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A sad trend in wedding photography?

Discussion in 'People' started by Uncle Frank, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. A friend of mine sent me a link to the gallery of his son's wedding, complaining about the quality of the product. He's familiar with my work, and wondered why he didn't get results like mine from a full time wedding professional. There were over 800 pictures in the gallery, and I noted quite a few excellent ones, but you had to look for them, because they were mixed in with very poor captures. I sent him these comments.

    So has your wedding photography biz evolved into a high priced "shoot and dump" business, or were my experience and my friend's just isolated examples?
  2. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Somehow now that everyone can buy a digital camera...everyone can call themselves "a photographer".

    Wish I could see those photos...
  3. ffb2t


    Jan 16, 2006

    But to your point UF, I think you touched on exactly the crux of the issue and that is the deliverable. In short you get what you pay for (that is not directed at you, just a general comment). If you pay for shoot & dump that is what you get and there is nothing wrong with that especially if it works as a business model for the photographer. Further, as you mentioned in your email, you don't "need" all 800 pictures to be perfect but that is something non-photo people don't see/understand (they also don't see the 1000's of pictures taken during a magazine shoot, or nat geo story, they only see the final 1-5).

    The problem you face is that a) digital cameras allow anyone to get in the game and sell services (nothing wrong with this) b) as a result of a, the resulting images in general are usually only "ok" (it is easier than ever to take "good" images but they really are not comparable to the best in the game - you can even see examples of it on this forum), c) the customer is used to seeing over-processed "perfect" images (again in large part due to #a above) and finally d) the customer "wants" more images and makes decisions based on that.

    While I personally would not follow the shoot & dump model (wouldn't do a wedding either), there is some validity to it for a certain segment of the market. Example, 3500 for a wedding photog is probably not on the "high" end of the pricing scale (I would guess is sitting in that high end of the low price rung - maybe low mid-range) and it is exactly in that segment and for those customers, where the shoot & dump model works (and that is true for things beyond wedding photography as well).
  4. Ditto.

    And even worse, some people buy a DSLR and think they are a pro photographer. :rolleyes: 

    Unfortunately, I've seen terrible wedding pictures from people paid good money to capture that day. I did end up giving some of mine to them to help fill their album but felt really bad for them as I was not really prepared for this.
  5. well there are always two sides to the story... we don't know how the couple found the wedding photog, what work was shown, and what the conditons were. We just know from the point of view of someone who didn't really agree with what was going on and thought they could do a better job.
  6. DrewC


    Jan 30, 2007
    Denver, CO
    thats gotta be frustrating... i want to shoot weddings, and i'm SURE i can do a wonderful job, it's just i'm afraid nobody wants to hire me for lack of experience... i dont want to charge a lot. (if i every paid off my gear i'd be more than happy) i just want to capture the newlyweds moments of a lifetime. 3500 for a sloppy job is just outrageous to me...
  7. I want to try and find a few weddings to shoot last min for people. I hate to plan ahead, and I would really hate to plan 6-10 months ahead... so it'd be fun to pick one up here and there for $500-600 and do a pretty decent job. This would be next year once I have more experence and equipment.

    but that's what craigslist is for!

  8. ffb2t


    Jan 16, 2006
    Therein lies part of the problem. Buy yourself a subscription to PDN (and try to pick up the wedding issue that was out there a month or so ago - has a great story about a couple that started out charging little and working little and then raised prices and worked a lot), and then read John Harrington's blog (and/or buy his book). Plus you may need to assist an established photog in order to build up your portfolio.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2007
  9. DrewC


    Jan 30, 2007
    Denver, CO
    hmm... i have access to all these wedding photographers comin' into the shop... i may as well ask one of them to let me shoot side-by-side with them for a couple weddings...
  10. My first wedding, we hired the most amazing photographer, after interviewing a dozen or so. His quality of work was worth the extra $$$'s. 2nd time around, I bought some film for a friend, handed out a bunch of disposable cameras, and got what I paid for, LOL. Didn't care, already did the great photo album routine...for what good that did!

    Recently went to a friends wedding, and was appalled at how bad the photographer was. They were so geeked up at how good this person was, and I'm wondering why? framing, background, lighting...it sucks having a little bit of information. Wedding photography would be the LAST thing I would attempt.
  11. ibcj


    Dec 19, 2006
    New York
    Seems as though the hired photographer should have taken some time and at least picked out the better shots. 800 shots is a lot to go through, but only showing the customer the quality images is what needs to be done. A good photographer will have the eye for what makes a good photograph and wouldn't just post them all. The good thing is that they have you Frank, to help them with weeding out the best shots.

    I recently attended the wedding of a good friend as a guest taking photos. They had hired a "pro" to shoot their wedding. I was a little concerned about the quality of the photos that they would receive from the "pro", when he started asking me about the lighting of some of the group shots. Huh ? Maybe I just looked like I knew what I was doing ??

    When it was all said and done, they liked my pictures better than the ones that they paid good money for. It's a shame that this stuff goes on. I feel badly for the good wedding photographers who have to try and compete with this stuff on a regular basis.
  12. I was shocked at the online wedding gallery when my brother was married last year. For one thing, it was up the day after the wedding, all set for people to buy prints. The next day?!? The photographer was very expensive, and he did a nice job with posing and lighting on the formal portraits.

