on forever. While some memories are bound to fade over the years, having every moment on film is a truly priceless benefit of hiring a wedding videographer. You are going to be making so many precious memories on your wedding day, and we guarantee you won’t regret getting to relive them year after year. Anniversaries will be even more special when you get to watch your wedding film and reminisce about all the love you felt that day. Even a random Tuesday can be made a little sweeter by blocking off time to relive your beautiful day. Seriously, this is one movie you’ll never get tired of re-watching!

2. You can easily share the video with people who couldn’t make it.

As sad as it is to think about, there is a chance some family members or friends might not be able to attend your wedding due to illness, distance, or age. And, if you decide to elope, it’s likely nobody but your officiant will get to witness your special day. So, having a wedding film allows your loved ones who couldn’t make it feel like they were there and experience more emotion than they could get from just your photos. Because videographers can easily post your wedding film on YouTube or Vimeo, you can easily give everyone who wishes they could have been there a front-row seat to the best love story in town. Your videographer can even create shorter clips that you can share on social media for your extended friend group to get a peek into your day.

3. Your vows, music, and toasts cannot be photographed.

These are some of the most emotional parts of the entire day, and we guarantee you will be grateful to have the full impact of that emotion captured forever. There’s nothing like getting to hear your spouse read their vows to you in that exact moment, but getting to see and hear that moment, again and again, is a very close second. A videographer can freeze that exact moment in time, in a way that photographs would never be able to capture. The same can be said of the toasts at the reception. Your photographer will capture great stills of your and your guests’ reactions, but you’ll never get another chance to see and hear your loved ones deliver those carefully crafted jokes unless you have it captured on film. As for the music: that’s the glue that ties the entire day together. How many days of your life will have a literal soundtrack? In our opinion, that’s an opportunity too rare and too sweet not to document!

4. You’ll get to see moments you might have missed.

It’s no secret that you’re going to be busy on your wedding day and so many things will be happening at any one given time. There will be things you and your spouse will miss on your actual wedding day. But the beauty of having a wedding videographer present is that they won’t miss a thing! On your wedding day, you’ll get to focus all your attention on your spouse and soak up all the love your heart can handle. Then, when it’s all said and done, you can watch your wedding film and get to see the entire day through your guests’ eyes. You’ll get to see the moments of anticipation just before you walked down the aisle. You’ll get to see what your parents saw as they watched you promise your lives to each other. A wedding videographer is essentially another set of eyes and ears on your wedding day that will be able to capture so many more moments than you will be able to see and hear on your own.

5. You’ll be creating a family heirloom.

Your wedding film will be an invaluable heirloom that you can pass down to your children, they can pass down to their children, and on and on. The future family you might not have even thought of yet will get to see and know you on the best day of your life in a much more real and personal way than just through your wedding photos. Additionally, if you’re having a traditional wedding, you will likely have your entire family together in one place. How many times in life will that happen? Probably not many. So, having a wedding videographer document your entire family in that season of their lives is an invaluable gift you will be giving yourselves and your family that will live on indefinitely.

What to Know Before Hiring Your Wedding Videographer

by Junebug Weddings

Wedding videography may not be a new thing, but we are loving the trend of more and more couples adding talented videographers to their wedding vendor team. Videography is an investment, one that we think is worth it if you have the budget. After all is said and done, your wedding photos and film are what you have to remember your day by! Whether you’re interested in hiring a videographer for your wedding or hadn’t considered it yet, we wanted to give you a starting place of what to expect as you begin to browse portfolios and take meetings with potential suppliers.

WHY HIRE A VIDEOGRAPHER?

When it comes to looking back on your wedding, having a film brings the day back to life just by pushing play. Having video to accompany your photos can give you a more full experience to look back on, but it can also be amazing to have this piece of art — starring you!

As our Editorial Assistant here at Junebug, Gabby, has been planning her own wedding for the last several months, she and her fiancé fell completely in love with wedding videography and it became a top priority for their day. Here’s what she had to say about that process:

Hiring a wedding videographer was an important process for me and my fiancé because we want to be able to re-experience our wedding in motion. There are so many moments that occur in between photos being taken, and that extra experience adds to the authenticity and depth of a memory. A video of my wedding day will allow me to revisit my vow readings and remember all of the jokes my older brother cracked in his speech.

