Do wedding photographers deserve the bad rep?

Snobbery exists in every profession, so why should photography be any different?

As this thought-provoking post “Where Do You Rank with Photography Snobs” by Paul Melcher and its accompanying comments shows, passion and validation are inseparable. Can’t have one without the other.

I know lots of folks who shoot weddings. Some do it occasionally on weekends for extra income, while others do one or even 2 every weekend and it’s their career of choice.

Not all of them do a bang-up job.

Even stranger still, those who do a really good job in my mind don’t always get the gigs.

Wedding photography is a perceived value.

Those who have taken the time to learn these skills through hard work and apprenticeships know what I mean when we hear the term hacks.

And I wouldn’t dare suggest that “price” has anything to do with quality.

Brides who are the ones with the final say, aren’t always the best judge of what is good or competent photography.

Mind you, I’m not talking about anything super creative or high caliber.

I’m trying very hard not to use the word “high end,” can you tell?

I am just referring to basics like pictures being in focus where and when they ought to be, good exposures where highlight and shadow details are good.

Why is that?

  1. Anyone can build a website, grab some wedding pictures register a domain name–voilà they’re in business.
  2. Pictures on most websites don’t have enough resolution to show the true skill of a photographer
  3. Photoshop can mask bad camera handling skills and inferior equipment
  4. Ever since DSLRs have become so affordable, it’s become tough to tell the real “pros” from the hacks.

If you or anyone you know is looking to hire a wedding photographer, see if my tips hiring a wedding photographer make sense.

I approach it as if I were doing the hiring for my daughter’s wedding. Gulp…

Great for daytime tv ratings

I plead ignorance to how these court shows on tv work, but I assume both parties have to agree before taping that whatever is decided is binding legally.

If I were in the photographer’s shoes, would I appear?

Knock on wood, I’ll never have to make that decision. All I can say is, if you do this for a living in the litigious society of ours today, your number might come up.

It’s all a matter of odds.

And while I’m in those hypothetical stilettos, I would never use a Canon Digital Rebel XTi with a 18-55mm kit lens & 70-300mm to do a wedding especially one where I’m being paid.

What self-respecting photographer will admit to not knowing what the widest aperture is on their lens?(Mentioned at time code 3:36)

Strange beast

The wedding photographer is a strange beast/creature and I’ve been known to occasionally become one.

Part charmer or schmoozer and part artist would be my description.

I can tell you the number of times brides and grooms have told me how great a job I did at the end of the evening before they even saw a single image I made.

You and I know they were complimenting the schmoozer in me.

Will they still feel the same a week later when I show up to deliver the pictures?
Now, that would be the true test, wouldn’t it?

For those who can’t bear to watch photo gear get trashed, don’t watch this next video.

I could barely make it through the video once, but I have a soft spot for gear.

4 thoughts on “Do wedding photographers deserve the bad rep?”

  1. Hi Hector,
    The semester has begun unfortunately. Of course I remember you.
    It’s living for many honest people but like most things, brides need to educate themselves about what to look for.

    I can’t get over how the gear was totally and completely ruined. Stay in touch. Thanks for leaving a comment, Hector.

  2. Dear Mr Phun,

    I had the pleasure of being one of your students some time ago,,I couldnt finish your class,,I think you remember me.

    Anyhow,,,the piece of video,,,wow!!!! some adults behave like kids in the school playground.

    I know wedding photographers get the “bum wrap” because some of them (photographers) take advantage of customers on that particular special day,,I have shot weddings in the past,,not particular to make the most money,,but to make extra and do a good job,,they (customer) would tell somebody of how good of a job you done and recomend you to another potential customer. Its a business as everything else, but lets always keep in mind, the bride has the final saying and the groom will be the one who agrees with her (bride).

    Mr Phun,,,do not feel guilty of showing that video,,some of your students should be aware: anything could happen on assigment.

    Look forward in enrolling in your class the beginning of your next semester,,is it too late to enroll in this semester? just asking, take care.

    Hector Perez

  3. Paul,
    Thanks for stopping by again.

    I hope the altercation was just something personal and not a case of “we were here first, you guys will have to wait till we’re done”

    Not knowing the back story and background, I feel a tinge of guilt for embedding the video. Making my stomach queasy just thinking of the gear being smashed to bits and pieces.

  4. Hey Pete,

    Nice post. And good information.

    The second video sorta made me laugh.

    Where did that dude come from? Reminds me of second grade when two of my friends fought over the marbles game we were playing at the time.

    Those brides will have a memorable wedding shoot. They may not have photos, but, they’ll have memories from that “special” day.

    Thanks Pete

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