Happy New Year from Doncasters wedding photographers
I thought I’d start the year with an idea I had whilst training another photographer during an engagement photo session recently.
Everyone’s a photographer nowadays
Nowadays everyone has a camera on their phone, always photographing everything. And everywhere you look there’s someone with a big professional looking camera, and we’ve all got apps that can turn your boring snaps into groovy photo’s, so do we really need to pay professional photographers any more?
Well, that is the question you’ll ask yourself as you’re planning your wedding.
Maybe you have a friend who’s got one of those big professional cameras. Or you’ve seen some photo’s on Facebook from someone starting out who’s really cheap, so why pay someone with years of experience? They seem to charge a lot of money for one days work*
There are loads of practical reasons you’ll hear from professional photographers; qualifications, insurance, backup gear , etc. …… But none of those things actually make their photo’s better than just a guy or a girl with a camera (GWC). So what separates a Photographer from a GWC?
It ought to be obvious, but often isn’t, it’s the quality of the photographs. You shouldn’t book a photographer just because they’re the cheapest or because they’re reassuringly expensive. You shouldn’t book them for their fancy gear list, their choice of frames, fancy photoshop effects or fab website music. What can they produce with a camera and how does it fit what you want – are the pictures great? Are they even ‘good enough’?
So how do we spot the professional photographer
Here’s a photograph from a recent pre wedding photo shoot, it’s perfectly OK , it’s not too dark or too light (correct exposure, in photographer language), the people look good and it’s in focus. In short; anyone with a good quality camera and the ability to use it could get this shot:
- Standard couple photograph
So what’s wrong with it?
Well; the sky’s too bright (a bit blown in photographer language) and it could be sharper – Most people wouldn’t have noticed, but it wasn’t delivered to the couple, because it doesn’t meet my quality standards. I’m showing it here because it was shot at the right time.
What would a Professional Photographer do?
Lens flare and image contrast
You might have noticed the sun was beginning to colour the bottom left corner of the sky, but there’s no clue as to what could have been achieved by a photographer. So what happens if we point the camera into the setting sun? (hover your mouse over the photo to find out)
Not exactly the same pose, but they’re minutes apart. This is lots better, it’s the trendy ‘vintage’ look that’s produced by the light shining directly into the lens. An experienced photographer knows this would happen and can use it to their advantage. If your GWC ever produces shots like this, they’re done by accident, because the results are unpredictable for the novice and often the flare will spoil the subject.
Lens flare adding some detail back
So what if we want to add vibrance to the picture to balance the flare from the sun? Whilst that image is an improvement, some of the detail gets lost. We can add a little flash to the photo to help (again – you can hover your mouse over the photo):
You can see the rings of lens flare that can easily land in the wrong place and spoil an image.
Now the sky is beginning to look dramatic, but we didn’t make the most of it.
Romantic Sunset as a backdrop
What if we want to use the setting sun and the gorgeous sky to create a beautiful backdrop, well the sunset’s really bright compared to the couple, so again we need to balance the light using flash (again – you can hover your mouse over the photo):
We use some high tech** tricks for this shot but a lesser version could be produced with a flash on the camera.
Turn out the lights
What else could we achieve here? What happens if we switch off the flash?
With a slight change of camera position we can create a very dramatic silhouette.
So that’s it then..
Five uniquely different photographs, with the couple in almost the same position taken with the same gear. Just so you know why these are not identical; they were taken as part of a pre wedding photoshoot, not set up for this post.
That’s how you choose your wedding Photographer
When a photographer is trying to impress you with his membership badges, qualifications or years of experience, or just by being cheap and ‘passionate’, take a step back and look at the quality of their photography:
Are they producing wedding photographs that you’d be happy to live with for the rest of your life?
Is the quality of their photography what your special day deserves?
The boring stuff…..
*Not really relevant to this discussion, but to produce a good set of wedding photo’s will usually take 3 to 5 days work including your wedding day depending on the choice of photographer.
** The flash in this shot is controlled with the use of radio triggers (costing more than many starter ‘proper cameras’). We also use a shoot through umbrella to control the intensity of the shadows.