Equally as important was our selection of the videography style we wanted. My fiancé and I have somewhat-unconventional styles, so we knew a traditional wedding video wasn’t quite the right fit for us. After going through dozens of wedding videos, we decided that a modern cinematic style was perfect for us. We were happy to find a videographer that “got” our styles, and we trusted enough that we wouldn’t have to worry about the finished product.

PACKAGES

Like with any other wedding vendor, videographers offer a variety of packages to help you receive exactly the services you’re looking for. Packages can be great because you can choose the services that both align with your expectations and your budget. The most common misconception about videography is that you will receive full-length footage of everything that happened on your wedding day. While some videographers offer this as a package option, most likely your final product will be a stylized and edited masterpiece to remember the best parts of your day by.

Here are some of the most popular package options you’re likely to see when hiring a videographer:

Trailer/Teaser Film (1-2 min) – Have you ever watched a movie trailer? This is the same concept, but for the movie of your wedding! Often accompanied later by a short film, this trailer or teaser film is created by your videographer while they continue to edit and craft the final product. Some videographers include a teaser video as a part of their package, while others offer it as an add-on.

Highlight Film (3-10 min) – With many videographers, the highlight film is the final product you will receive. More commonly, this film is non-linear and takes a more modern approach, where the videographer has truly created a piece of cinematic art out of the events and moments throughout your day.

Short Film (10-20 min) – If you decide on a package with a short film, you will receive an edited version of your wedding footage that takes a more linear form, often including a portion of your vows, reception toasts, etc. Depending on how long you book your videographer, the film may also include getting ready footage, first look footage, and grand exit.

Same day edit (4-10 min) – Some videographers offer an option to have footage from your wedding edited on the spot and shown during your reception. This can be a fun surprise for guests on the day-of!

Full-length documentary (30-90 min) – If you are interested in reliving the majority of your day, this option is for you! Your videographer can create a longer film that includes entire sections of your wedding, like your ceremony. Due to the length, this option is the most like a true movie of your wedding.

Add-ons –  Most videographers offer à la carte options to receive additional footage from your day. A few popular add-ons include:

  • Full ceremony/reception – Edited footage of your wedding ceremony or of toasts/speeches during your reception

  • Raw footage – Unedited footage from your wedding day

  • Drone aerial coverage

  • Rehearsal dinner coverage

  • Greetings from guests during cocktail hour

  • Trailer film (mentioned above, as an add-on)

  • Love story – Similar to an engagement session, this footage is filmed before your wedding day, usually in plain clothes, which may include an interview with you as a couple as well as a lifestyle shoot

STYLES

While each videographer puts their own artistic touch on their work, there are a few styles by which most videographers can be categorized. These are the most common styles to look for in your search:

Cinematic – Cinematic is the most popular style of videographer you will find in your search. These films are most like a real movie, edited and stylized as a piece of art. There are two main styles within cinematic videography:

  • Modern Abstract – Modern abstract style is characterized by a non-linear approach. These films are created to make the viewer feel something, both in the way the footage is arranged and the music used. The footage used in a modern abstract film is more likely to include atmospheric footage, or B-roll, which helps to capture the mood of the day. Modern abstract films typically use little or no speaking from the day. This is a great option for couples looking for something more artistic to remember their day.

  • Classic – While modern abstract films are almost entirely non-linear, classic cinematic films may provide a stylistic edit of events from the day in between bits of B-roll. While you still feel a sense of the wedding atmosphere, your video will include more intact footage or sound bites of events.

Video Journalistic / Documentary – Like documentary photography, a video journalistic approach is meant to capture the day as it occurred. This means that your film will include footage of some of your day’s biggest moments, but will also highlight the other happenings of the day — getting ready, guests interacting before the ceremony, dancing at the reception, etc.

Storytelling – Unlike the other types of wedding films, a storytelling style relies on sound bites, both from the day and recorded at another time, to, as you might have guessed, tell the story of your day. The way that music may be used to create an emotional reaction in other film types, storytelling uses sound bites for dramatic effect.

