The advent of cheap, high quality digital SLR’s has dramatically changed the world of photography, perhaps no more than in the wedding photography business. Whilst there are many talented newcomers to this industry, there are many who believe that they can jump straight in and do a job that is actually among one of the most skilled and stressful in the business. This video from the popular US show Judge Joe Brown highlights some of the many pitfalls of wedding photography and shows the not inconsiderable knowledge of the Judge himself about the art and techniques of wedding photography. Apologies for the typical daytime TV scuffles and antics :)
The backstory is all too common, the bride and groom hire a photographer who offers excellent prices yet when they receive the final product are extremely disappointed. So lets go through the key points of the case and highlight some of the classic errors the photographer made, many of which, have been impressively noted by the judge.
- Getting the images printed at a low cost supermarket instead of a professional lab, and admitting this to the client.
- The photographer used a budget DSLR with a slow kit lenses. Whilst fine for outside shots it allows very limited flexibility in low light conditions.
- The photographer does not know the speed of her lenses, indicating a very limited technical knowledge.
- It appears that the photographer had no knowledge of the venue and had not done a recce. It was a surprise to her on the day that A. she was not allowed to use flash and B. the venue was so dark. The photographer had obviously had no communication with the venue management to establish whether professionals could use flash.
- The Judge is quick to notice that even the outside images are not sharp and would not stand decent enlargement. This can almost certainly be attributed to using a kit lens.
- The photographer avoids answering a question about what aperture she used on various shots suggesting she did not know. The Judge further asks where her 28-70 lens is, meaning a fast standard zoom, a prerequisite for professional wedding photography.
- Photographers should be aware that the average person in the street does not know a Nikon D3 from a D50. To most, they both look professional but will give very different results.
- The Judge asks why the photographer is not using a 1 series Canon and suggests that by using a base model Canon the photographer is not acting in a professional manner.
Wedding photography is one of the most difficult yet rewarding areas of the business. If you are planning to work in this field some of the following steps would be useful.
- Manage your client’s expectations! Make it clear what they will receive.
- Have the right equipment to cover all eventualities of the shoot.
- Have the right knowledge to deal with unforeseen issues.
- Research both your venue and your client and be aware of any potential issues before they occur, such as poor lighting in the venue.
- If you want to be professional, have a professional image from the start of the job to the finish. Have a good attitude, and whether you are supplying final images or proofs make sure that the postproduction is of the highest quality possible.
In the Judge’s summery he berates the photographer for using sub standard equipment and poor unprofessional technique. As a published photographer, he is obviously very knowledgeable in photography, perhaps even more so than the defendant. He awards the bride, significantly more than her original request, probably more due to the defendant’s attitude than the quality of the work.
For Further Training on Wedding Photography:
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