by Terry Hewlett Published 01/04/2010
With this need comes an over-abundance of individuals with cameras, professing to provide the best wedding photography on the planet. After all, it seems easy enough since the days of film have virtually passed, certainly for wedding work, there is a comfort zone where 'chimping' (the 'art' of viewing the image on the back of the camera) has become the norm.
A wedding is filled with so many opportunities to take pictures. All the photographer has to do is pick up the camera and snap away. Not until the images have been developed or the digital images viewed do they realise the problems and pitfalls. Action pictures are not in focus, the top of the bride’s mother’s head is repeatedly cut off, the light is wrong, no one is smiling, not everybody is in the group shots or you have left out the 'must get' shot – believe me, it happens. Therefore, not all wedding photographers are created equal; there is a great divide between those at the top of their game and those who are just sticking their flash on the camera and hoping for the best
Not only should the photographs represent the wedding preparations, action at the ceremony and the reception, they should also evoke the myriad of moods and emotions expressed throughout the event. That is why the wedding photographer must have a skilled eye, one who knows how to capture those most memorable moments that will be shared and cherished for years to come.
Since the age of digital capture and tightening budgets I have noticed a sea change in the wedding photography market. More and more people are using friend's or family, and I am sure there are many out there who have been asked, volunteered, persuaded or even coerced into photographing a friend or family wedding, because the couple have seen how wonderful, moody and artistic your landscapes are, or love the great wildlife photographs you take.
Maybe the thought of photographing a complete wedding, of being their 'official' photographer, does not terrify you – well it should. Let's face it, what sane person would not be apprehensive? Surely when asked, the sensible thing to do would be to make a run for the nearest monastery, put on a robe and hide until the wedding is over?
Before I became a full-time professional wedding photographer, I was asked by a friend to do their wedding and they offered to pay me whatever I asked. I refused. I was asked a second time and refused again but offered advice about what they should pay, who they should approach and gave them general advice on checking the photographer's portfolio, including a complete wedding, not just their cherry-picked images. Some time later they came back and told me they had found a photographer and it was costing them £150. I advised them strongly against going down that route; it's not like they were short of cash either. The groom was a bit pig-headed, however, and went against my advice. After the wedding the photographer claimed that the 'film had gone wrong'…this was before the days of digital. They got no pictures and were naturally devastated.
Now that may seem a little extreme, but it happened. The photographer would more than likely have had no insurance, so the couple had no chance of any compensation and it ruined what was to have been their special day – all they had left were their memories which, after time, will no doubt fade.
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