Should you have a friend take your wedding photos?

There is a frightening trend occurring lately where I hear couples say that they're going to have a friend take their wedding photos, or worse yet they figure that all the guests will have digital cameras and they can use all their pictures as their wedding photos.  Sure it seems like a good idea, how can saving money not be?

I can't even begin to tell you how bad of an idea this is...your wedding photos are the last thing you should ever cut corners on with your wedding budget!  They are the one thing that will last forever and will be the lasting memory of that special day.  Would you let a friend do the electrical wiring in your house?  Replace the head gasket in your car?  Or worse yet, remove your appendix?  Of course not...these are all jobs that should be left to the professionals.  Individuals in those professions have had extensive training, years of experience and the equipment necessary to get the job done right.  Wedding photography is no different, and should be left to the professionals.  I can't tell you how many weddings I've attended as a guest where the "friend" photographing the wedding looks lost, is obviously struggling and is completely overwhelmed.  Some in fact got so bad...I couldn't live with myself if I didn't step in to help.  There is simply no substitute for a seasoned veteran with years of experience and the right equipment to get the perfect photos you deserve on the most important day of your life!

Still not convinced...here's a list of the Pros and Cons of having a friend take your wedding photos...

Pros

1. You will save money 2. Since you know the person you may feel comfortable around them

Cons

1.  Your photos will never look as good as a professionals'! An amateur simply can't produce the quality of photos you deserve.  Your wedding photos should be works of art.  A trained professional will be able to capture all the moments of your special day in exquisite detail and style.  Even if your friend happens to be a professional landscape photographer for example, weddings are a whole different ball game.  Wedding photography is extremely difficult and takes years of training and real world experience.  Additionally, a pro photographer is there for a job...what happens if your friend gets drunk and just wants to enjoy the party rather than take pictures?

2.  Who will edit the photos and with what software? This is key...because if you hire your friend to take the photos...they will inherently be of much lesser quality and will need extensive editing.  Years of training and thousands of dollars in equipment are vital in editing photos.  Is your friend a Photoshop expert...I've been shooting/editing weddings for over 12 years and I still don't consider myself a Photoshop expert.

3.  What happens if they accidentally delete your photos? Professional photographers have a motto...backup, backup and backup once more for good measure...an amateur photographer (especially one nervous about shooting a wedding) runs the risk of formatting over your beloved images.

4.  They don't have pro level equipment. The average photographer has over $20K in equipment...amateur cameras simply can't compete.  Pro photographers also have backup equipment in case something happens to their first setup...what happens if your friend's camera breaks?

5.  What happens if there is a change in lighting or weather? There is always the chance of something happening and an inexperienced photographer won't know what to do to still get great shots in any weather or lighting situation.

6.  You may not get photos of all the things you want. Seasoned veterans know exactly what comes next during a wedding and are proactive in getting every shot.  What happens if your friend is changing lenses and misses the first kiss or bouquet toss?

7.  They don't know how to engage people and pose them. Sure they might be able to push the button on a camera but can they get your aunt to smile or wrangle family members into a shot?  Or worse yet, know how to pose a bride to make her look her best?

8.  Do they have liability insurance? All professional photographers have liability insurance to protect themselves if for example someone trips over their camera bag and breaks a leg.  It's sad but in the society we live in...someone will sue...regardless of if they're friends or family.

9.  The photos will not be cropped correctly. A trained eye would be able to crop photos correctly and shoot at unique angles to get exquisite shots.

10.  It's just a bad idea...never mix business with friends and family! You know the old adage of not lending money to friends or family because it invariably ends badly...the same rings true here.

Bottom line your wedding photos are simply too important to leave to amateurs!  I know it may be tempting to save money but it's not worth the risk...Don't do it!