Ask CJ

Ask CJ

April 12, 2023
April 12, 2023

Ask CJ Dickson | Founder of CJ's Off the Square



My friend has offered to be our wedding photographer. He is a great nature photographer and has been published in many magazines and newspapers. But he’s never photographed a wedding before. Should we hire him?



Working with friends in a professional capacity can be tricky. It gets increasingly complicated when it comes to your wedding. Ultimately, this is your call. But here are a few things you and your partner should consider before making your decision.


Wedding photography is a niche expertise

Just because someone has skill with a camera and may even shoot professionally, it does not mean that they understand the flow of a wedding day, the emotions involved, the traditions, or how to work alongside your other vendors. Weddings are a team effort with lots of moving pieces. You want to work with someone who knows what to expect, has a back-up plan when plans change and isn’t afraid to wrangle your wedding party and family into those group photos (trust me, that alone is a true gift!).

Wedding photography is a very specific niche within a broad profession. The gear is different and so is the mindset and perspective the photographer brings to the day. Tcanvahe more experience they have shooting weddings, the better prepared they are to truly serve you well on your wedding day. I’m not saying that your friend can’t or won’t do a good job, but is this a risk you are willing to take?


Hiring Friends is a Mixed Bag

Hiring friends is a mixed bag, especially when it comes to having them as part of your vendor team on your wedding day. A few things to consider:

  1. Would you otherwise invite this person to attend your wedding as a guest? If so, we don’t suggest hiring them. Working a wedding and being a guest are two very different experiences. So think about what you are asking of your friend to give up by working at your wedding rather than being able to to enjoy the day, connecting with friends and family, and celebrating with you.
  2. If they weren’t your friend, would you hire them (as a photographer, florist or officiant) solely on their merit?
  3. How will you or they handle feedback or criticism? What if you don’t like the style or creative direction your friend is taking? Are you able to assert yourself to ensure you are getting what you want? How will your friend receive your input? Would you be willing to fire your friend if things aren’t working out?
  4. How will the exchange of money may impact your relationship? Money changes things. Everyone has different opinions about the value of a service and what their time and talent is worth. Exchanging money between friends can change the dynamic of your relationship, especially if you aren’t pleased with the end result of what you asked (or they offered) to do for you on your wedding day.

Bottom line: tread carefully when it comes to working with personal friends in any sort of professional capacity on your wedding day if you genuinely want them to be a guest, or if the service that is being considered is a high priority to you.

It’s not worth risking a friendship just to get a “deal.”


Need Referrals? Just ask!

At CJ’s Off the Square, we have an amazing network of creative partners who are specialize in weddings. If you are even a little bit anxious about if your friend is the right fit for you wedding, let us at least connect you with a few professional so you can explore your options and make an informed decision.