“I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock n’ Roll” or “don’t stop me now” (there’s so much more to shoot)

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 ! 

Would you really want this in your wedding album ? (photographers name removed to avoid embarrassment)

4 thoughts on ““I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock n’ Roll” or “don’t stop me now” (there’s so much more to shoot)

  1. Now that’s am interesting and thankfully controversial post 🙂 I think there are many brides who DO want pictures of many of the little details, and my own Mrs was REALLY disappointed that some hand made intricate hair jewellery made by my sculptress sister in law were not photographed.

    The ‘seaside theme’ of our day (2005) meant that my wife had collected special pebbles from Anglesey beaches, we had sourced some amazing lighthouses for table decoration and my artist Dad had hand carved table names into some beautiful driftwood as place settings. She was gutted that the photographer had missed these things.

    As to the food, we had ‘imported’ hand made Cornish pasties from Cornwall to here on Anglesey specially for the day and also provided Cornish Cream teas using real Cornish cream for deserts – so actually even the food made for some great pictures, and VERY relevant to us as a couple.

    Thing is you see, togs just see weddings as a job, let’s be honest! They have no knowledge of the special meanings OR time and effort that some families go to to find trinkets or decorations meaningful to them. It’s not OUR right to decide what they need to remember.

    No whilst I agree that maybe some crappy togs do just spray shot from the hip simply cos they haven’t got a bloody clue, it’s not true to say that no one cares about hundreds of details, because some do. If that;s why the client booked the tog, then so be it, they are the customer.

    What I find most disturbing is the obsession of some wedding guys to ‘create art’ out of wedding shots – they become obsessed by the next SWPP Award winning snap and produce meaningless over posed nonsense, failing to capture any of the spirit of the event or honesty about the people. I find that far more awful and shallow than over shooting details. Once again though, if the bride likes that crap then so be it, more fool her !

  2. I think you’ve nailed it Glyn, but having said that I was a guest at a wedding recently where the tog shot with one lens throughout and no fill-in flash at any point. Frankly it’s the apparent lack of technique and expertise that bothers me. Relying on high ISO alone is no way to take pictures…

  3. In reference to wedding pics – it is the little details us girls worry about and to have a record is priceless – however many years in the planning it is one day in reality and it is lovely to have a record – would however warn against giving guests throwaway cameras – the kids take shots of the ceiling and as for the men well give them a camera and away they go!!!

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