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"Friend" as photographer?

I'm still in the budgeting stage, 19 months away, but we're looking to keep our costs down. In weighing many options, I was on facebook and looked at my friend's profile and saw the many wonderful, amazing pics she has (kids, friends, bands, still life, etc...indoor and out) and the thought crossed my mind of asking her. I went to church and high school with her, and I do consider her a friend, but more of a distant friend (when I made a rough guest list she wasn't on there). Pictures aren't my #1 priority, I'm not an album or scrapbooking person...it will just collect dust, and my FI has suggested not having a photographer because of the usually rediculous prices.

I'm wondering if it would be crazy or odd if I asked her to be the photographer, and what your opinions are before I ask.

I would pay her for her time (I would ask her and work something out that she felt was appropriate) and I would include her in my guest count for dinner (which I don't want a bunch  of pictures of people eating anyways). She's a really sweet, fun person so having her around for the day, or just the ceremony/reception, would be no problem for me. Of course I would give her a photo list (which would be very short since I'm not a big photo person) and FI and I aren't very photogenic so if the pics didn't come out great I honestly would think it's because of us. Also, with as many spiffy phones and cameras that would be there, I really believe that those might be enough.
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Re: "Friend" as photographer?

  • drphotodrphoto member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    What comes across loud and clear in your message is that photography is not important to you.  There were times in my life when certain things weren't important to me that are now very important.  When I was young, I never connected with my relatives, now my extended family is very important.  It's our connection to people that makes life valuable.  Is your connection to your future husband of so little importance that it does not deserve to be memorialized?  What are your thoughts going into this marriage?  How important is marriage to you?  Is it disposable or temporary?  Photos are the only part of your wedding day that will be with you as the memory of that day fades over time.  They are part of the legacy you pass along to your children and their children. 

    I was married over 25 years ago.  We had a professional photographer back then and while I have been divorced for roughly 13 years those photos still have meaning to me.  I don't look at them very often, but, they are important because they tell a story.  It's an important chapter in my life and only a photographer could have captured that moment in time for me.

    So, to answer your question, wedding photography, is the most difficult type of photography anyone could possible undertake.  The speed of the day, the pressure, the expectations, changing lighting conditions and equipment failures make this an area that most experienced photographers fail miserably at.  An experienced wedding photographer is expensive because you are essentially renting $40,000 of delicate equipment for an entire day as well as their expertise to run it while interacting with you.  After the wedding, a decent photographer will spend about 100 hours of work processing your photos and laying out your album.  Unless your friend has 20-30 weddings under her belt, she is ill-equipped to deal with this for compensation.  If you enjoy her company, invite her as a guest, but, tell her to leave her camera at home. 

    All the best,
    Corey Schwartz
    www.desertridgephotography.com

  • edited December 2011
    If you're on a tight budget, asking people you know is the way to go. A girl I went to high school with is making my cake for $150 cheaper than a bakery would. 

    Also, usually vendors are not expected to be invited to dinner, but I guess that would be a personal preference for you.
  • Tikki 77Tikki 77 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would just advice a couple things here. You may have heard this before, but you have to remember this could really stress what little friendship you do have with her if something goes wrong.  Wedding photography is very difficult, and a huge responsibility.  Generally, it's not something for just a friend with a camera to do.
      I do of course understand your wanting to keep cost down though.

      Feeding your photographer is always a good idea, paid or not. They work hard for many many hours on that day, and it's hard to subside off trail mix, or nothing. Many wedding photographers have  a meal in their contract even. Like you said, there's really no need for photos of people eating anyway. When bride and groom eat, photographers eat at same time. (with a watchful eye)

      Also consider that although photos aren't your big priority now, they may be in 20 years, when all the rest is gone. The photos remain.  

     Also keep in mind that like i said, wedding photography is very difficult, and very hard work. Asking someone to just do it for a meal may sound good to both her and you now, but when she's exhausted after the day, and then has to spend hours and hours sorting through and editing photos, she may wish she made more money on the deal. 

      Wedding photographers have high prices for a reason. It takes expensive cameras and lights, and years of proper experience, and computers and advertising, etc.  I'm just sayin'.   : )

      Just some food for though. 


