This is What Happens If You Don’t Hire a Wedding Photographer

Published by Sam, Editor -
This is What Happens If You Don’t Hire a Wedding Photographer

We share the sad tale of a bride who didn’t hire a professional wedding photographer, and is unhappy, hates her wedding photos, and tells us why you should hire a professional so you don’t end up with horrible and embarrassing photos.

My Wedding Photography Nightmare

We chatted to bride Lynne, who is also a wedding supplier owning and running Medici Macarons, and find out about how she planned her wedding day, split up her budget and what she decided to do with regards to photography.

So firstly Lynne, how did you meet your partner?

We met through a friend. Ian was training to be a social worker and called round to my friend’s one night when I was there to borrow some books for his course. It was love at first sight.

How did you go about planning your big day?

We decided we wanted to marry on the first anniversary of us starting to go out with one another. We knew from the start that we wanted a quiet wedding – just our closest friends and family. Unfortunately I fell ill and we had to cancel the wedding. In some ways that was a good thing.

Our small intimate wedding had grown in to something we didn’t want due to parental pressure. We finally got married 3 years after we met and we were able to plan the wedding we wanted. We chose the date nearest to the anniversary of us meeting.

We booked the registry office first – and we were able to request to be married by a family friend that made the wedding ceremony extra special. We then started to look for places to have a meal for after the ceremony when Ian’s sister offered her house. We booked a local caterer to provide a buffet style meal with lots of our favourite foods. Ian’s Mum had been a wedding cake maker in her youth and she offered to make us a 3 tier cake.

How did you go about splitting up your budget?

We wanted to keep costs low – we didn’t have much spare cash and the money we did have we both felt we would prefer to spend on the honeymoon. We didn’t have a specific budget – we bought what we liked but we ended up spending about spent equal amounts on the dress, suit, and food. At the last minute I decided to have flowers for myself, my matron of honour and 2 bridesmaids. They cost more than my dress!

So Disappointed with my Wedding Photos

At the time, what was the reasoning for not hiring a professional wedding photographer?

Because we were having a quiet wedding we thought that a wedding photographer wasn’t really necessary – that somehow it was extravagant for a small wedding . We also thought it would be an added expense and that the money could be put towards other costs and our honeymoon. And then when my brother (who was a keen amateur photographer) offered to take photographs the thought of having a professional photographer never entered our minds again.

Bad Wedding Photography

At what point did you regret not having a wedding photographer and how did it come about?

I was disappointed as soon as I saw the photo’s after our wedding. There were so few photos that I felt I could put in a picture frame – many were blurred – or people had their heads cut off – the lighting was all wrong!

Since I have become a wedding supplier I have been following the wedding blogs and every day I see the most wonderful wedding photos and I so wish that we had employed a wedding photographer to capture our special day.

What advice would you give to others thinking of using a friend or family member to capture their day?

DON’T! Friends and family offer in good faith but what I have realised is that wedding photography is more than having a decent camera and an ability to take a good shot. It’s about having an eye to capture those special moments, to tell the story of your day – as well as all the technical expertise.

What Issues did you have with your photos?

  • Out of focus
  • Over exposed – washed out photos
  • The posed shots often have distractions in the background – like a garage nearly coming out of my head (as seen above).
  • I realise now that even with reportage type wedding photographs you have to have an eye for the shot. My brothers more ‘candid’ shots have all got people pulling funny faces or people half off the photo. They don’t look ‘natural’, they just look bad!
  • There are no lovely creative shots that you see so often now – the one’s that make you go ‘wow’.

What tips would you give to couples planning their big day and deciding how to spend their budget?

Your photo’s last a lifetime – they will bring you endless pleasure over the years to come, long after the food is consumed, the drink has been drunk and the flowers faded. It is totally worth budgeting for a photographer – if money is tight I would definitely skim money from other areas to ensure you can have one. Hire the best wedding photographer you can afford.

If there is one thing I regret about my wedding day, it is not having had a professional photographer – please don’t make the same mistake, if that wasn’t enough check out this article on 5 Reasons Why you Should Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer.


  1. Cath Broadhead

    Sorry to hear your regrets Lynne, maybe you’ll can re-new your vows one day and have a fab photographer to capture the moments this time.
    A lot of photographers offer gift vouchers (and if not, just ask if they would be up for offering that service)… A great present if you have guests who ask to see your gift list. Would beat another new toaster or some crystal glasses that you leave in the cupboard for ‘special occassions’!!
    Happy planning everyone x

  2. McKay Photography Sydney

    You can’t stress it enough but not hiring a professional means you might end up with no great memories from your wedding day. But in some ways it’s like insurance – you don’t realise you need it until after the event!

  3. Emily

    I couldn’t agree with you more and unfortunely I have learnt this lesson the hard way! My Mother asked a family friend to shoot my wedding and that was it we never considered looking elsewhere, it was only until I submitted my wedding photographs to a bride blog that I noticed all the errors in my photographs. People had their eyes closed, they weren’t looking at the camera, there was mess in the backgrounds, the lighting was awful! Devasted would describe how I felt, I blame myself constantly and am doing everything I can to resolve the issue, I’ve had all my photographs edited by a photoshop proffessional which has cost a fortune. We are also going back to the venue with a proffessional photographer to get some shots for our 1st year anniversary, by the time I’ve paid for all this I could of had a proffessional photographer for the day! Very sad.

  4. Alexander Leaman

    A photographer doesn’t want to hear “We’ve decided to let my brother take the pictures” for a couple of reasons. One is that I want the booking! It’s what I do and I’ve worked hard to get here. The other is that I know that when that couple get their pictures back (and they’re, erm…. not what they expected) there’s nothing in the universe that I can do to fix it. I can’t make their pictures better by saying “I told you so”.

    Some people might just get away with it, and that’s great, but those stories are a little harder to come by.

  5. Black Lamb Photography

    It’s sad that so many couples still opt out of hiring a professional photographer for their wedding day. Who cares about what you ate, drank or the kinds of decorations you had on your wedding day if you don’t even have decent shots after all is said and done.

  6. Carrie Lynn

    I could not agree with this article more….thanks Lynne for sharing your thoughts. Definitely worth the read!

    Carrie Lynn
    ~Master Wedding Photography (TM)~

  7. Jon O'Connell

    Too many articles around as well on wedding blogs and in magazines suggesting that wedding photography is outdated and an unnecessary expense. So wrong as wedding photography is getting better and more creative all the time and its a very special moment documented forever. I’m biased as well ;o)

  8. Martin Ellard

    Great article, I’m going to share this now, I appreciate that sometimes couples get lucky and have someone capable and competent close to them, but there is an awful lot more to wedding photography than making amazing pictures and capturing moments.

  9. Andy from Punch The Air

    The exact same can be said about your entertainment.
    You always get what you pay for and you’re only getting married once so make sure you have enough in your budget for a professional band as well as a professional photographer.

  10. Molly

    To be fair, ‘overexposed and washed’ out is basically what ‘light and airy’ is. While I totally understand the purpose of this blog, it seems very coaxed. It’s quite possible she was unhappy with her photos but the author definitely nudged her a bit about ‘why’ she was unhappy.

  11. Zubida

    Really enjoyed the article. I think, there is no alternative to meeting the photographers before hand. Make sure that the person we ultimately choose is a right person for our wedding.

  12. Louise

    It’s hard to come away from your wedding with regrets, but thank you for sharing your experience. Hopefully others will take on board your words and wont make the same mistake.

  13. Jam Hot Show Band

    100% agree! We don’t believe any part of your wedding should be skimped on, especially not something you will keep for ever, such as Photo, Video etc!


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