I’m a photographer and I want to share a some things I’ve noticed about the industry over the past few years. This is the beginning of a blog post I haven’t gotten around to finishing yet because I need to collect sample photos as examples to help educate the public about what a good photo is and what a bad photo is. Although the post is not finished, I think it could help you understand what is going on in the field of pro photography.
Creativity and skill.
There is an alarming trend I’ve noticed happening in the world of professional photography. Our craft is being inundated with individuals calling them selves professional photographers, but lacking the personal investment in time equipment and education to truly understand the craft. They use photography as a way to make a quick buck, at times I don’t think even they realize exactly how lacking in skill they truly are, shooting in program modes because they do not understand how the controls of their camera work. Everyone with a digital camera will produce a certain number of acceptable images when their camera is set to a program mode. This does not make you a photographer. It makes you lucky some of the time.
An uneducated consumer who needs photography services usually starts their search on the Internet. They find numerous photography sites showing the photographer’s best work displayed on professional looking, readily available and very cheap, website templates being sold to photographers by companies like http://www.bludomain.com . For $100 to $400 dollars, anyone can afford a pro level site these days to display their “lucky shots” on and go into business.
Seeing the photographers work displayed on such a fine web site template and showing off their few good images deceives the consumer into thinking the photographer is capable of handling a wedding or photographing some other important life event.
The problems accrue when the so called pro shows up to your wedding and is confronted with a difficult lighting scenario like a dark church or mid day sun and they don’t have the skill or pro level equipment to overcome it. They will inevitably fail to produce acceptable photos, leaving the consumer with very armature looking, under or over exposed prints, possible with harsh shadows or blown out highlights.
Photographers that do not know how to properly use on camera flash or how ISO, aperture settings and shutter speeds work in combination with each other have no business charging for their services. Wedding photography is fast paced and highly stressful, with a continually changing shooting environment. You must understand how your camera and flash work together, to handle these situations and produce correctly exposed and pleasing photographs. Many photographers will use direct on camera flash to light a dark church. Direct flash is ugly! They should be bouncing their flash, using off camera lighting or have a high ISO capable camera….
Like I said, I haven’t finished this blog post yet. 🙂
Often I will see brides post their wedding photos on line and say how much they love them but the wedding dress will be way over exposed or some other major flaw will catch my eye and I as a photographer know they were not given professional photographs but ones shot by someone who was unskilled in their craft.
How do you brides avoid falling for one of the many novice photographers with their pretty websites? It is not easy. First make sure they have insurance that will cover their screw ups. It’s called errors and omissions. That means if the photos are lost or damaged they are insured. Ask questions about how they back up their files. Files should be backed up in 3 places at all times. My camera has dual card slots. Each photo is recorded twice on two cards. Why? Because cards can go bad. There is nothing the photographer can do to prevent that. But if I have two cards I have two copies of your wedding photos right away. One card fails it’s OK I have a back up. Next when I get home I down load them onto my computer and back them up onto an external hard drive. Now I have them on my two cards, my computer and the backup hard drive. Next I edit down get rid of the ones I don’t want to keep. and burn the proofs to DVD. Now and only now do I feel safe in deleting my CF cards.
If your photographer is cheap I would seriously investigate them. How long have they been in business, how many weddings have they shot, 2,3 24, 100? look at sample work in the studio, not just what is posted on the web site. Ask about insurance, how they back up the files. I would pay attention to how long they have been in business in their location. You know if they have been around for a few years 4-5 they are established and most likely not going to run off.
I personally require all my money up front. I make them pay a deposit when they sign the contract, pay another installment 6 months before the wedding and the balance is due one week before the wedding. I’m a good photographer and I will not work any other way. Why? Because brides and their families are often over extended after a wedding and I do not want to be involved in trying to chase down my last payment for 6 months to a year. You would be surprised how many will wait that long to pick up their photos.
Ok this post has gotten out of control. I’ll try to finish the original post with example photos and place it on my blog in the next few weeks. 🙂