Wedding Photography and Videography Forum

Friends and Family as Photographers

Since the day we got engaged we have had a total of 3 friends or family offer to take photos for us. 2 of these friends we have no intention of inviting to the wedding and the 3rd is a cousin who is on the invite list. The 2 friends keep sending me FB messages with their specials and deals and sample photos. I keep kindly stating that we haven't decided what we are doing about a photographer yet. 

With the cousin, we messaged her the other day to find out her address so we can send her a save the date. She responds with her address and then the question "Why aren't I doing the photography for this?" I never knew that she was a professional photographer so we respond "Are you going to do it for free lol?" no answer. She then says "Name your price" we respond again "Free lol" she then says "you shop around and I will give you half price of what you want as my gift to you"

What do I do? 

Re: Friends and Family as Photographers

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    lashack said:
    Since the day we got engaged we have had a total of 3 friends or family offer to take photos for us. 2 of these friends we have no intention of inviting to the wedding and the 3rd is a cousin who is on the invite list. The 2 friends keep sending me FB messages with their specials and deals and sample photos. I keep kindly stating that we haven't decided what we are doing about a photographer yet. 

    With the cousin, we messaged her the other day to find out her address so we can send her a save the date. She responds with her address and then the question "Why aren't I doing the photography for this?" I never knew that she was a professional photographer so we respond "Are you going to do it for free lol?" no answer. She then says "Name your price" we respond again "Free lol" she then says "you shop around and I will give you half price of what you want as my gift to you"

    What do I do? 
    I don't think you should hire a friend or family member. 

    What you should have said to your cousin is: I want you to be a guest at the wedding, I would never dream of having your work it. We want you to enjoy the day and be able to spend time with family.
    You should tell her something along these lines immediately, and apologize for joking about her working for free. You should never ask someone to work for free. She was wrong to suggest you should hire her, but two wrongs don't make a right.

    If you are unhappy with the images it can ruin your relationship. You should do your research and hire a photog in your price range that you like. 

    As a photog, not weddings, I know a lot of people in the industry - I would never dream of hiring a friend or family member. As a friend or family member I refuse to photograph weddings, but I take picture throughout the day and give them to the couple as a gift after the wedding. This way I am not responsible and my images are just a bonus for the happy couple.

    GL! :)
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

    bridesontherun
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Ditto @photokitty.  Friends and family that would be invited to the wedding should enjoy the wedding, not work it.  No matter how much they want to do it.  I've also seen numerous ladies come back here after their wedding expressing disappointment, ruined relationships, etc because they used a friend/family member.  So much can go wrong that it's just not worth it.   It's just best to hire someone independently.  Good luck!
  • thank you so much for the advice. We spoke with the cousin and I think we are good with that. But what do I do about the friends who are constantly messaging me on FB with prices and packages? I don't want to be rude but I don't want them to be our photographer.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    lashack said:
    thank you so much for the advice. We spoke with the cousin and I think we are good with that. But what do I do about the friends who are constantly messaging me on FB with prices and packages? I don't want to be rude but I don't want them to be our photographer.
    It sounds like these are friends that are not being invited, right?  So you can't use the "we want you to enjoy the wedding" excuse.  I'd just brush them off with, "thanks, we've had lots of offers, we'll keep you in mind!"  I think that's the best, non-rude way.  You don't want to say you hired someone else when you haven't yet because you'll probably end up with a barrage of "who'd you hire" questions......no sense lying or keeping that conversation going.

    If they keep pushing you, I'd just ignore it. That's very rude of them.  Good luck!

  • JoanE2012 said:
    lashack said:
    thank you so much for the advice. We spoke with the cousin and I think we are good with that. But what do I do about the friends who are constantly messaging me on FB with prices and packages? I don't want to be rude but I don't want them to be our photographer.
    It sounds like these are friends that are not being invited, right?  So you can't use the "we want you to enjoy the wedding" excuse.  I'd just brush them off with, "thanks, we've had lots of offers, we'll keep you in mind!"  I think that's the best, non-rude way.  You don't want to say you hired someone else when you haven't yet because you'll probably end up with a barrage of "who'd you hire" questions......no sense lying or keeping that conversation going.

    If they keep pushing you, I'd just ignore it. That's very rude of them.  Good luck!

