wedding pictures

Should you entrust your wedding photos to your brother-in-law?

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

You’ve just announced your engagement, and your brother-in-law (the photography enthusiast in your family) offers you a great deal: he’ll photograph your wedding for free as his gift to you!

Should You Take Him Up On His Offer?

This is definitely not a decision to be taken lightly. Your wedding photos are one of the few things you continue to enjoy long after the day itself is over. They capture moments you never knew were happening and let you relive the amazing day years into the future.

At the same time, they can take up a significant portion of your budget and it’s enticing when someone close to you offers such a great gift!

Here are some of the things to consider if a friend or family member offers to photograph your wedding.

Do you want your wedding photographer to be in your photos?

Do You Want This Person To Be In Your Wedding Photos?

Candid Photos

If your brother is spending his time behind the camera, it means he will never be in front of it. Any moment he may shed a tear, laugh uproariously, or party on the dance floor won’t be captured.

Family Photos

Is this someone you want in family photos? It’s still possible for him to be included thanks to tripods and self-timers, but this will take extra time to set up. Make sure your photography schedule has some padding for this.
Can you be intimate in front of your brother-in-law?

Can You And Your Partner Be Intimate In Front Of Someone You Know Well?

I’ve photographed over 200 weddings and at nearly every one, the most intimate photos happen once I send all friends and family away so it’s just me and the couple. There’s something that makes people a little more guarded when familiar eyes are watching. In these moments I make myself invisible. This has come with years of experience.

However, some couples would still rather show these emotions to someone who has known them for a long time! Your comfort with who is watching is very personal to you and your partner.

Is your brother a professional photographer?

Is Your Brother A Professional Photographer?

I hate to add gloom and doom, but weddings are big events where things can (and do) go wrong. Professional photographers provide an extra level of reassurance to your wedding day.


Their professional insurance covers if guests get injured by photography equipment or if the photos are somehow destroyed.

Proof of professional insurance is a requirement at many wedding venues and can give you access to backup indoor locations in the event of bad weather.


Professionals come equipped with backup gear in case any equipment fails the day of the wedding.

They have connections in the industry and can send someone in their place if they get sick.

Any good professional will have a system to backup your wedding photos to multiple locations so you never have to worry about images getting lost.


A professional contract outlines exactly what you are getting and when you are getting it so you don’t have to worry about surprises after your wedding day.

(If your friend or family member is a professional photographer, it’s still a great idea to exchange some form of payment and complete a contract to make the arrangement more formal.)

If your brother is only a hobbyist, it may be your responsibility to arrange a backup plan if any worst case scenarios were to happen.

Does your photographer have experience shooting people?

What Kind Of Photographer Is Your Brother?

Professional or not, what does your brother-in-law photograph? Does he have experience with people or does he only shoot landscapes?

The Challenge of Weddings

Weddings require shooting in tough lighting and space conditions, changing camera settings at the drop of a hat, and knowing how to watch for emotional candid moments in people but also take full control and pose in flattering ways.

I know some amazing family photographers who won’t come near weddings because of the pace and pressure involved!

Setting Expectations

If he’s lacking in wedding experience, be prepared that the photo of your first kiss in the dark church probably won’t look as amazing as that small bird your brother-in-law photographed in his yard last week.

Will photo mishaps ruin your relationships?

If Anything Goes Wrong, Will It Hurt Your Relationship?

Does your brother-in-law have a day job that interferes with how quickly he can get your photos back to you?

What if you aren’t happy with the quality of the photos?

What if something worse happens like the wedding photos get deleted and can’t be recovered?

(Plus if your brother-in-law is only a hobbyist, there are the additional risks mentioned above: his only lens breaking, a rainy day with no indoor options, etc.)

This is the most important consideration when hiring a friend or family member to photograph your wedding. Can you put disagreements aside, no matter how severe, and maintain your relationship with this person?

Hiring someone outside of your friends and family gives you access to a more neutral third party. In the unfortunate event, you have any disappointments, you never have to work with that person again. Your brother-in-law is someone you still need to interact with at family events.

Can you afford anyone else?

Can You Afford Anyone Else?

Are you struggling to come up with the funds to hire a professional photographer? As important as wedding photography is, it’s not worth going into debt over. Asking someone who you personally trust is a great way to relieve that burden, plus you get to spend more of your day with someone special to you.

Recreating the Day

If your budget changes in the future, you can plan a vow renewal celebration and update your wedding photos with a professional photographer then!

Split the Task with a Professional

Some wedding photographers provide partial day coverage, allowing you to keep your brother involved as bookends to the day while guaranteeing you receive professional coverage of the more important moments.

Looking to finance your honeymoon and other costs such as wedding photography? Set up a Honeyfund honeymoon register.

Photo credit: All photos by Tanya Plonka

BIO: Photography by Tanya Plonka. After over 200 weddings, Tanya brings a fresh passion to each new event. She understands that many people feel uncomfortable having their photo taken so she prides herself on working quickly and making the wedding day as fun as possible. Even clients who hate having their photo taken say how much fun they had!

Tanya works with a natural style that is timeless, colorful, and happy. With professional experience going back to 2006, Tanya has photographed everything from wedding magazine spreads to official photos for the City of Lethbridge, and even a few zombies.




