An increasing number of people seem to ask friends or family to do their wedding photos for them. Digital photography makes this a much less risky business as you can quickly check how well a photograph has come out and if you need to have another go. There are lots of books giving advice on taking photographs for a wedding and what people usually expect (bride and groom signing the register, bride and groom with family, bride with bridesmaids etc). The recent trend for reportage photography means that casual and natural shots are more in fashion than more formal groupings anyway.
Our wedding photos were fairly awful; people’s heads were cut off, there were many wonky angles (not in an artistic way I might add) and they were generally, well, bad. The photographer was recommended by the venue and she showed us album after album of photographs she had taken which all seemed fine. Looking back though, there only seemed to be a few photos from each wedding she had done. It might be an idea to ask to see a complete set – it would at least show if your photographer can take a consistently good series of photos! This is aside from the fact that she was a nightmare to have there – loud and overbearing. She obviously thought it would be terribly funny to tell the guests to shout ‘Sex!’ instead of ‘cheese’. I wonder what my elderly relatives made of that?! She was also very bossy and liked the sound of her own voice far too much. By the time we had signed the register and posed for the first round of photos I could have cheerfully strangled the woman. All of which, of course, would have been forgiven had the photos been good. We literally have one or two photographs that are okay. I have a single photograph of me in my dress and to even get that one good print Mum had to use photoshop. Thankfully lots of guests took photos and we have cobbled a strange collection together. One day I might sit down with them all and have a go with photoshop again but (ten years later) I’m still too annoyed!
There’s no doubt that a photographer with a top of the range camera is going to get the best results. Prices vary A LOT. I know a photographer that charges a very small sum compared to others and I think she would be well worth every penny. That said, I know plenty of people who have had a friend take their photos (preferably a friend with a decent camera and a good ‘eye’) and they have been great. It really depends on your budget. If you can afford to get someone who knows what they are doing then go for it. But if expenses like this are stopping you from getting married because you can’t find the money (or would have to get into debt to pay for it) then there are other options. It is worth asking around to see if you can find a newly qualified photographer who might be willing to take your photographs at a discounted rate to build their portfolio. I also know one couple who found a wedding photographer by getting permission from the local college to put up a notice appealing to its photography students.
I don’t get some of the wedding photos I’ve seen anyway. I saw one in the local paper not so long ago of the bride laying front down on a lawn, propped up on her elbows and grinning at the camera. It looked like she was doing a bizarre commando crawl away from the wedding (had she gone off the groom perhaps?). I also saw one with the bride perched precariously in a tree with her new husband stood beneath. I mean, if they are avid tree climbers or perhaps qualified tree surgeons then I guess it makes sense. Maybe it was just their sense of humour – who knows?
One of the brilliant things about the advances in technology is that nearly everyone has access to digital cameras and camcorders. Two people made videos of our wedding and they are brilliant (particularly considering the lousy photos). We refer to one video as the official version and the other as the comedy version. On the latter, my favourite moment is a candid shot of me talking to Mum through a crowd of people. You can’t make out what we are saying but I am pointing at the photographer, looking cross and making a swinging motion with a clenched fist. Makes me laugh like a drain every time I watch it back…
Were your wedding photos fantastic or a disaster like mine? What’s the best/worst wedding photo you have ever seen (my ward goes to the commando bride)? Do you think it is better to pay for a Pro or have you seen great photos taken by a friend of the couple?