I came across another great wedding photography article from the excellent Your Perfect Wedding Photographer website, detailing the many misconceptions out there about wedding photography in general and more specifically, about photographers that shoot weddings. I've compiled a summary of the most interesting points here.
Granted, the job of a wedding photographer is indeed to take photographs but that is far from the only thing that is involved in this job.
Wedding photographers need the technical knowledge that comes with being able to photograph people well and they have to be skilled enough to be able to do it in all different kinds of settings that they cannot control - during the hustle and bustle of a wedding day.
In reality, a good wedding photographer must be a mixed bag of many things. They have to be a skilled professional photographer, yet they have to be flexible and personable enough to get the best results from something that is constantly changing. Then comes the countless hours of digital post-processing and the design of wedding albums ensuring they tell a coherent story and capture the emotion of the day.
Being there taking photos on a wedding day is just a very small part of what a wedding photographer does - there is a whole host of tasks that are carried out once back at the office before you get your photos.
Hundreds, if not thousands of photos are taken, the photographer needs to go through these removing the ‘not so good’ shots (eyes closed, test shots, the shots that don’t look great, etc), then there is the actual post-processing, making sure each of your photos look great, colour-corrected and finished to a high professional standard. Photographers can spend many many hours editing your photos.
Professional wedding photographers work full time, long hours, days away depending on the wedding location, shooting at a weekend and maybe in the week. When not at a wedding shooting they are editing photos, ensuring their kit is ready for the next wedding, admin such as emailing clients, following up enquiries, marketing and advertising such as posting work on social media, updating their website and sharing weddings on their site; as well as spending time meeting prospective new couples and meeting booked couples to discuss photography requirements before their wedding day.
Being a wedding photographer is hard work and certainly isn’t just a 9-5 with long hours that can vary.
A good professional wedding photographer will not be free of charge; however, it also doesn’t need to cost you the earth - if you are seriously concerned about your budget, you can still hire a high quality wedding photographer. Find and shortlist photographers with a style that you like and ask for a quote. Prices may vary but the one you love most may not be the most expensive.
When it comes to a wedding, it all costs money, but when allocating your budget, decide what is important to you. Remember the cake gets eaten, and the flowers will wither and die, but your photos will last forever and is the one thing that you will have at the end of your wedding.
Couples think they can save money by having a family member or friend photograph their wedding, that has an interest in photography and "a big camera". Equipment is just a tool, it is not the key to great photos.
It's as if wedding photography is so easy, anybody can do it. This is definitely one of the biggest misconceptions out there and one of the most common reasons couples give when deciding they don't need me for their wedding after making an initial enquiry.
Are you really prepared to leave something so important in the hands of a novice and then hope for the best? If you are not completely comfortable with the possibility that your wedding photos will be out of focus, off topic or even nonexistent, then you might want to rethink the whole idea about letting just anyone take your wedding day photos.
It is easy to take a photo, yes, but its not so easy to capture hundreds of stunning photos from real time moments that tell a beautiful story of your wedding day. The key is consistency and experience.
A lot of people think that those who take professional photos of landscapes or studio or fashion photographers will be able to take high quality wedding photos. Unfortunately, this is just not true. A person may be a great photographer, but that doesn’t mean they have the skill or the experience to photograph a wedding properly.
This is a unique environment that requires a specific set of skills not every professional photographer possesses. With a wedding you can’t ask the bride and groom to walk down the aisle again, or redo the confetti. It is a live event, it is the bride and groom's day, they are not models. Wedding photographers have one chance, they have to be in the right place at the right time, anticipate the moments. Aside from that, there comes the people skills in order to make the couple and guests comfortable and looking their best.
I've personally been a guest at weddings where the couple have hired award winning press photographers or journalist photographers and the feedback and result afterwards was less than favourable.
Photography is a creative art, the skill is in the craft that has developed for many years; the camera is just the tool to capture the moment. You can learn to use the camera and set it up, but to get a good photo you need to know where to point it, what makes a good photo, thinking about light and composition.
Your friend can have an expensive camera, that doesn’t mean they will produce great photos you truly love.
You don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money in order to get pictures that are truly breathtaking. You do, however, have to make sure that you only hire someone who has the skill to get the job done. The more you pay does not mean the better they are, and just because they are cheaper does not always mean they are not so good.
When looking for a wedding photographer you want someone with experience, you want a high consistency of photos that capture the day, you want someone you get on with, and you want someone you trust.
If you want a documentary style to your photos then expect those candid shot and beautiful natural moments to be captured, that is what this style is all about, real natural moments, naturally captured. Wedding photographers can use their experience to help with how you stand, using the natural light to their advantage so that you get natural shots and so their is no need for ‘photoshopping’.
Remember, wedding photographers are photographers, there to capture real moments. Using their experience they will reduce the need for any such editing to the image itself. Photoshop is a great tool and can be used to change an image but that isn’t really what wedding photography is about.
You can read the full article here.