Wedding Wednesday Q&A: Is it a Bad Idea to Hire a Non-Wedding Photographer?

Wedding Wednesday Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events and creator of Passport to Joy online step by step wedding planning course for couples

Q: I don’t have a big budget and one area in particular that I’m struggling with is photography. I can’t seem to find a good wedding photographer for what I’m able to spend. I told my friend this and she told me that she hired a non-wedding photographer for her wedding. She found him on some random site and liked his photos (mainly landscape photos). And he was super cheap. So, she hired him and she loves how her wedding photos turned out. So, this idea really excited me! But, I’m not sure if that is normal or whether she just got lucky. Is it a bad idea to hire a non-wedding photographer?

When you’re working on a tight budget, finding creative ways to save money is a must. But, it’s also a challenge.

Because the reality is that going with the cheapest option isn’t always best.

It can seem like it and feel like it. But, in the end, it isn’t always the best choice.

And with wedding photography, it’s especially tricky.

Skill with a camera is always a necessity when it comes to photography. And skills do translate. But there are different types of photography for a reason.

Every photographer shoots a particular way. And like with anything, photographers specialize in a certain type of photography whether that’s food, babies, corporate, landscape, celebrities, editorial, weddings, etc…

Lanikuhonua private estate wedding venue in Hawaii by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)

That doesn’t mean they can’t do other types of photography. But, what it means is by choosing a non-wedding photographer, you’re choosing someone whose strength isn’t wedding photography.

And that can be a problem.

For example, a landscape photographer is good at scenes. And scenes don’t move. You can sit there and wait for the perfect lighting or for a rainbow to come out.

You have time.

Wedding photography on the other hand is fast paced. You’re dealing with people and things are constantly moving and changing. You have to be fast on your feet and able to anticipate where you need to be to capture the moments.

Because once that moment is gone, it’s gone.

Happy couple laughing at their wedding reception toasts by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events creator of Passport to Joy the online wedding planning course for couples
(Photo credit: Day 7 Photography)

As you can see, those are two very different types of photography. And they not only require a different photography skillset, but also a different personality.

With landscape you don’t deal with people at all. There’s lot of wind and weather and lighting to deal with. But, not people. So, it doesn’t matter what your personality is or how you interact with people.

Weddings on the other hand are all about people. Emotional people. Anxious people. Worried people. And sometimes demanding people. And you have to have a personality that can deal with all of that.

So, asking a non-wedding photographer to photograph your wedding is a risk.

Because depending on the type of photography that they specialize in, they may not be equipped or experienced to do it or handle it.

And you can’t do your wedding over again. So, you don’t want to regret the photographer choice you made.

But with all that being said, it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You could find a fantastic non-wedding photographer who will take great wedding photos.

But, what it does mean is you have to vet your non-wedding photographer to see if they can handle a wedding. If they have the experience to do it. And if they have the personality to do it.

So, if they’ve done a wedding before, even if it was 10 years ago, that’s helpful. If they work with people, but in a different way, that’s helpful.

Any experience with anything remotely like a wedding is a good thing. And that will make you feel more confident in their skills.

But, you also want them to sound confident that they can do it. Do they show that they understand what it takes and are able to do it? And are they excited about doing it?

Because you want someone who is confident in their skill, in their experience and want to do it. It’s never going to turn out well if you pick someone who isn’t super interested in photographing your wedding and just needs the money.

And of course, you have to like their personality. And assess if they can handle your parents, your friends and are someone people would feel comfortable around. Because that’s also a big piece to getting good wedding photos.

So, if you’re considering hiring a non-wedding photographer for your wedding, be careful. Vet them as you would vet anyone else, but specifically hone in on their experience and personality. And see how confident they are in their skills and how confident you are in them.

But, in the end it will always be a risk to hire a non-wedding photographer. And you have to know that and be comfortable with it.

Because creative alternatives are necessary when you’re planning a wedding on small budget, but you don’t want to regret your decision.

Want to learn how to plan your wedding on your budget?

Become a Passport to Joy member! We’ll help you through the entire wedding planning process so you can create a wedding you love without blowing your budget.

Click here to learn more and join today!

4 replies
  1. weddings fashion
    weddings fashion says:

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate
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  2. Nadhiya
    Nadhiya says:

    Dear Writer, its like you read my mind. I was having the same trouble as mentioned by the person in your article of whether or not to hire a non-wedding photographer due to budget issues. Reading your article has thrown light to the aspects that needs to be given importance to and the importance of hiring a wedding photographer.

    • Jamie Chang
      Jamie Chang says:

      Hi Nadhiya, I’m so glad you found the blog helpful with your wedding planning! If you have any follow up questions, just let me know!


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