My wife and I married coming up 14 years ago now and we still love our wedding album – all 30 photographs. Yes, that’s all we had, a total of 30 photographs. Saying that we did get to choose from around 50 photographs in our proofing album. My, how times have changed and unless you want a really traditional album, 30 photographs just isn’t going to cut it anymore. So what is a photographer to do? Well, shoot more for a start. With the move away from film to digital photography and cheap memory cards, never has the ability to shoot so many frames been so accessible and easy. The only problem is, DSLR’s (digital single lens reflex) cameras have a shutter / mirror system that will, in time, wear out due to mechanical wear. The majority of wedding photographers do however use pro camera bodies which are designed to have a longer life than the consumer grade cameras you can get from your local electrical retailer. Even so we’ve always been a little careful about the number of frames we’ve shot – up until now.
Enter stage left – the mirrorless camera.
The wedding photographer is now free to shoot as much as they like and although many mirrorless cameras also have a mechanical shutter you don’t always need to use it. You can, if you wish, use an electronic shutter – so no wear at all on the camera. The only limit to what you shoot is your imagination, your battery life and the number of memory cards you have in your camera bag. The problem is now, are ‘we’ as photographers forgetting all that we’ve learnt in respect of looking for those moments and choosing what we shoot in favour of shooting anything and everything?
In a recent conversation with another wedding photographer they explained to me that on the last wedding they shot they took nearly 12,000 (yes you read correctly, twelve thousand) images. In a twelve hour wedding day that’s an average of around one every four seconds! Pretty phenomenal if you ask me. I wonder how many of these 12,000 made it into the final selection for the couple? I also wonder when the photographer was culling these images how long it took them!
Is shooting this many just a case of ‘spray and pray’ and ‘hope’ you get some useful images? Has it taken away some of the skill required of the wedding photographer and rather than ‘looking’ for the moments we can just keep our finger on the trigger and ‘hope’ we get something useful?
Is it making wedding photography far more accessible for those new in to the industry without the skills required to shoot a wedding properly? No, of course not, but I do think with this advancement in technology we are putting a little too much trust in our camera rather than in our hearts and minds to produce something really skilled and crafted. Shooting a wedding isn’t something you can do on automatic, it’s something you need care and attention and a huge amount of skill to ensure you’re getting everything you want for your client. Perhaps we are loosing this ability with the new technology that’s now available? In the last couple of years vinyl has made a comeback, perhaps there’s hope that we’ll also regain our love for caring about our photography and the real craft involved in shooting a wedding?
A little disclaimer, I mean no disrespect to any photographer, or they way they shoot. We all have our own ways of working and what works for one, may not for another.