Does that mean Jeremy that we are all bad wedding photographers?
So we have another of these so-called bad wedding photographers making the news for all the wrong reasons. And guess who jumps on the bandwagon, but good old Jeremy Vine with his twisted sensationalism and biased debate.
This so called debate ended in total negativity where a real professional was only given a few seconds to present the right way to look for a wedding photographer. Then this person was swept aside so the BBC could concentrate on stamping on all wedding photographers proclaiming that they were all bad wedding photographers. All were perverts and soon to be history – thankfully.
It was rather pitiful for many reasons and not helpful in the slightest for couples looking for a good wedding photographer. All it did was fill the air with fear and contempt – in true Jeremy Vine style. What a pity.
Steph and Paul Unwin’s photos have been seen all over the media, and yes, they look dreadful. The one thing we will never know is what drove them to use this wedding photographer. We won’t know the tactics he used and why they couldn’t see his ineptitude.
There are always two sides to everything, but what drives us BIPP members potty is that there are loads of photographers like him, roaming around selling their rubbish cheaply and tarnishing the industry as they go. Promising you over a thousand images to make them look like a bargain. Only that the images are not treated or selected properly. Literally straight from the camera on to a disc and off you go.
All this could have been avoided by giving some simple and helpful guidelines. Not sensationalistic, I know. But none the less, helpful. There are still people out there who want great wedding photographers and there are plenty out there who are very good. You just need to know where to look and how to look.
First. CHECK FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ACCREDITATION
Check if a wedding photographer is a member of a professional body like the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP), the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) or Master Photographers Association (MPA). These are organisations where you don’t just wave your credit card and they let you in. You go in front of a panel of expert judges and they assess your worth. Only then will you be allowed in.
In the BIPP you have three grades: Licentiate, Associate and Fellow. This is a good guide on the experience level and expected price of professional wedding photographer. A Fellow will always cost more than a Licentiate and rightly so. You are paying for the best of the best. A Licentiate will still give great results though.
Second: EXPERIENCE AS A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
How many weddings has the wedding photographer shot before? Do they have proof? Some wedding photographers have been known to steal photos from competitor websites, so they can masquerade as something better than they are.
If a wedding photographer is not a member of a professional body, it might be for a good reason. But they should have a solid portfolio of work – that is not on a website. It should also be printed. That’s the best proof that the wedding photographer is as good as they claim to be.
Also, how selective are they? Bad wedding photographers just give you everything they took with no selection process. We all take some howlers for various reasons, so why hand them over? A good photographer will select the best, so you get a fantastic collection.
Third: THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PRICE
The tricky bit. Steph and Paul Unwin fell into the unfortunate trap of going cheap. No matter what the general public may think, £550 is nothing for a full day of wedding photography. You should not expect to get much in the way of quality. If anything, I always say that if a couple cannot afford a real professional, then they should just get a mate to do it and give them a treat in return. Then spend the money saved on their honeymoon.
I myself take around four days in post-production after a 12 hour wedding day – around 44 hours in total. And that’s before I even start the book. The final image haul will be about 300 plus – more than enough to tell the story of your day. And every selected photo will be carefully processed and treated. So if you break down what you are getting on hours worked, then I come out easily as better value than the charlatan!
The charlatan, like I said, will just do the day and maybe spend an hour transferring the shots to a disc. That’s it and very little more. They might throw in a selection of mounted prints to make it look better value, but you put rubbish in you still get rubbish out!
OK, that’s my little advice bit done with. Hopefully, you will find that it has been helpful. I always say that the safest route is to go with a wedding photographer who is a member of an accredited body like the BIPP, MPA or RPS.
We’re all nice folk (well, the ones I know!) and many of us will gladly talk if you have a specific but realistic budget to hit. Just bear in mind, that what we do is of a professional standard. Yes, it may cost a bit more, but we will give you something to cherish for the rest of your lives. One year on from your wedding, the only worthwhile item you will have left will be your wedding photos.
There’s a saying that the poor man always pays twice. With wedding photography, you don’t get a second chance.
Thanks for reading!