As a wedding photographer, situations will arise where friends and family will ask you to photograph their weddings. Some of these requests will be from a genuine love and appreciation of your work while others will be looking for deep discounts and even for you to do it for free. It is good to have a game plan in place for when these requests come in and to know in advance how you will handle them. Here are some helpful tips for this sometimes sticky situation.
Tips on what to do when friends and family request you photography their wedding
Photos via Red Shoes Photography
1. Decide if you want to do it.
Think about the pros and cons of photographing this particular wedding. Is this a wedding where you will see lots of friends you haven’t seen in awhile and will want to catch up with? If so, perhaps you should leave the photos to someone else, and just enjoy being a guest. However, perhaps you won't know many people at the wedding, and "working" while attending will be of no matter to you.
2. Make sure you talk to your friend about what she wants and make sure it will not ruin your friendship.
It is so important to talk to your friend to see what her expectations are for the wedding. Sometimes the scope of what she is expecting far exceeds your normal packages and time commitment. You will want to know what she is thinking, and you will need to decide if you can meet her expectations.
I have talked to several photographers who told stories of ruined friendships from photographing weddings for their friends. Bottom line: If you don't think you can make your friend happy, don't do it.
3. Have a contract.
Just like with any other client, make sure you both sign a contract. Having a contract in place will ensure that you both have agreed to the same terms and expectations for the wedding. Money can also get sticky with friends and family, so having a legal contract in place will ensure both parties know what to expect.
4. Hire a second photographer you know and trust.
In this situation, it is often helpful to have a second photographer who you know and trust to take over when needed. Sometimes when you are so close to the couple, it is nice to have someone along who can stand back and see things from a different perspective and capture moments you might not see.
In addition, when you are good friends with the couple, it is possible that you also know many of the other guests and could get involved with conversations that are difficult to leave. Having a second photographer who can fill in during these times is so important.
5. Stay professional.
It is important to remember that you are not a guest, but a professional at any wedding you are photographing. You are being paid and trusted to capture this important day in your friend’s life. Keep your focus on the task at hand.
For more tips on photographing weddings, check out Craftsy's Wedding Photography: The Romantic Portrait Session
How do you handle requests from family and friends to photograph a wedding?