    Unfortunately, he posted those nice photos intermixed with literally hundreds upon hundreds of lousy photos...often multiple shots of the exact same thing (or very nearly so...maybe an arm in an oh-so-slightly different position.) He also went crazy with angled shots, where people end up looking like they're falling down...dozens and dozens of those (one or two are interesting, but c'mon!)

    And the photos in the online gallery were untouched...no editing at all (which explains how he got them up there so fast.) I understand the need for speed, but I think he should have taken a bit more time, culled the herd a bit and done at least some basic editing before posting them for all to see. I did see some that my brother ordered from the site, and the final prints were beautifully edited. I think a really great photographer can make himself look really lousy by slapping up these online galleries so quickly.
  13. ponykilr


    May 23, 2007
    I think if the arrangement was for the pro to just give them all of the images on Cd, then that was what should have been expected.

    If he was paid to edit, enhance and sort them to a certain level of quality and did not do that, then they have a legitimate complaint.

    All aspects of the service and products should be in the contract and discussed until it is understood.

    In all types of business, there are customers who want the bare minimum, all the way to those who want all of the bells and whistles. It is up to the customer to find the person who can give them what they want, at the price they can afford.

    $3500 would get an album, sorted and edited proofs of the best shots and an engagement session in my area.
  14. ponykilr


    May 23, 2007
    The reason a lot of these folks do not edit pics (other than maybe crops and exposure adjustments) is because there isnt much sense in extensive editing until photos are ordered. It would take a tremendous amount of time to final edit hundreds of pictures only to have orders for maybe 1/4 of the gallery.

    Also, the first few days after the wedding is when the clients are still high on the wedding, and more likely to order prints. Getting them up quickly can result in more sales. Strike while the iron is hot as the saying goes.

    I agree that the formal pics and the absolute best of the rest should be final edited to show their quality prior to uploading.

    A lot of the the time, a customer may see something in a "ordinary" looking wedding shot that will be quite "extraordinary" to them. We do not know just what little moments or captures of friends and relatives will be the special ones to the couple. This is another reason to let the clients see almost all of the shots.
  15. That mirrors my experience with my daughter's wedding photographer... except that it took him 6 weeks to deliver the unedited collection.
  16. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    Andrew - I have only been on this site 1 month. But I have seen several of your pictures (not weddings). There is no doubt in my mind you have the skills!
  17. DrewC


    Jan 30, 2007
    Denver, CO
    paradiddle... if you're referring to me... then thanks! but you're not supposed to know my full name! Sounds like how the teachers referred to me on the first (and sometimes second) day of school.

    if you're referring to someone else, then they should be flattered... but it looks like i'm the only andrew in this thread...
  18. Here's a unique prospective....

    I am NOT a pro photographer and don't have an "artistic" eye for that type of work. I love photography and have nice equipment, but I know my limitations.

    However, I see opportunity in this world because there are people that feel good equipment qualifies them as for difficult tasks like weddings. I see potential in doing quick wholesale photo edits. Fixing the shots, in bulk, and taking an 800 shot wedding with 35 good photos to a level of perhaps 100 or 150 good ones...

    I can imagine two potential customer groups. The quality photograher that's very busy and just wants 20 shots from yesterday's wedding quickly redone into glamour, selective color, etc.... And the want-to-be pro that needs 150 shots edited in bulk so he can save a customer. With some of the web sites I've seen charging $29 per photo to edit, having a place to do bulk edits for $5 to $7 might help both customer groups and seems like it could have potential. Thoughts from those in the know would sure be appreciated....
  19. TonyC

    TonyC Guest

    Wedding photography isn't for me. My cousin and a mate have both enquired if I would do their wedding and I've said no on both occasions.

    I don't feel I have the technical skills to overcome, say, adverse weather conditions etc. Plus I want to enjoy their wedding and not be under pressure to produce the great images that they'd like.

    I did agree to take some candids for my mate and he was really happy with them, but I don't think they're of the quality to make into a wedding album.
  20. bob swanson

    bob swanson Guest

    :cool: Being a wedding photographer I feel that I'm fairly qualified to comment.
    As forementioned, you really need to know both sides of the issue.
    Secondly, the price of wedding coverage varies from each area.
    As was mentioned, editing takes time and as was also mentioned we try to get the images to the bride as soon as possible. In this particular case it wasn't necessarily timely. I know that I'm inundated this time of the year and therefore it takes me a little longer to get the images to the bride.
    We are plagued with those that contend that they are experienced wedding photographers. And the bride doesn't necessarily pay attention to experience but does look at how much she gets for how much she paid. My area is particularly crowded with (retired) military photographers that don't need to make much as was also mentioned here. I guess we need to start somewhere and most are impatient and just can't seem to wait for that experience.
    I've been doing this for 25 years and have seen and heard most of this before from "I'll never photograph a wedding" to "I just want to make a couple of bucks to pay off my equipment". In my case I usually end up with about the same number of weddings each year and try to do the best I can. Just some thoughts and probably tooooo repetitive.
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