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This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

If you’re planning a wedding, or even if you know anybody who’s ever gotten married, then I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about how the wedding day flies by so quickly that you hardly even realize it happened. And you know what? It’s so true! The adrenaline and the nonstop nature of wedding days combine to create a blur of activity for most couples.

After putting so much time and love into planning your wedding day, of course you want to remember every last minute of it. So how do you avoid falling victim to the Wedding Day Memory Blur? We tell our couples to take mental snapshots throughout the day, and we also like to work with them to create memorable moments they and their guests won’t easily forget.

Creating Memorable Wedding Day Moments

You might want plan a beautiful wedding trip at a gorgeous honeymoon destination that you remember with lots of pictures, but here are ten of our favorite ideas for creating memorable wedding day moments:

Wedding party photo booth

Have a photobooth

Photobooths at weddings add so much: They give guests something fun to do besides dance and chat, they create wedding favors people actually love, and they capture awesome pics of your guests for you to enjoy later. Much better than table pictures! Plus, photobooths aren’t that expensive, so you can probably afford to add one to your plans.

Make the day your own

There’s only one couple exactly like you, so why have a wedding exactly like everybody else’s? Sit down and think about your love story: Where did you meet? What do you enjoy doing together? What made you fall in love? Then find ways to incorporate those details into your wedding day. You don’t have to go full-on theme wedding; it might be as simple as an ice cream bar featuring the flavors you shared on your first date. Whatever it is, share the significance with your guests and you’ll have an unforgettable Awwwww¦ moment going on.

Guests playing guests

Play with your guests

If your reception venue offers outdoor lawn space, then set up some games and a serve-yourself lemonade bar! You and your guests will have a great time playing croquet, badminton, or whatever else you can think up. And how often do you have the opportunity to get photos of you and your friends dressed to the nines for a sophisticated game of lawn bowling? It’ll be the wedding moment of the season.

Cut a rug

Whether you’re already dancers or not, your guests will be delighted by watching you and your new spouse having a Ginger and Fred moment for your first dance, and wow! What a great photo op! You can have a dance choreographed or just take some lessons in swing dancing or another social dance. Bonus: Pre-wedding dance lessons mean built-in date nights!

Bride & Vintage Mustang

Surprise your spouse

Is there something your sweetheart really loves but would never expect at your wedding? Maybe serenading her with her favorite song, or renting his dream car for your getaway? Make it happen! Your wedding will be one of the most romantic occasions ever for the two of you, so what better time to go all out? Your new spouse will literally never stop bragging about your thoughtfulness, and neither will your guests.

Go out with a sparkle

End the night with a brilliant sparkler sendoff. Guests love it because they get to play such a fun part (who doesn’t love sparklers?); you’ll love saying your goodbyes in such a festive way. And sparkler exit photos are always gorgeous and romantic! It’ll be a bright moment in more ways than one.

Have your guests sing you down the aisle

This is a new one we’ve only seen a couple of times, but I love it: Instead of having musicians perform your processional or recessional, have your guests sing you down the aisle! Choose a favorite hymn or song and have it printed in your program, then give one or two people the responsibility of getting the singing going. You’ll be surrounded and lifted up by the voices of those you love. Does imagining that moment give you chills? Me too!

Group shot

Get a group shot

Plan to get a group photo of you with your wedding party and all of your guests sometime during the wedding day. The easiest time to do this is right after your ceremony, before guests start drifting off to the cocktail hour. You might never have all of these people together in one place with you again, so get a picture and save the moment! It’ll be one of your favorite wedding photos for years to come.

Take some time for you

At some point in your wedding day, schedule a few minutes to spend together with no interruptions. If you’re doing a first look, maybe you can carve out a few minutes after the photographer’s done with your couple’s portraits. Another great option is planning to head to a quiet spot together right after the ceremony. However you do it, it’ll give you a chance to reflect together on this amazing day before it’s all over.

3 Flower Girls

Hire the best photographer you can afford

Ideally you’d remember every last detail of your wedding day, but the reality is that you simply won’t. In fact, there’ll be moments you don’t even experience, because you’re only able to be in one place at a time. That’s why it’s super important to find the best photographer your budget will accommodate. The images you get back will help you remember all the little things you remember but might forget years down the road, and they’ll also introduce you to sweet moments you didn’t even know were happening. The day you get your pictures back is like living your wedding day all over again! Good photography is an expense we’ve never heard a couple regret after the wedding’s over.

Picture collage

Keep the memories going with a honeymoon made possible with a honeymoon registry!

Bio: Pretty Entertaining is a wedding and event planning company based just outside of Washington, D.C., where the suburbs turn into horse country. Known for our weddings, but we also design and coordinate social events of all kinds. Most of our wedding and event planning happens locally in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, but we do occasionally travel to other locations on request. 

Planning a really big celebration is something most people don’t do everyday, and that’s where a professional event planner comes in. We know all the parts, how they move, and how they should fit together. We know lots of area vendors and, after we get to know you, we’ll be able to match you up with just the right ones for you and your event. We do our best to keep you on-track and relaxed, and on the big day, we’re with you every step of the way.

You know that picture you have in your head of the event you want? We’re here to make your vision a reality, and we strive to make it even better than you imagined. For ideas, visit us at 

Cover photo credits: Copyright Aspinwall Photographics

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