Nostalgic – There is a trend in wedding videography as of late to use Super 8 film, or 8-millimeter film, to capture weddings with a vintage flair. Some videographers may use this film to document the entire day, or will blend it with modern recording technology for a unique effect. (For a great example of these films, check out videographer Sugar8 who happens to be a Junebug member!)

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Budget – If videography is a priority on your wedding day, it’s a good idea to incorporate that into your wedding budget as early on as possible. The price of having both a photographer and videographer isn’t cheap. Depending on what your budget situation is, you may have to make cuts in other areas of your day to afford having it captured the way you want. For a good videographer, we recommend budgeting as much (if not more) for their services as you would for your photographer.

Coverage – How many hours of coverage you want is also an important budget consideration. How important is it to you that the videographer films you getting ready or your grand exit? Having less hours of coverage and focusing on the most important parts of your day can be a good way to keep your budget down and still book the videographer of your dreams.

Delivery – Another thing to consider when choosing a videographer is how the film and footage will be delivered. Different videographers have their own system, but you may want to keep these delivery methods in mind when choosing which vendor is right for you.

  • USB Stick

  • CD-rom

  • External Hardrive

  • Online File Drop

In addition to receiving your film or footage to use, your videographer may make your video available for viewing online. Typically, videographers host their films on Vimeo. However, be sure to check in your contract how long online viewing will be available. Some videographers only offer one year of online video hosting, while some will host it indefinitely. This is a great question to ask in your interviews, as well as what options they have if the video will be eventually taken down.

Lastly, you will want to find out if the videographer will deliver raw footage in addition to edited video. While photographers most often do not provide raw images (and prefer that you don’t ask!), some videographers will provide an option to receive raw, unedited footage of your ceremony, reception, or other parts of your wedding so that you can watch your vows and toasts in full — as many times as you want! If this is a priority for you, be sure to ask whether raw footage is included in any packages or if they can add it on as an à la carte option.

Everything you need to know about hiring your wedding vendors

by Junebug Weddings

Here at Junebug, we know a thing or two about outstanding wedding vendors. In case you hadn’t heard, you can find the best of the best wedding professionals from all around the world right here on our site! So many people go into making your day the very best, but finding those people can seem like a daunting task. From tracking them down to aligning your budget and design aesthetic to bringing your vision to life, we’re here to help you hire your dream team of wedding vendors — with as little stress as possible!

HOW TO FIND YOUR WEDDING VENDORS

As I mentioned, Junebug Weddings is the first stop along your vendor search. Whether you’re looking for the photographer you just click with, the planner and designer who can bring your vision to life, or the makeup artist who’ll make your best gals feel like a million bucks, we take pride in only showing you only the top professionals in your area. In addition to our vendor directory, every post on the Junebug blog is chock-full of talented professionals, just waiting to take on your wedding.

Similarly, the images you re-pin on Pinterest didn’t come out of thin air; a group of awesome vendors designed the table setting, bridal bouquet, wedding cake, or hairstyle you added to your mood board. When you click through the pin, you’ll likely be taken to a wedding blog or professional’s website where you can find the vendors who created it! Even if you don’t add that particular vendor to your list, you might check out more of their work to see if it’s a style you like. Chances are, someone in your area is doing something similar!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A WEDDING VENDOR

With so many professionals’ websites and social media accounts to pore over, it can be tough to know what you’re even looking for. The first thing, of course, is that they have a website. If the professional is simply using Facebook for their entire business, that can be a red flag that they may lack experience or professionalism. Once you’re on that website, there are a couple of important pages you should browse. The first is their portfolio, which is going to give you a feel of what they believe their best work is. Here you can get an idea of the types of weddings they enjoy producing or capturing, as well as a feel for their overall style. You may notice a consistency in their work, and if it resonates with you, keep them on your list! You may also find that there isn’t a common thread through the work you’re finding in their portfolio. This may mean that they are versatile and are able to adjust and tailor their work to different clients, or it may mean that they don’t yet have a strong sense of what they’re best at. If you’re interested in seeing more of a certain style, make note of what you liked in their portfolio when you reach out and ask if they have similar work you can take a look at.