    Exactly we are not planning on inviting them. They are friends in the sense that we know them on FB but don't hang out on a regular basis.  One just had a baby and the other one has been pretty sick so we haven't heard anything recently. But I know when we get closer it might get worse. Thanks for the advice. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lashack said:
    thank you so much for the advice. We spoke with the cousin and I think we are good with that. But what do I do about the friends who are constantly messaging me on FB with prices and packages? I don't want to be rude but I don't want them to be our photographer.
    Tell them that you're making other arrangements for photography, and if you're inviting them, tell them you would like them to attend as guests and not vendors.
  • Hire a professional photographer that is NOT a friend or relative. Tell your cousin that while you appreciate her offer, you want her to be able to enjoy the wedding as a guest.
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I would just like to say that everyone is always so quick to tell you not to hire a friend. I hired my really good friend and it turned out amazing. I paid for her flights here, most of her sightseeing and food while she here, she slept at my house, and I gave her half her nomal rate. I would a million times do it again if I had the choice. She is super talented and took amazing photos- literally 5 of my friends have asked if they can fly her here for theirs. She even surprised me and sent me a 4 foot canvas of my favorite picture- it's a stunning gift that only a friend would give (not a random vendor). So yes, be careful who you chose, but if you have known the person for years and you are very close and trust them, it can turn out perfect.

                                                                     

    image

  • I'm using a work friend who I otherwise wouldn't have invited to my wedding- but I know his work (he's a photo editor) and he agreed to do it almost for free (he asked that I pay for travel and lodging and just give him a little something at the end).  That being said, it's not a good idea to hire a close relative or friend because if anything were to go wrong (damaged equipment/photos aren't what you expected) you would put a rift in your relationship.  Also, don't you want them their enjoying your wedding and not working?  I would ask your cousin to take your engagement photos, but choose a professional for your day of photographer and give your cousin a chance to enjoy your wedding.  My sister in-law will be taking my engagement photos and they are being edited by our photographer. Also, if she isn't a 'professional' she might not have backup equipment or the best cameras to be working with.  Our photographer comes prepared with backup equipment and the equipment that he uses is the best on the market (worth more than the cost of my wedding) so we know nothing will go wrong.  Also, if your cousin isn't offering this as a gift- that's kinda rude of her to try to make $ off your wedding when she otherwise would be giving you a gift. 
       
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    kk111415 said:
    I'm using a work friend who I otherwise wouldn't have invited to my wedding- but I know his work (he's a photo editor) and he agreed to do it almost for free (he asked that I pay for travel and lodging and just give him a little something at the end).  That being said, it's not a good idea to hire a close relative or friend because if anything were to go wrong (damaged equipment/photos aren't what you expected) you would put a rift in your relationship.  Also, don't you want them their enjoying your wedding and not working?  I would ask your cousin to take your engagement photos, but choose a professional for your day of photographer and give your cousin a chance to enjoy your wedding.  My sister in-law will be taking my engagement photos and they are being edited by our photographer. Also, if she isn't a 'professional' she might not have backup equipment or the best cameras to be working with.  Our photographer comes prepared with backup equipment and the equipment that he uses is the best on the market (worth more than the cost of my wedding) so we know nothing will go wrong.  Also, if your cousin isn't offering this as a gift- that's kinda rude of her to try to make $ off your wedding when she otherwise would be giving you a gift. 
       
    I completely disagree with the bold. There is not reason OP's cousin would be rude to charge for working during the wedding. Most wedding photogs charge $1k or more for a full wedding. Do you give most of your cousins a $500 or more present? To expect her to give such a large gift is just one more example of why you shouldn't hire friends or family. People expect a deal or free service and it puts your friend or family ins very awkward spot.

    If you ask a friend or family member you should ask them what their rates are and not expect them to "not make money off your wedding." And you should never expect a gift, it's rude.

    I agree with the rest of your post and once again will say, hire a vendor, not a family member. Let them attend as a guests, not cheap labor.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • kk111415 said:
    I'm using a work friend who I otherwise wouldn't have invited to my wedding- but I know his work (he's a photo editor) and he agreed to do it almost for free (he asked that I pay for travel and lodging and just give him a little something at the end).  That being said, it's not a good idea to hire a close relative or friend because if anything were to go wrong (damaged equipment/photos aren't what you expected) you would put a rift in your relationship.  Also, don't you want them their enjoying your wedding and not working?  I would ask your cousin to take your engagement photos, but choose a professional for your day of photographer and give your cousin a chance to enjoy your wedding.  My sister in-law will be taking my engagement photos and they are being edited by our photographer. Also, if she isn't a 'professional' she might not have backup equipment or the best cameras to be working with.  Our photographer comes prepared with backup equipment and the equipment that he uses is the best on the market (worth more than the cost of my wedding) so we know nothing will go wrong.  Also, if your cousin isn't offering this as a gift- that's kinda rude of her to try to make $ off your wedding when she otherwise would be giving you a gift. 
       
