by David Simm Published 01/05/2001
For instance a Filipino wedding has six sponsors, six secondary sponsors,as many as nine bridesmaids and nine groom's men, parents and grandparents plus the couple and tradition has the photographer take pictures of each of them during the processional, only a film camera, with a good powerful flash battery could handle all that in the few seconds it takes for the processional.
Another good example is the traditional Jewish Hora, a magnificent and spirited folk dance, during which the Bride and Groom are thrust into the air on chairs, between the speed that they are moving and turning and the short duration that they are kept up in the air, it is important that the photographer gets as many shots as he can.
In this example, digital is analogous to the old days when I used to shoot Rugby on P400 glass plates with a 5" x 4" Micropress, I had to time my shots so well, because I knew I was only going to get one image of any single incident. The world no longer knows of plate cameras, we have evolved into the motor drive mutants, we can't go back to accepting one shot, however good it is.
Really, what needs to happen, is a total rethink of the way we cover the wedding. People in this country don't look for brilliant compositions any more, the great wedding portraitists are in danger of becoming dinosaurs.
Many of the wedding clients I work for, hire me for ten hours of coverage, more than seventy per cent of the images are on the fly candids..... snap shots for want of a better word.... but that is what the market demands and if you want to stay in business... better be able to deliver.
Introducing digital, has helped me develop an assortment of creative and saleable image styles, that can be repeated at the click of the mouse, for any client on any shot very cost effectively without any outlay to the lab for specialty work. Yet I can send my files to the lab for output onto Fuji Crystal archive photographic paper, just like any other photograph.
In conclusion I would say one thing to you, there are probably many photographers doing great things with high end digital imaging equipment, this is all very well for the pre press markets, advertising and commercial and so on. The wedding market will never have the budget to match the clients of Sachi and Sachi. The Bride and Groom will always have a limited budget, but you can get them to sidetrack some of the money they would spend on flowers or the booze, right into your pockets, if you keep it simple, repeatable and profitable.
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