The second part of their site you want to peruse is their blog. One of the things you’re looking for here is that it has been recently updated, showing that they’re actively booking clients and putting out exceptional work. Another thing you should look for is yourself. No, obviously you won’t literally be on their blog, but you should look for couples and celebrations that feel like they could be your own. If you’re able to see yourself in this professional’s work, it’s a good chance they’re a fit for your wedding.

THE IN-PERSON INTERVIEW

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list to just a few prospects, the next step is an interview. While you don’t need a sit down with every single one of your wedding vendors, meeting a few of the major players — your photographerplannervideographer, and florist, perhaps — is important. You’ve exchanged a few emails, but what you’re really looking for in this interview is how comfortable you feel with the person behind the business. Like with any interview, the vibe you get from the person is just as important as the questions you ask. Would you feel comfortable having this person follow you around with a camera all day? Do you feel confident when this person tells stories about past weddings they’ve done at your venue? Does this person share a similar design aesthetic?

In addition to bringing some basic questions to the interview, it’s a good idea to bring along a mood board with some details you’ve envisioned for your day. First, you want to know if the professional can execute your vision. Are they inspired and excited by what you’re showing them? Do they feel confident this is something they can produce? Second, you need to know if they can make your dream come true within budget. This one is all about expectations. If the answer is no, either the professional requires more than you can afford in order to bring your ideas to life, or you may need to be more realistic about what can be accomplished within your budget. You’ll get a better sense of which is the case after meeting with multiple vendors!

BUILDING YOUR DREAM TEAM

One of the perks of hiring an established professional is the connections they have in the industry. Every weekend, your favorite photographer or florist works with a team of other wedding vendors. This can be helpful because they know which of your local suppliers does a quality job time and time again, and which you may want to avoid. Another bonus? Having previously joined forces,  all of your vendors will function as a well-oiled machine on your wedding day, knowing already how to work together as an actual team.

So how do you put together this dream team? First, check your venue for preferred wedding vendors. This is a great way to find professionals who know the ins and outs of your wedding spot, giving you less work down the road. Second, ask your photographer or wedding coordinator for recommendations to find out whom they’ve collaborated with successfully in the past. These industry relationships can take a lot of time and effort off of you, which is why finding a core team of professionals you trust is even more important in building your ultimate dream team.

Our hope is that every couple is able to find the wedding vendors who feel like family as they craft your special day. Though, we know that it’s not just the professionals who make a wedding possible! If your friends and family have been asking how they can help, here’s what to delegate to your loved ones during the wedding planning process.

Wedding planning book interview

by Reid Johnson

I was recently interviewed about how wedding videography can fit into the wedding planning process. Although I cannot name the book for privacy reasons I have included a transcription of my answers to some various questions about wedding videography.

Searching for a cheap wedding photographer? We’ve got news for you!

*The same notes in the included article could also be applied to your search for your wedding videographer.

by Junebug Weddings

We totally get that weddings are expensive and the idea of hiring a cheap wedding photographer sounds like the perfect way to trim your wedding day budget. But, after years of experience in the industry, hearing stories from hundreds of couples and photographers, and planning our own weddings, we’re here to tell you that photography is not the place to skimp! You will be spending so much time, energy, and money making sure every detail is perfect. How disappointing would be to invest so much and walk away with mediocre photos — or worse, no photos at all?!

Still not convinced? We’ve got some tried and true advice below on why your photographer is not just another vendor, a few things to consider before hiring your friend to do your wedding, and why hiring a free photographer is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here at Junebug, our mission is to help you have the wedding of your dreams, and that includes having every detail and every moment captured so you can cherish them forever. Trust us, a professional wedding photographer is one investment you will never regret making!

WHY YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER IS NOT JUST ANOTHER VENDOR

1. The time you spend with them before, during, and after the wedding

When you envision your wedding, you probably picture yourself spending time with family, friends, and of course your new spouse. However, there’s one person you actually spend more time with than anyone else on the big day: your photographer. From getting ready until sparkler send-off, your wedding photographer is with you every step of the way, capturing moments as they pass you in a whirlwind of joy.

