As a Wakefield Wedding Photographer nothing upsets me more with so called ‘professional wedding photographers’ when they mislead the public or even worse potential brides and grooms and in this economic climate it seems to be happening more and more.
What I’m talking about is the use of portfolio or training images to try and sell the services of a new photographer or someone who has suddenly decided they are able to photograph weddings!
Let me clarify that a little further. We all need to start somewhere and if you’ve never shot a wedding before you need to be able to demonstrate you can compose, expose and pose before taking a risk on a bride and groom who are spending money and putting trust in you to shoot their wedding. It’s not the £500 that they are paying the photographer that they can potentially loose, that goes without saying but the £20000 plus they are spending on the entire day when they won’t get a decent record of the events.
In the last few months I’ve seen several websites that all display similar images using the same ‘bride’. Wow, you may think, she’s got married several times! Unfortunately, it’s more than likely that the photographer has been on a course to learn the basics of wedding photography and used these training day images to put on their website to be able to sell their services. Now before I get inundated with emails let me state that I do not have a problem with portfolio images being used on websites. There is no such thing as the perfect photograph, we can all learn from others with portfolio / training days being ideal for this and although I shoot over 35 weddings a year I still have a budget for training to keep my skills and ideas up to date.
What I have a problem with is photographers passing these images off as photographs from a real wedding. If a photographer states these are images that are not shot at a real wedding then I’d firstly say great for being honest and then ask to see some real wedding photographs. Don’t do this and you are potentially setting yourself up for big disappointment when you see your own wedding images. If they aren’t showing real wedding photographs you should be asking yourself WHY they aren’t showing real wedding photographs.
Photographing a model who can pose, with time to set up reflectors, lighting is all very well and good when you have time to do so but ask ANY professional wedding photographer and he / she will tell you during a wedding your time with the bride and groom is limited and unless you’ve got people to help set all this up you won’t get results close to what you see on some of these portfolio shots.
If someone who charges you £500 to shoot your wedding shows images that look too good to be true, well you can guess what I’m going to say! Yes, it probably is too good to be true. Good quality professional photographers who CAN shoot a wedding do charge a higher fee, after all, they have a living to make, up keep of equipment, insurance, advertising, premises, taxes etc.
On the other side of the coin, there are some extremely good photography trainers out there who will give a novice a good grounding and a seasoned pro new ideas. What they won’t do is provide the novice with experience on how to handle the unexpected. How to handle rain. How to pose a bride and groom who are vastly different sizes. Hopefully you get the picture!
Photographing weddings isn’t easy money like some would suggest and a number of professional wedding photographers I know have actually given up shooting weddings all together due to the stress involved. So, next time you see what look like amazing images, ASK the photographer where they were taken and ask to see some real images taken at a real wedding! Don’t gamble your wedding day and the only memories you will have of it on someone who can’t prove they can do they job you employed them to do.
I’m passionate about the wedding and photography industry and I like the majority of true professional photographers want to stop the standards in the industry slipping. Several times this year I’ve been approached by newly married couples who want me to try and ‘fix’ their wedding photographs and sadly there isn’t much you can do after the day itself. Unfortunately though, you won’t know until after your wedding if you have hired the right person or not but there are things you can do. See previous work, ask for testimonials, check they carry professional insurance. If you are in any doubt – walk away!
I pride myself in showing only images from real weddings on my galleries so if you like my style of shooting you know you can expect this level of quality at your wedding!