As a photographer, I follow wedding blogs and often find advice recommending couples to hire a photographer that “could be your friend.” This is something that I find incredibly odd, and sometimes not very good advice.
This is not to say that if you find someone who is amazing and outgoing that you should not hire them (us photographers come in all shapes and personalities). Rather, I'm saying that as a consumer, y’all should be aware of the difference between being sold to and booking someone based on actual good work. And as an artist, I beg to offer a little different perspective on hiring someone that you could be friends with.
I am pretty extroverted these days, and most people now wouldn’t think of me as shy, but this is not something that came naturally for me. On behalf of all those other shy (yet still amazing documentary photographers), I’d like to offer a few reasons why you should consider not solely hiring “someone who you could be friends with,” and a few secrets that artists might not disclose every day…
1. It really doesn't matter if your photographer is your friend
You have your buds for that already. In fact, if your photographer is so busy being your friend, most likely they aren’t paying attention to the little moments that are happening all about.
2. Artists can be a little socially awkward, which is probably why they turned to art as a way to express themselves in the first place
A lot of times, a good documentary photographer most likely is, or has been, shy or introverted at some point in their life. In order to really be able to capture and notice all those quiet moments, at some point they had to spend time just observing people.
3. Instead of focusing on the photographer as a personality, focus on the photographer’s portfolio
Scroll through their blog posts, and ask to see more work if their work online doesn't cover enough of the day. Ask yourself, what is important to you to be documented? Is your main focus posed portraits and details? Or is it capturing friends and family? Or do you want a mix? Do you want crispy documentary photographs or something with some artistic flair? Once you answer these questions, start looking for this in the portfolios and choose based on this.
4. You might not really spend that much time with your photographer
If you do find that photographer that you could be friends with, and you also love their work, that’s an awesome bonus and you should go for it for sure. But at the end of the day, you may not care how well you and your photographer meshed, because you're not actually socializing that much on your wedding day. A lot of us documentary photographers are just flies on the wall.
Sure, you don’t want to be uncomfortable with your photographer, but remember: this is a business decision — friendship doesn't necessarily have to be a factor.
Wedding photographers, do you aspire to be BFFs with your clients?
photography: Deborah Huber Photography