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Brides hear it all the time: Don’t hire a friend to photograph your wedding.

While it does worry me to have someone with little experience play such a huge role in an important day in your life,  I think it’s crucial to look at things from another angle.

Imagine viewing your pictures for the first time.  The first kiss is no where to be found and the first dance is so dark you can barely see outlines of yourself.   You had told yourself that pictures weren’t that big of a deal…but that was before the wedding. Now, looking back you feel as though you’ve missed out on those memories and your friend is to blame for missing the moments. Before you know it, your pictures cost more than you imagined: a friendship.

If you aren’t worried about potentially tarnishing a friendship, take a moment to look at another side of it.

A few years back, my cousin was preparing for her wedding.  As she asked my opinion on photographers, I was hurt that she wasn’t asking me to capture her day. Family members tried to explain to me that it was important to her that I attend as a guest and enjoy myself. Although I insisted that I could enjoy myself while photographing, she declined my offer.

When the wedding day arrived, I strolled into the church just minutes before the ceremony started, carrying only my purse. (Okay, I’m lying a little.  I DID bring my camera for a few personal shots for myself BUT I only brought my camera body and one lens instead of a suitcase of equipment).  I didn’t worry about lighting or angles, I focused on my cousin getting married to a pretty awesome guy.

During the reception, I sat. I don’t think I have ever sat at a reception.  I took my time eating dinner, rather than inhaling a few bites and jumping back up with camera in hand.  Heck, I even put my camera away and danced (though not well).  Suddenly I understood what everyone was telling me.

I’m glad I was invited as a guest and not a photographer.  I was able to ‘live’ my cousin’s wedding, not ‘view’ it.  Friends and family should be there just as that – friends and family. Although they may insist they don’t mind photographing your wedding, politely turn down the offer and explain to them that you’d rather they just enjoy the day.

I promise that they will thank you after the wedding, just as I had.

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