Your wedding photos shouldn’t just be beautiful, they should tell the emotional story of your day…from the endearing and tearful moment with your father before he walks you down the aisle, to the great expectancy and joy of the private dance with your new husband.

Ideally it is best to only work with photographers and videographers who specialize in weddings. But often that is not realistic. There may be budget restrictions, and you just happen to have that favorite cousin who loves to take pictures.

In this blog, I share how I responded to a similar scenario.

The Scenario

Steve tells you that his cousin Adam is an amazing photographer and gives you his card. You check out his website and have to agree. His photographs are gorgeous—subtle, soul-searching black-and-white portraits of common folks doing everyday tasks (a dairy farmer entering a barn, a mother bathing her child, a cashier at a grocery store). Steve tells you not to bother recommending anyone else—Adam will be shooting the wedding.

Though you see the appeal, you have many concerns. Adam has never shot anything remotely like a wedding. You’re afraid that the pictures, though they might have a certain artistic appeal, will not represent all the elements of the wedding. You’re also worried because Adam hasn’t yet offered to shoot the wedding. Steve has just assumed that he’ll want to do it. You’d hate to burden a guest like that —even if he is family.

The Response

Good afternoon Steve and Lori,

The details of wedding planning are coming together beautifully and, seemingly, rather quickly. Before you know it, your special day will be here, and you will be equally surprised by how quickly that day will go by. The only reminder will be the lasting memories…..and of course, the photos! That said, I want to be open and honest about my hesitation in having Adam photograph the wedding.

After viewing his website, I totally agree that Adam is an amazing photographer. Given that the totality of his portfolio is black and white portraits, it is clear that his passion and artistry are found in the subtlety and simplicity of common everyday life. His photos are gorgeous, by the way. However, in order to fully tell the story of your wedding, your final photo display should reflect a balanced blend of both composed poses and candid, spontaneous shots. With this thought in mind, I offer the following alternative ideas:


Rather than ask Adam to be your wedding day photographer, request that he do your engagement shoot and/or Lori’s bridal photo shoot.  Because of his expertise in portrait photography, no doubt he will capture some beautiful poses that will be cherished for years to come.


For the wedding day, invest in a professional wedding photographer, one who specializes in photography that focuses on the activities relating to events and weddings. Below are two recommendations:

I had the pleasure of working with Lavishly Lux Studio, where a team of two photographers and one videographer worked seamlessly together to capture every aspect of this small, intimate wedding ceremony and reception.  Not only were they respectful of the timeline by taking the specific shots requested, they were also very flexible and cooperative when asked to make some spur-of-the-moment changes.  Please click the following link to view their portfolio: .

I also had the pleasure of working with Tolman Media, where a team of one photographer and one videographer worked in concert to create beautiful digital displays of my daughter’s wedding.  The photographer also did the engagement and bridal shoot.  I was so impressed with the photos that I used them as the focal point of the centerpieces for the guest tables.  You can check out their portfolio here: .


Use Adam (as well as other guests) as a supplement to pictures taken by the professional.  This gives him the freedom to take the snapshots of his choice, and at the same time, not be burdened to “have to” take pictures. The photos can then be uploaded to a photo sharing site such as Flickr or the couple’s own wedding website. Additionally, Facebook has a Shared Albums feature which allows you to invite guests to add photos directly to an album. 

Let’s talk tomorrow evening to discuss these options in order to move forward in securing the best photographer to capture every emotion of your special day.

Making Marvalous Memories,

Marva Bernard,

Owner | Certified Wedding Planner

Marvalous Weddings, LLC