There are so many different opinions on wedding photography and what it should and should not be. I thought I would share my two cents on some myths about my industry. However as you read this, keep in mind this is the wedding world according to Amanda, meaning this is what I have learned through my experiences. Every photographer is different so their practices and ideals may be different than mine.
1. Your photographer will give you all the pictures they take the day of your wedding. No, no, and again no. I know we have the word Professional in front of our job title, and that makes everyone think that we are perfect. However we are only human and so are our subjects, meaning we’ll do our best but things happen. Here are some examples on why you may not want all the images that we take. What if I photograph the bride and she is half blinking in the photo? Or the groom sneezes because he has allergies to the pollen in the air? Or the lighting changes because of a cloud so now some of the images is overexposed? Or while I am taking reception photos someone walks in front of my camera? See my point? We do our best to control the people and environment of a wedding as best we can, but there is too much going on for us to have complete control all the time.
When you look at your wedding photos you don’t want to see a bunch of junk photos. They don’t help you remember the highlights of your day and they make us look like amateurs. What are you really going to do with that photo of your cousin’s out of focus overexposed face, that I photographed because I was so focused on you dancing that I didn’t see him walking in front of my camera? Frame it? Put it in an album? No, you’re not. That is why it is completely unreasonable to expect your photographer to give you all the photos they take. That being said a photographer should always do their best to give you as many images as possible if they are providing you with digital copies. It’s not like we want to keep them all to ourselves. We want you to have them, but just the good ones.
2. There is no difference between a professional and someone who has a nice DSLR camera. *Internal screaming* I did not go to school for photography for 3 years and then do 2 years of internships to hear this sentence as often as I do. I will use my professional career as an example of why this is not true. My first wedding was photographed back around 2007. I charged $100.00 and used my new Nikon D40 DSLR. So I was that “someone who has a nice camera,” but wasn’t really a professional. I remember looking at my camera a lot trying to figure out how to get the best lighting, as I did not have a flash and had no idea how to use my fathers. I remember giving up and using the automatic settings, which resulted in a few underexposed and overexposed images. I remember taking quite a bit of time trying to come up with good poses, and that I really didn’t understand how to direct my couples. Also the expressions looked forced, because it took me so long to get things set up. I can say that I did get the happy couple photos they loved, but looking back on them now I cannot believe how far I have come. Now 11 years later I have learned all those skills that I was sorely lacking when I first started taking wedding photos. Below you can see my progress. The left image is from my first wedding, and the one of the right is from the beginning of this month. Clearly there is a difference in quality. This is why you hire a professional. Through experience they know what they are doing and how to deliver you a product that you can be proud to hang on your wall. 3. We don’t need to leave that much time for photos. When I sit down with a bride and groom to review their wedding schedule, too often the conversation goes like this: “Ceremony finishes as 1pm, then family photos at 1:05pm followed by some photos with the wedding party at 1:15pm. Then we are off to our formal wedding photo location and we should get there by 1:30pm, then we will do formals until 2:00pm, then be back in time for cocktails at 2:30pm. Sounds good right?” Well no, actually it doesn’t. This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Let me break it down for you. Ceremony finishes. However as soon as you are out the doors of the chapel is not when the photos start. Your family is going to want to congratulate you and shower you in kisses and hugs right afterwards. Depending on the size of your guest list this can take 15-30 minutes. Then we gotta wrangle them for the family photos. I often describe this as herding kittens. There are parents with their own agenda of how family photos should be done, and who they want photos with. There are family members wrangling their kids. There’s getting everyone into one large group shot and getting everyone to look at the camera at the same time (which is sometimes like pulling teeth when it’s over 5ish people.) This really slows down that 15 minute window you scheduled for family photos. If you are trying to be speedy with your family photos I’d say schedule at least 30 minutes minimum. If you are doing some quick shots of your bridal party at the ceremony location as well as where the formal photos are being done, then maybe you can do this in the 15 minute window I mentioned at the ceremony location. However if this is your only location for those shots, you better budget closer to 30 minutes as well. Your friends are awesome, but when the camera comes out they will get silly, crack jokes, make you all laugh and have a good time, which is great! However it does make it harder for the photographer to keep everyone’s attention and keep you on schedule. Now it’s time to go to the next location for your formal photos. Here’s what I recommend; don’t just arbitrarily pick a number for how long you think it’ll take to get there. Go to google maps, map out the route and see how much time it recommends you take. Then account for how many vehicles will be traveling to that location. Assuming everyone leaves around the same time you should add another 5-10 minutes for traffic and potential construction. Lastly consider adding a few minutes, because things happen. For example I have had multiple weddings where parts of the wedding party run off for food, or slurpees, or gas before heading to the wedding photo location, which has set us back as far as 20 minute before. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Formals I can’t really give you a set time, as it depends on your photographer and what kind of photos you have planned. For me I try and do about 30 minutes with the wedding party, then I send them away and it’s just me and the couple for their remaining photographs. I recommend an hour with just the three of us. I prefer doing 1.5-2 hour formal sessions just so that we have more time to play and come up with creative poses, which in turn gives you more images. It also allows me to not rush things, which helps me get better expressions, and doesn’t tire out my bride and groom on hot summer days. But again, discuss this with your photographer. In summary when scheduling photos remember that people drag their feet at weddings and that you need to account for this. Your guests don’t care about your wedding schedule, and will do things at their own pace.
4. You should check the equipment your photographer uses. No, you don’t need to do that. Did you look at your photographers website before you hired them? Did you check out their social media? Did you look at their portfolio of work and see something that you liked? Then what does it matter what equipment they are using. Whatever they are using you clearly liked the look of their work enough to consider them as your photographer. So why does it matter what they are using, as long as the quality is there. If I receive an email inquiry that asks me what I photograph with, I usually will not respond. It tells me you think that the equipment makes the photographer and I would rather not work with someone that thinks that way. It’s also kind of rude. Imagine going to a school and asking a teacher if they use a chalkboard, or a smartboard (which is a digital chalkboard.) When they tell you they use a traditional chalkboard you tell them you only want your kids to be learning from a teacher who uses modern technology to teach, because your don’t think your kid will get a proper education without it. Your focusing too much on what the teacher is writing on, rather than the information that she is teaching. It’s the exact same. You are showing you have no faith in the photographer, just the equipment they use, and that’s not right.
5. I don’t need to meet with my photographer. That is technically completely up to you, but I would at least recommend you do. Why? Well for one reason, sometime you and your photographer will not get along. That’s doesn’t mean their work is bad. It just means you may not be compatible as people to work together, and that’s not really something you want to worry about on your wedding day. Think about it; you are going to be spending all day with this person. They will be photographing you at your most intimate and vulnerable moments. You don’t want a stranger doing that. You want someone you feel comfortable around and that you trust. Also what if you have some concerns, like being camera shy? Or you’re not okay with PDA? You don’t want your photographer to put you into situations that you’re not comfortable with. Talking about these issues in person will help you get a feel about how they would address these hiccups, as well as give you a better read on them as people. If they are insensitive to your concerns, maybe don’t pick that photographer. Pick a photographer who will work with you and set your mind at ease.
Do you have any wedding photographer myths you would like debunked? Shoot me a comment or a message and I’ll tell you what I think.