When you start researching wedding photographers, keep in mind that liking them as a person is just as important as liking their work. Besides your actual wedding day, you actually spend more time before and after the wedding with your photographer than any other vendor when you think about your engagement session and photo delivery! Find someone you click with, whether that’s through bonding over Parks and Rec quotes or your mutual love of dogs. During your Skype call or in-person meeting, see if the photographer makes you laugh, makes you comfortable, and makes you inspired. Are you already making plans to grab a drink or see your favorite band together when they come to town next month? That’s a great sign! Hire someone you want to hang out with and that time spent together on your wedding day will be as comfortable and effortless as possible.

2. Their process requires your trust

In addition to liking your photographer, you’ve seriously got to trust them! Trust in your wedding photographer goes beyond knowing they’ll show up on time and deliver your photos according to the contract. It’s so important that you also trust in their process. We’ve written before about why your photographer doesn’t need a shot list. The root of that post lies in trusting that they not only know that you’ll want photos with your bridesmaids and of the cake cutting, but that they’re going to capture the real, unscripted moments that are unique to you and your celebration (AKA the photos you really want from your wedding day!).

While this is likely the first wedding you’ve ever planned, your wedding photographer does this every weekend and knows a thing or two about what to expect. In addition to playing the role of the person who takes your wedding photos, your photographer can also be your biggest advocate throughout the wedding process. Lean on them when it comes to making your wedding day timeline because they know how to get you the best photos in the best light and also keep you from feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or tired in the process. You don’t want to feel “over it” on your wedding day, and neither does your photographer — that doesn’t make for very good photos! Ultimately, heeding your photographer’s advice only makes the day go more smoothly.

3. Connection is where the magic happens

Hand in hand with trust comes connection. Those emotional photos you fell in love with in your photographer’s portfolio didn’t just happen out of thin air. Having a deeper connection with your photographer allows them to capture intimate moments throughout your wedding because you let them see that moment unfold. Part of this connection has to do with trust; trusting your photographer’s process means giving them the space to be an artist. Your photographer wants to create the sort of images seen in their portfolio of you, but they need for you to let them guide the session to make their vision happen.

While all wedding vendors can be considered artists, there’s something different about what photographers create because they are doing so in the moment. They have two people in front of them who are all dressed up and ready to celebrate the most exciting day of their lives and, despite a rapid timeline and minor stressors throughout the wedding, they’re going to create some freakin’ magical art on the spot. While other vendors have months to plan and perfect each detail they contribute to your wedding, your photographer just needs to feel connected to you as possible in order to tap into the “why” of your wedding – the beautiful marriage that’s about to begin, the one-of-a-kind relationship you’ve had up until this point, and the little quirks that make you fall in love with each other more every day. Getting along with your other vendors is important, but the connection you have with your photographer is unparalleled.

4. Their value lasts long after the wedding day

What a photographer does for their client (that’s you!) is really twofold: there’s the experience they create leading up to and on your wedding day and then there are the images they deliver when all is said and done. With the exception of a few iPhone photos your friends and family take during the day, your wedding photographer’s images are all that you have to remember your wedding by. No matter how much you spend on flowers, food, or fabulous reception chairs, the one thing you get to keep is your photos.

When you look through your wedding album, whether that’s a leather-bound book you pass down to your children or a digital gallery you’ve shared on Facebook, you’ll be able to remember it all: the songs that played while you danced for the first time as a married couple, the look your bridesmaids gave you when they saw you in your dress for the first time, the tears in your partner’s eyes (and yours too!) as they spoke their vows aloud at the altar. Your wedding photographer is able to give you something that other vendors just can’t, and that’s ultimately why investing in someone whose work you believe in and who you’d totally hang out with in real life is worth it.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE HIRING YOUR FRIEND TO DO YOUR WEDDING

1. Is my friend a professional in the service I want to hire them for?

First and foremost, if your friend has not done a wedding before, making yours the first may not be the best idea. Even if they are an event planner outside of the realm of weddings or they’re a hobby photographer, a wedding is a totally unique experience they may not be prepared for. You deserve to have an experienced professional taking care of the details without causing you any unnecessary stress. A well-versed wedding vendor knows how to handle the kinds of unexpected circumstances that come with weddings and are skilled in making moves you don’t even know are happening behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.