     
    Nashville Photographer.
  • Beachy730Beachy730 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: "Friend" as photographer?:
    [QUOTE] Also, usually vendors are not expected to be invited to dinner, but I guess that would be a personal preference for you.
    Posted by aleighk1[/QUOTE]

    Vendors that are working the reception are, and many include it in their contract.  You could check with your venue to see if they have a vendor meal available.  Our venue charged us the same price for vendors as they did for ages 12-20, since they had a regular meal but no bar package.

    As for asking the friend, does she actually do photography, or were they just her random photos on facebook?  If she does it on the side or something then its a great way to save money.  H and I had the same feelings about our photographer.  We had no desire to pay anywhere near $2k and up for one as many people pay.  They are just pictures, and we didn't want albums or anything since we made our own album. 

    We found our photographer through word of mouth.  My dad's friend's daughter knew him and used him at her wedding, and I saw her pictures and loved them.  He did weddings on the side from his regular job, and he was way more affordable than any other places we looked.  So you could ask this girl, but if she isn't willing to do it, then put the word out.  You could ask around if anyone knows people doing photography, and you can even ask on FB.  I have since found 3 other people I've gone to high school with that are doing photography on the side, and they are always looking for events to gain experience and build their portfolios.  Obviously ask to see their work before hiring them, but there are many budding photogs out there who could definitely save you money.
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  • edited December 2011
    Thank You Everyone for the responses and input. Please comment more if you have more to say.

    The whole reason for offering her food is because she is more of a friend, even though a bit distant (I hadn't thought to buy a vendor plate as well, for any that would be there during the reception)

    She's really into photography but not a full-blown photographer. The pictures she has on facebook are just her random pictures but she takes her camera everywhere she goes and seizes the moment...and it all is beautiful! She's GREAT with a camera. Like I said, pictures aren't all that important to me. Important enough that I would like some but not to pay over $2000 for (the cheapest package of $640 is still something I don't want to pay just for someone to walk around taking pictures).

    I do have another FB friend who I really don't talk to that is a professional photographer but he does more staged/still life...but I could ask him for help/advice too if this "girl" doesn't work out.

    *To clarify, I use "girl" because having known her since elementary, I don't feel comfortable referring to her as a woman or lady...it just seems so old...even though we're in our late 20s.
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  • Tikki 77Tikki 77 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    "(the cheapest package of $640 is still something I don't want to pay just for someone to walk around taking pictures)."

       I had to quote you on that, because I'm not sure you read my response above, which detailed what is involved actually. 
      
    There is lots lots lots more to it than walking around taking pictures. Sometimes there's running involved, lots of squatting, lugging equipment around (if it's a real photographer with lighting and such), showing up early to scout out locations, having proper equipment for shooting in low light conditions(common in weddings and receptions), paying for advertising, running a business, having multiple hard drives to keep your photos backed up on, incase of hard drive failure, having at least TWO cameras, in case one breaks, editing photos for hours and hours---after sorting through about 1,200 or more.

      It's so much more than walking around taking pictures. Not to mention, actually being good at it.  Sometimes after a wedding, many wedding photographers (including myself) are totally exhausted and sore the next day and can hardly do better than just to get out of bed. Weddings are fast paced events, and photographers have to try to be everywhere at once.  Trust me, it's far more involved than you think it is.  :)

      
    Nashville Photographer.
  • drphotodrphoto member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Try Mark Arnold Photography
    http://www.ma-fotoblog.com

    Phone # 214.882.1384

    He's in the DFW area, has a great eye and his packages start at about $1,000. 

    All the best,
    Corey Schwartz
    www.desertridgephotography.com

  • Girlie1030Girlie1030 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'm using a friend as my photographer as well and also handing over my DSLR to my niece who has an incredible eye for details.  My friend has refused payment and even if he hadn't already been on the guest list I would certainly include him in the final headcount for the caterer.  On that note, a co-worker is going to DJ for us and though he has asked for a small fee, I'm including him and his wife in the catering count as well.  I figure dinner for two is small potatoes compared to what he's saving me. 
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