Do Me a Favor…

Posted in Photography at 12:18 pm by Justin

No, I’m not actually asking for a favor…well, maybe I am…kinda.  I’m looking for people to weigh-in on something – it’s a topic that I’ve had to deal with before, but it’s about a long-standing rule that I’ve followed when it comes to photography.

Let me back up a bit…

About 10yrs ago, I read a post on a photography message board (I think that’s where it was at) when searching for an answer to whether I should photograph a relative’s wedding or not.  The answer I came up with, was somewhat of an unwritten rule – maybe more of a guideline – that it’s never a good idea to photograph a family member’s wedding.  The reasoning behind that is that if things were to go horribly wrong, or you had an ‘off’ day, pictures didn’t come out, etc…..you weren’t turned into a pariah for fucking up the cherished memories of said beloved family member.  That answer led me to adopt this rule and decline shooting my step-sister’s wedding.  What ended up happening though, was the day I showed up for the wedding, I found out a few hours before the ceremony that the photographer had canceled and I was the only one there to shoot the wedding.  GREAT.  Needless to say, it was the first wedding I’d EVER shot and I only got a couple of decent shots.  My family didn’t shun me for it, but I was never happy with the results.

Since then, I’ve shot two more weddings – both of whom are pretty good friends, and the outcome was vastly more favorable.  At least one of these friends I consider family, so a question I could pose to you, dear reader, is did I break my rule by shooting these weddings?  I’ve been asked to shoot other weddings since, and I’ve declined – one of which was my Mom’s wedding a few years ago – and stuck to my guns.

Now, fast-forward to today.  My little sister is getting married next year, and I’ve been asked – by both my mom AND my sister – to shoot her wedding.
So far I haven’t flat-out said ‘No’, but I don’t really want to chance screwing something up and ending up with a whole bunch of photos that may or may not be able to be saved.  As of now, Mom has been trying to guilt me into doing it, and has even said that I have really hurt my sister’s feelings.

So now I pose the main question (and whole point) of this blog post to you…

Do I cave-in and shoot my sister’s wedding?  Or do I stick to the ‘rule’ and decline?

It’s not really a matter of my skill that’s in question here, but everyone has an off-day…or equipment malfunctions, etc.  My gear is getting up there in age (it’s over 10yrs old now!), and while it takes pretty good shots still, if I were to shoot a wedding again, I’d want something a little newer and more capable in lower-light situations (such as a church, chapel, or wherever the ceremony will be held…it’s sure to be dimly-lit though).

I welcome feedback from everyone, but my target audience here is primarily other photographers or those in the ‘industry’.  Thanks for reading, and please weigh-in.

– J

Oh – to see the photos of said weddings, go to http://www.facebook.com/JKBPhoto/ and look under the ‘Albums’ page for ‘Ramirez Wedding’, ‘Barrett Wedding’, and ‘Alsbury Wedding’.

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  1. Megan Phillips said,

    August 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm


    I have always thought you had a great eye for a shot and a true talent with photography. That being said, family is complicated. I would say no. go as the brother to the bride, not the photographer…you will not be able to enjoy the wedding if you are working it….i’m sure you will make the right choice. Miss your face.

  2. Jody said,

    August 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I say, stop worrying about the potential negatives, if they ask you, and you WANT to, do so, with one caveat: have them understand that you are not a professional, and therefore ask that they understand that. Then go out and make it amazing.

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