2. Do I want to hire my friend because I think they’ll give me a discount or because their work resonates with me?

This consideration may not seem like a big deal, but it really comes down to respect. If your friend is a professional in their field, then this is their livelihood and they’ve got bills to pay! Expecting a discount or even free services is awfully presumptuous and can make your friend feel as though you don’t value their time or talent. Before contacting your friend simply because they make a living as a photographer or florist, look at their portfolio as if you didn’t know them personally and see if their work is truly a fit. Is their style what you envision for your day? Be sure to genuinely look into other vendors in your area as well to make sure your friend’s work is really what you want, that way no one feels any disappointment when everything is said and done.

3. Would I rather have my friend enjoying my wedding day with me or working?

This last question can be a tough one to answer, so spend some time thinking about it before you inquire. When you close your eyes and picture your wedding, is your friend standing by your side or in the crowd with tears in their eyes, or are they behind the scenes making sure everything goes according to plan? If what you really want is for your friend to celebrate and enjoy themselves on your big day, then it might be best to invite them as a guest and leave the work to someone else.

WHY HIRING A FREE PHOTOGRAPHER ISN’T ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE

1. Your Money Covers So Much More Than Just Photos

While it’s normal to wonder why wedding photography has such a steep price tag, there are actually several factors built into the cost – all of them meant to benefit you! Perhaps the more obvious reasons a photographer charges what they do has to do with the value of their knowledge and skill, as well as the cost of their equipment and programs that help them capture your day in the first place. However, the cost of services also includes things like insurance for their gear and even liability insurance should something happen to them or you during the shoot.

Booking a free photographer can leave you vulnerable if something were to happen, whether that be the photographer’s gear getting stolen or broken before your wedding or, goodness forbid, something happening to the photographer themselves. Being a professional is more than just talent and experience – it’s being prepared and accountable for any number of situations.

2. There are No Do-Overs

When it comes to your wedding, it only happens once! There’s no re-doing a first look, first kiss, or first dance. If your photographer doesn’t have experience capturing weddings, specifically, they’re more likely to become flustered by the quick timeline and crowd of people, be unaware of where they need to stand to get the shot, or forget completely about getting an image you definitely want from your day.

Your mom’s friend with a nice camera or your college roommate who photographs beautiful landscapes as a hobby simply aren’t experienced in the unique and fast-paced world of capturing a wedding. It’s awesome for this person to want to gain that experience, but being the sole person in charge of documenting some of the most special moments of your life may not be the time or place.

3. Payment Seals the Deal

Anytime money changes hands, the situation becomes more serious. Seeing as this is your wedding day, each service hired should be taken seriously! With no money involved, your free photographer isn’t necessarily held to a standard, whether that be a certain level of work or even that you receive your images (and in a timely manner!). With a professional photographer, you are making a payment for an exchange of services, and the photographer is contractually obligated to perform and deliver!

In order for someone to hold up their end of the deal, there has to be a deal made! Otherwise, who says your free photographer has to deliver your images, whether that’s in the next six weeks, this year, or ever. Your payment goes beyond setting expectations and adds another sense of legitimacy to the equation that, again, protects you!

4. You Get What You Pay For

You’ve heard the phrase before – “you get what you pay for.” When you think about your wedding day, your focus may initially be on where it takes place, who attends, and what’s for dinner. However, once the rentals have been returned and the dress has been stored, all you have to relive your wedding by are the photos. You want to cherish your wedding photos for years to come, not get a bad feeling in your stomach about every time you remember what’s missing or what could have been.

Wedding photography is a job that encompasses so many unique skills. Not only are they keenly aware of exactly what needs to happen in documenting your wedding on the big day, but they have abilities to turn what’s in the camera into art after the fact using a variety of post-production processes. A photo can be beautifully composed straight out of the camera and still require more work to create images you will be able to use and show off.

Here’s a little food for thought for you: would you trust your brother’s friend to fix your engine if he isn’t a mechanic, but has a nice toolset? What about letting your childhood friend perform minor surgery if they went to school for marketing, but they want to contribute to your healing process? Our guess is probably not. Just like with any other service, invest in a wedding photographer you trust, not only to nail every moment, but to be prepared, responsible, and professional – because it’s worth it!