Last week I was viewing the online album for a wedding some friends had recently attended in Sussex. A nice professional website from a (very expensive) London -based photographer set the tone, but I winced when I reached the gallery and found a staggering 511 pictures to look through ! Why do today’s wedding photographers feel the need to overshoot to such a ridiculous extent ? Every minute of the day had been captured, but what was lacking were any single, definitive shots that said “our special day”. There was no attempt to inject any feeling of magic or romance into the pictures, just page after page of unedited images. Regrettably the ease of digital photography has bought about a lazy, lacklustre way of shooting. Why make an effort when you can machine-gun your way through the day completely foregoing some of the basics of composition and decent lighting ?
With my own 30th wedding anniversary just weeks away, I looked back at my own album of wedding photos to see the story being told beautifully in just 30 pictures. My bride looked dreamy and stunning, and the groups were well-ordered and smart. There are no close-ups of canapes, shoes or pretentious table decorations, just a perfectly-crafted and memorable record of the most important day of our lives.
Whilst I appreciate that it is fun to have all those extra candid moments captured, I think the true essence of the day risks being lost in the sheer volume of images on offer. Can any professional photographer honestly claim that they can produce 500 good photographs (that’s one a minute) in eight hours ? Of course not – its impossible – which means that a lot of the images being offered become no more than padding. I think a return to “less is more” would give wedding photographers some credibility again. There are some practitioners (and friends of mine) out there who still take their time and produce really great, lasting work, but they are sadly few and far between.
So if you’re looking for a wedding photographer (other than my mates Andy, Mark or Michel !) in the near future let me offer this tip. If there are any pictures of vol-au-vents in their portfolio make your polite excuses… and leave !