How to deal with a family photographer for your wedding day

Sarah + Taylor 14

One of the most common problems I find my couples dealing with for their big day always seems to be that family or friend photographer that feels they should be the ones taking all of the engagement and wedding day images. This can be a big problem for a bride and groom to have to deal with when they have so many other important things to worry about.

Whether you just don't like their style, don't want them working the day of your wedding, or don't think that they know what they're doing enough to entrust them with one of the biggest days of your life, read on to find out a few ways to hopefully keep EVERYONE happy!

Those of you that haven't had to go through this probably don't realize the stress that some of these couples are going through worrying about turning down that close family member or friend, but let me just say... The struggle is real.

Between the friends that just assume they'll be the wedding photographer when the bride and groom have already booked a pro, to family members getting upset and offended (and letting the bride and groom know about it) when they break the news to them that they don't want them to photograph the wedding... trying to get your point across can become pretty difficult.

Having been in both shoes (knowing a photographer that assumed they would be taking our pictures and me being a professional wedding photographer), I have come up with a list of a few ways to deal with these people for your wedding day.


I like to call this the "break the wrist and walk away"  maneuver.

If your famtographer is continuously hinting that they will be your wedding photographer pretty soon into the process, you can just tell them up front that you will be hiring a photographer and leave it at that. The sooner you take care of this, the better... If you wait too long and it's almost time for the wedding and they STILL think they're taking your pictures, having to break the news to them right before will leave them in a bad mood for the big day and they won't have any time to sulk and be offended beforehand. ;)

So one of two things will happen when you're up front with them at the first moment you notice their hints:

They'll say, "Okay, that's cool," and leave it at that... OR...

They'll begin to tell you all the reasons you should use them and not some random person, ultimately telling you that they'll do it for free as your "wedding gift" and there's no reason you should use some random person you don't know over your own flesh and blood.

If you're afraid that the latter will happen before going in to this, go ahead and add in the next steps when you break the news to them.

(I know what you're thinking right now... "Wow!! How did she know what they said to me?!")


Let's just call this the "trying to dig my way out of a hole"  maneuver.

So you're stuck in the super awkward argument of why you should use them over a pro you don't know... All you have to say is:

"We want you to spend your time at our wedding enjoying your day and not working."


"We want you to be IN the pictures and if you're taking them then you won't be in any."

At this point, most individuals will get the hint and leave it alone, however, in many instances they won't.

Geez... They sure are determined to take your pictures for you.


"Oh look, a squirrel."

They're still not taking no for an answer... Your next move is to find something else you want them to do to distract  them.

If it's a famtographer you're dealing with, you can give them special seating during the ceremony and reception. If they are to be ushered in with the parents and grandparents, it is more important than them taking pictures for you, especially when you've already told them you have someone else. Hopefully they will appreciate this gesture and not take it for what it is (a means of distraction).

For the friendtographer, it all depends on how close you are with them... Would they be better of as a bridesmaid or groomsman, or as a guest book girl or usher?

·Some more ideas are to have them with the bride as she's putting her dress on or when the groom is getting ready so they can "help"

·Tell them you need their help decorating and getting things together the day of if you are DIYing anything (or everything)

·Ask them if they will help you coordinate. While this is generally a job reserved for a pro, you may want to use it if you're desperate.


Now we're to "I'm waving the white flag!"

At this point, they won't get off your back about taking your pictures and are beginning to get offended that you are insinuating you don't want them to.

If this is the case, it's time to call a truce.

There is NO reason to not hire the photographer you want for your wedding day just to keep from hurting someone's feelings.

When I say "waving the white flag," I most definitely don't mean you're giving in, I just mean you're finding a compromise to keep the peace. For all of you people pleasers out there (*cough* me *cough*), this may be a good solution for you.

While this isn't my favorite, it may be worth a try. Talk with your photographer (the real one) and ask if they would mind if Uncle Bob do something like taking all of the pictures of the guys getting ready because that isn't as important to you as everything else. Most photographers don't allow another company to be hired for the same job, but in this case they will be doing ONE thing and won't be in your photographer's way at all.


"Avoid at all costs."

This option is a bit different from the rest.

I recommend not mentioning the wedding to them when they're around, not telling them any times or dates or locations (until you're telling everyone else too), and when the time is right, just let them know what time they need to be there. When you do this, don't make them feel as if they are getting a special time that's different from everyone else.

If they are part of the family, send out a note to everyone along with this person and tell everyone pictures will be at [this time] and they need to be there for it.

When your famtographer sees that they don't know what's going on and it's already been decided, they're going to know they play no part in the picture taking process other than smiling at the camera.

Keep in mind, if you decide to use this option without trying any of the others, you could very well hurt some feelers. This would be more of a last resort scenario where you are getting tired of dealing with him or her.

Personally, I try to NEVER push myself on anyone and make them feel as if they have to use me. I don't like being in either position so I do my best to stay away from putting myself there.

If you're reading this and you have been that photographer before... Put yourself in their shoes and then don't do it again!

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