Wedding Photography: A Cautionary tale
Last week I had a Saturday off - unheard of in August in the good old days - and I went to a friends Birthday party in Prestwich. It was great to be out with my lovely wife at the weekend rather than waiting for the first dance to start in a green cast grim marquee in Cheshire. If ever I’m out at the weekend all I get is the same question, “ Not working?”. Then I’ll be introduced to someone I don’t know and once they find out I’m a wedding photographer they will invariably tell me they hated their own wedding photographs - funny how you never meet anyone who actually liked their pictures. At this party I met a recently married bride from London who told me a really interesting story which illustrates how even smart, clever couples can end up with some terrible wedding photos. Hopefully this will serve as a cautionary tale for brides to be...
The Photographer’s Wedding Photographer
I’d known Ben since college where we studied photography together from 2000-2003 in Kent. A talented photographer, he had been short-listed for numerous photo awards including the prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. Having both freelanced for a few years we had many mutual friends, many of whom were also photographers.
When he asked me to photograph HIS wedding I felt honoured but I also knew I was going to be in for an interesting day as I’d be covering a wedding with some of the world’s top photographers present as guests! No Pressure ;) I guess you know you’re good when another photographer asks you to be their wedding photographer!
Wedding photography looks great printed in an album
A wedding is obviously an auspicious occasion and everyone wants those moments to stay afresh forever. Capturing those wonderful moments is best done with a perfect photo album design. However, to get things right and thus impress your customers, you have to pay attention towards a lot of elements. Prominent among the said are detailed below.
Lowered Opacity: There are certain photos that easily grab the viewer’s attention. This can cause him to lose a visual direction and the gracefulness of other images gets almost unnoticed. Lowering opacity of such images helps in manipulating the viewer’s focus. Gradient Fades: These furnish a lax transition between photos.
Gradient Fades can also be used for hiding certain parts of the pictures. Darker images are made to fade into black background and lighter pictures are usually dwindled to white backgrounds. Images on one another: There are certain instances when smaller images are positioned on larger ones by album design companies. This can be helpful when there is only limited space. Sequence actions can also be conveyed via this inset effect.
Blocks and Bars: When images fail to fit to a particular page, bars can be used for filling the remaining space. Also they provide framing. Blocks work well when an image collection doesn’t complete a rectangular shape.
It's the end of the line for professional wedding photographers
So that’s it, after 20 years as a professional wedding photographer and having covered countless weddings across the North West and the UK, I’ve decided this will be my last summer shooting weddings. Bookings for next year are looking a bit thin to say the least and to tell you the truth the business has changed so much in the last 3 years that I just can’t be bothered anymore. The increasingly demanding clients, the exponential growth in the number of photographers competing for bookings and the subsequent rapid decrease in fees means it’s just not worth it to me anymore. I just don’t like weddings that much that I’m prepared bend over backwards to stay in the game. Maybe I’m just getting too old for it!
Twenty years ago, pre-digital and pre-internet, it was so different. I got my work mainly through reputation and a bit of advertising. I had a small high street shop in the local town and pretty much anyone who was getting married would pop in to have look at some albums. There were probably about 4 or 5 of us nearby with similar set ups and we all knew each other and if we were already booked we’d recommend each other. Wedding photography was the best kept secret in the industry. Not as glamorous and exciting as some other areas of photography - but we all earned a great living and had a nice lifestyle. Other photographers wouldn’t touch a wedding with a barge pole. It was either seen as too dull or too difficult. We had assistants in those days not ‘second shooters’, tripods, Hasselblads, film and light meters. Photographers spent their time taking photographs rather than blogging about how lovely weddings are!