Getting Married – Pro Photographer Or Your Mates To Take The Pics?


wedding, wedding photographer, professional photographer, photography tips, why hire a professional photographer, pros and cons of a wedding photographer, getting married, how to avoid a disaster at your wedding, best wedding photos, foolproof wedding photos, carla coulson

Shot for “C’est Ma Robe” – Copyright Carla Coulson

I am allowed to write this post because even I have made this mistake!

Firstly, I need to be clear, I am not a wedding photographer but boy do I have a giant respect for them.

There is nothing more exciting than planning your besties wedding or for that matter your own.

There is so much to consider, what to wear, where you are going to hold it, what flowers you want, how to decorate the venue and who to invite. Now folks, the list is actually a whole lot longer than this but I am sure you are getting the pic.

Then you arrive at the big question, who is going to take the photos? And if I have heard it once I have heard it hmmm, a guzillion times, “Oh I have a great mate whose coming to the wedding and he’s going to take the pics??? or “my friends take great pics I’ll get them to take a million photos??? or “I just want some natural pics, nothing formal???.

So this is where I am going to admit one of my greatest mistakes. When I was married in Paris I booked a photographer friend and he took beautiful photos that I love. It was a small wedding, we walked to the local town hall, dropped into our local café and then had some pics with the 14 invitees.

wedding, wedding photographer, professional photographer, photography tips, why hire a professional photographer, pros and cons of a wedding photographer, getting married, how to avoid a disaster at your wedding, best wedding photos, foolproof wedding photos, carla coulson

Shot for “C’est Ma Robe” – Copyright Carla Coulson

But you see my family had waited two lifetimes for me to get married and we had all cried buckets of tears on the phone the day I was (finally) getting married, that they wouldn’t be her in Paris with me. So we planned a Sydney wedding with my fabulous family and my nearest and dearest. It was a lunchtime affair and we went for the whole hippy caftan vibe in the garden.

And then I made the biggest mistake of my life (well almost), I uttered a couple of those phrases above about “my mates taken photos etc”.

Dad walked me around to the front of the house and gave me away in the garden, my dear mate John was the celebrant and all the faces I love were in one place together, something that hadn’t happened for years.

Guess what? I don’t have a lovely shot of me with my darling dad, or my fab mum. Francesco and I have our mouths hanging open in many of the shots and we certainly got those pics that our friends were going to take, just after they had about 5 champagnes. Our wedding photos are blurry, there isn’t one shot of my family together and my girlfriends and I look like we are packing down in a rugby scrum.

I have also taken pics at two weddings where I was the guest.

Let me tell you why this is also a bad idea.

wedding, wedding photographer, professional photographer, photography tips, why hire a professional photographer, pros and cons of a wedding photographer, getting married, how to avoid a disaster at your wedding, best wedding photos, foolproof wedding photos, carla coulson

Shot for “C’est Ma Robe” – Copyright Carla Coulson

When you are a guest at someone’s wedding there is a big chance you know half the crowd and they want to chat with you. So, as a photographer you get confused, should I be polite and chat to ‘Betty’ that I haven’t seen for 20 years or brush her off and go take a photo of the bride? Should I drink a glass (or 2) of champagne or not, probably not a good idea as my enthusiasm for chat just magnifies with bubbles (whoops the bride just did something amazing and I missed it). You ask yourself questions all day and night long like “can I stop and eat anything? Would it be ok to have a dance at 2am or am I meant to capture that?

So dearest folks there is something really important that remains after you have said ‘I do’, your dad has walked you down the aisle, you have eaten the cake, danced your heart out and your loved ones were finally all together for this special day – what remains are the photos.

So in summary, in my humble opinion this is why you should call a wedding photographer not your friends to take your treasured photos on your wedding day.

1. No-one is going to care about getting the shots of you and mum and dad and Aunty Jo all lined up on the steps like a wedding photographer being paid for the job will.

2. Those ‘natural’ moments you want are really hard to shoot and you can’t shoot them if you have to worry about covering the whole event and making sure all the important members of your family are in the pics. That’s why most wedding photographers work in a team, one covers the ‘natural’ pics and the other does the rest.

3. Your friends no matter how fabulous they are will want to enjoy your wedding and at a certain point will just join in the party and you won’t be getting any of those shots.

4. A wedding photographer often works an eighteen hour day and that is a really long time to take photos. They will be there for the bridal party getting ready, arriving at the church, the wedding ceremony, at the church after the wedding, during the speeches, reception, dancing and probably walk out at 2am, the last to leave.

5. They know how weddings work, they go to them all the time and they know the really crucial ‘money shots’ they have to get.

6. They won’t know anyone, which means no-one is going to interrupt them to chat, ask them for a dance or distract them from their job.

7. What remains after the wedding day other than the great time you had, beautiful memories and your new life partner – are the photos.

So dearest friends, never underestimate the power of a pro wedding photographer and put it at the top of your list near your dress when planning your wedding day.

“Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility” – Anne Hathaway

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Leanne Anderson @GetawayGuru
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Oh me too Carla. A very casual morning wedding followed by a wedding breakfast and champagne in Neilsen Park. Low key all the way so of course my thinking was “i’ll just get my friends/family’ to take photos and we’ll use those.

So…I have no shots of me with my mum and dad! Nor do I have a wedding album (as such)

But I do have 18 years of marriage so I count my blessings but yes, I’d re-think my thinking re the photos!

Great advice.

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