Hayley Lehmann Photography Blog

Photographing a Friend’s Wedding

Tuesday September 27th 2011

This weekend I had the privilege of photographing the wedding of a long lost friend which got me thinking about this blog topic. Sometimes I get invited to a celebration as a guest rather than a photographer. My friends always say either that they want me to relax and enjoy myself or that they don’t want to impose or take advantage by asking me to take photographs. In truth I hate going to a function as a guest. Being a photographer takes you into the intimate world of the celebrants. You see and feel all their cherished moments. You are a part of the day. You create magic and memories. Plus, my partner says that I’m a real nightmare at a wedding. I can hardly sit still as want to chat to the toastmaster, band and other vendors that I know. And sometimes I can’t help myself and just start directing the photographer to capture things that I know are important that he might have missed or not seen with my eye.110925 3050 Wedding by Hayley Lehmann 300x240 Photographing a Friend’s Wedding

By contrast, photographing a friend’s wedding is one of the accepted ways a new photographer gets into the industry. It always amazes me that a young couple will save a few pounds by trusting their once in a lifetime memories to a friend who is just starting out.

I also have couples say to me that they have a friend who is a very keen amateur photographer and do I have any objections if they take a few photos. As long as he or she isn’t a professional and they don’t get in my way, I have no problem. I always add that if their friend takes a wonderful photo that they want to use in their album that I don’t have a problem with that either. The big day comes and one of three things happens. The friend sidles up to me and wants to talk about cameras and equipment. Yawn! The friend smiles sweetly all day and summons enough courage at the end to ask if they can be my next assistant. The friend takes pictures all day like a pro, gets in my way and yet when I enquire of the couple afterwards how the friend’s photos came out and was there anything usable, I get vague whimpers and eventually the answer is no.

In July I was invited to a family reunion which was tied in with a silver wedding anniversary celebration. I was very good all day until the appointed photographer took the reunited group shot. Fifteen people were organised into a long “conga line” and shot with a wide angle lens. My heart sank and I spent the next hour twitching until I finally asked the host and the photographer if they would mind if we took the shot again. It turns out that it was the photographer’s first professional job, and he was really grateful to learn. The group was reorganised around a bench to get a really compact composition. The camera was set up on a tripod and the photographer took the shot. Yes that’s me at the back feeling uncomfortable the wrong side of the lens. And as I was leaving I caught a quick shot of the tall lady at the back who was missing when we took this shot and I “photoshopped” her in later. The digital file was sent to the photographer so that he could include it in his coverage.110724 5759 Family Reunion 300x240 Photographing a Friend’s Wedding

So in summary all I can say is that I love what I do, whether I know the celebrants or not. And next time I am invited to a celebration as a guest rather than a photographer could you please send some handcuffs to keep me tied to my chair!

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