Wedding Photography Tip: Don’t Hire Your Sister

Kaitlin-Bridals (19)Early on in my career, there was a great debate that occurred in my family as my baby sister was preparing to get married.  The subject of said debate?  Whether I was going to be a bridesmaid or the wedding photographer.

Ultimately, it was my mother who ended the Great Debate with the simple words: “No one will take your wedding photos with more love than your sister!”

Now, truthfully, she wasn’t wrong.  As her sister, I put so much love into her photos, and I totally brought my A-game.  And I was pretty excited, as my sister is just a total dream to work with!  Every photographer wishes all their models were as easy to photograph as my little sister.

And yes, they looked great!  (I mean, come on, is she a total cutie or what?!  I realize I’m a tad biased but…)

However, as we sat around after the wedding looking through the photos and cherishing the memories, one glaring error stood out with a vengeance.

I wasn’t in a single photo.

There she was, surrounded by her parents, brothers, cousins, and friends…but not her sister.

The intentions here were, of course, perfectly noble and wonderful.  But in the end, taking my sister’s wedding was a huge mistake.  As an immediate family member, my job was elsewhere.  I needed to be there in a totally different capacity, and being behind the camera guarantees that I will rarely, if ever, be in front of it.  My mom was so saddened to realize that I wasn’t in pictures as part of my sister’s big day.

Very often, we are tempted as brides to give certain projects to family members, either to save some money or support that family member’s dreams and ambitions.  But no amount of money savings can make up for the fact that it looked like I wasn’t even at my own sister’s wedding!  I have seen people ask siblings and even parents to take their wedding photos.

Absolutely not.  Parents have a completely different job on the wedding day.  They, especially, need to be around for other things, they need to be in the pictures. So do brothers.  So do sisters.  There are lots of photos that require the family members, and there’s only so many times you can hand over the camera to a random guest or set up the tripod and timer.  That kind of thing just gets in the way.

Just hire someone else.  If I were to do it again, I would take amazing bridal portraits, probably tons of them.  I’d get as many shots of her as I possibly could.  (And, fortunately for me, my sister is not only ridiculously photogenic, she is also a total ham and loves to get pictures taken!  So we’d have oodles of fun.)  And sure, I’d probably tote my camera to the wedding and grab a few shots here and there when I had some time.  But they would be supplemental only.  I would help her find another professional to take the wedding, and I would make sure I was there with the rest of my family for all the photos they needed me for.  I would play the role of sister, not photographer.

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