    I completely disagree with the bold. There is not reason OP's cousin would be rude to charge for working during the wedding. Most wedding photogs charge $1k or more for a full wedding. Do you give most of your cousins a $500 or more present? To expect her to give such a large gift is just one more example of why you shouldn't hire friends or family. People expect a deal or free service and it puts your friend or family ins very awkward spot.

    If you ask a friend or family member you should ask them what their rates are and not expect them to "not make money off your wedding." And you should never expect a gift, it's rude.

    I agree with the rest of your post and once again will say, hire a vendor, not a family member. Let them attend as a guests, not cheap labor.
    When I approached my work friend the first time, he offered to shoot my wedding as a gift.  He's also a solo photographer so you pay less for that anyway.  My fiance and I decided that it was quite a generous offer and that we wanted to compensate him for sure.  When I told him that I wouldn't allow him to do it for free he just asked for me to give him a little something at the end of the night.  He didn't quote me and he left it up to us to decide what we are comfortable with.  I just hate having to negotiate pricing with friends and family.  Yes it's a lot of work for them, but it really depends on her equipment and editing skills.  A lot of people these days get a DSLR and all of the sudden think they are a professional.  

    All of that being said- tell your cousin that you would prefer she attend the wedding and enjoy herself.  Find a professional that you trust, and if you want, have her take your engagement photos. That will make her understand that it's important to you that she attends the wedding as a guest but you appreciate her work and her offer.  
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    jenna8984 said:
    I would just like to say that everyone is always so quick to tell you not to hire a friend. I hired my really good friend and it turned out amazing. I paid for her flights here, most of her sightseeing and food while she here, she slept at my house, and I gave her half her nomal rate. I would a million times do it again if I had the choice. She is super talented and took amazing photos- literally 5 of my friends have asked if they can fly her here for theirs. She even surprised me and sent me a 4 foot canvas of my favorite picture- it's a stunning gift that only a friend would give (not a random vendor). So yes, be careful who you chose, but if you have known the person for years and you are very close and trust them, it can turn out perfect.
    Unfortunately, all too often experiences like yours, while great, are so far from the norm that we do not advise hiring friends on the hope that things will turn out "perfect."  In fact, what happens all too frequently is that everything turns out so badly that the personal relationship is over or deeply damaged because of problems on the wedding day.

    We don't encourage this for two reasons:

    1) Guests should be just that-guests-and not working the wedding.  If they're working, they could get distracted by personal interactions and situations and forget to do their job properly.  Or, they could get so into their jobs that they fail to interact with their own relatives and friends in appropriate ways.  There's a story on the Etiquette Hell website about an MOG who catered the reception.  As soon as the ceremony was over, she changed out of her ceremony outfit into a T-shirt and shorts and spent the entire time in the kitchen to supervise her staff, emerging only to dance the mother-son dance with the groom, while everyone else was dressed up. 

    2) If things go wrong service-wise, this impacts on the personal relationship, often causing it to end or badly damaging it, because the couple gets stuck with no recourse with service failures because of the lack of a legally enforceable written, signed, and dated contract between them and the service provider that sets out terms and conditions for the provision of the services, usually because the service provider promised them the services as a "gift."  Sadly this happens all too often.

    So, while you had a lovely experience, we as a forum aren't going to endorse asking relatives and friends who would normally be guests to work the wedding because of the two things above.
    klk111415
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    jenna8984 said:
    I would just like to say that everyone is always so quick to tell you not to hire a friend. I hired my really good friend and it turned out amazing. I paid for her flights here, most of her sightseeing and food while she here, she slept at my house, and I gave her half her nomal rate. I would a million times do it again if I had the choice. She is super talented and took amazing photos- literally 5 of my friends have asked if they can fly her here for theirs. She even surprised me and sent me a 4 foot canvas of my favorite picture- it's a stunning gift that only a friend would give (not a random vendor). So yes, be careful who you chose, but if you have known the person for years and you are very close and trust them, it can turn out perfect.
     But your really good friend didn't get to enjoy your wedding.  I'd be sad.....I wanted all my friends (and family) to party and have a great time, not work.
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