Should I Let My Friend Photograph My Wedding?

Friend Photography Ok, so let’s be real for a moment here. If you live in Portland, chances are that you know a photographer. It might be your neighbor or someone you went to high school with, or even a good friend of yours.

And, the reality is that good wedding photography is a significant investment, and not everyone has the means (or desire) to hire a photographer. And that’s okay! But you still want to follow some guidelines – so here are some words of wisdom from an industry professional.

If you do opt to hire your friend to photograph your wedding, be certain that you treat it as you would any other business deal – use a contract that spells out what happens and when, not even so much for legal reasons (you’re probably not going to sue them no matter what happens), but to make sure that expectations are totally clear from the get-go. Basic things to put in writing are: a timeline for receiving photos, approximate number of photos, number of coverage hours, how you’re allowed to use the photos and what your photographer friend’s liability limits are. This helps to separate the coverage from your relationship.


Resist the temptation to let your friend photograph it for free, no matter how much they might insist that they want to. Culling and editing hundreds of photographs after a wedding is a huge amount of work (as in, 15 or so hours worth), and many times, free favors for friends get completed when it’s convenient and when time is available. The last time I had 15 hours to myself, I was a teenager. Lives are busy. No matter how kind your friend is, if he or she is not receiving anything for their work, your photographs are likely going to be put on the back burner.


The next thing you want to ask yourself is, “if my friend shoots my wedding and I end up hating the photos, will it hurt our friendship?”


I hired a friendly acquaintance (a photojournalist – not a wedding photographer) to shoot my wedding photos. While the photos, unfortunately, ended up being a disappointment, I didn’t have a real friendship with this person, so it didn’t affect us in the aftermath. I do, however, know people whose friendships have soured after similar situations. At the very least, you want to be aware of the worst case scenario at the outset. It’s a lot easier to hate that you threw away $1000 on an inexpensive photographer who didn’t end up being very good than it is to ruin a friendship because of wanting to stay in-budget.


Feeling uncertain that hiring a friend is the best match for you?


While most professionals don’t have very much financial latitude on their high-demand dates, selecting an off-season date or a weekday wedding can save you money on many of your wedding vendors.


For those of you who have selected a low-demand date, we have special event coverage options that allow for high quality photography coverage on even the tightest of budgets. Plus, we’re always happy to hear from you, and we promise to treat your wedding as if it’s the most important one we have on our roster, no matter what coverage level you select.