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!
Wedding Photography FAQs?
Quite handy, my Wedding Photography FAQs may well have a few points that you have overlooked! Please read on!
What kind of wedding photographer am I?
In the industry, we like to call it Reportage or Documentary, in other words, natural, not forced, go with the flow and try not to get in the way! That said, and ironically enough, I won the BIPPNW Wedding Classic GOLD Trophy in 2016, which is mainly about posing!
Are awards important?
THIS IS A BIG YES! As the photographic industry isn’t marshalled, basically anyone can pick up a camera and announce that they are photographers. Hence why we keep hearing about upset couples in the newspapers, who got what they thought was a cheap deal only to pay for it later. A photographer who’s won accreditation and other awards from a professional body like the BIPP means that at least he or she knows what they are doing. Remember you only get one shot at your wedding, and the photos are the only thing you have left when it’s all over.
How many awards have I won so far?
Since 2013 I have won 15 awards and accreditations for various disciplines in photography. I have also exhibited some of my wildlife work at the ‘2016 Photography! Show’ at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury, Preston, Halifax and Taunton in 2017.
Am I insured?
YES! Very important!
How much work is involved?
The routine pretty much goes like this: – as well as the day itself, there is the lead-up: informal chats and meetings with the couple, location inspection, liaising with organisers, priests and travel time. Once the big day is done, I have the sorting, the processing, colour correction, manipulation and final presentation treatments. This process takes from two to five days worth of time depending on the size of the package required. Then there is the album. This takes around a day to two days to design as well as the production cost. It’s all about time!
How many weddings will I cover per year?
Such is the time and effort put into each wedding, that there are only a limited number of wedding dates available each year, so I can give each one the proper attention that it deserves!
Do I use assistants and second photographers?
If the budget allows, I will use an assistant and it is recommended that one is used. Second photographers are also available.
Where will I go to shoot a wedding?
I have bases in East Lancashire, Birmingham, Whitby, Durham and Sussex, but I operate pretty much wherever I am told to go in the UK! Weddings abroad need to be discussed!
Colour or Black and White?
All my award winning wedding photographs have been in black and white. To me it’s more emotional and gives an image more focus. Experience has shown however, that many couples still like to see colour first and foremost, as it is how they see their day. Therefore I primarily produce colour originals, then select about half of the wedding selection as black and white alternatives.
Can I tailor the packages?
Of course! Everyone is different! Just give me a call, so we can discuss what you’re after!
So you’ve booked – what next?
Once you have paid the Booking Fee and signed the Contract (needed for insurance purposes), then that’s it until one month before your big day when you will be required to settle in full. I will do the necessary research and liaison with the venues and their co-ordinators beforehand, ensuring that I will keep my procedures as smooth as possible.
How can you pay?
The big question in my Wedding Photography FAQs. You can pay direct with BACS or cheque.
You have more questions?
What is the BIPP and what use is it?
I am an Associate member of the British Institute of Professional Photography. Being a member of the BIPP means that I am accredited as a professional photographer by senior members including some of the world’s most highly regarded photographers.
I hope you enjoyed my Wedding Photography FAQs. Please ask questions, and I will add them with answers as they come in.
Time to start talking about past weddings and their venues! Manley Mere Wedding Reception at Manley Mere Sail Sports which I shot during quite a hazy May afternoon.
The venue itself has some terrific grounds with plenty of opportunities for photos. Some fine trees, an orchard, a large lily pond with a feature bridge making its way under a huge weeping willow. Space aplenty outside and space aplenty inside with a good sized bar! Decent sized bars are very important. It can be irritating if you have a hot day with 200 or so guests and the bar is only six feet long!
Then there was the sailing lake. If only we had time to get them in a dinghy and go for a whizz! In other words, an excellent venue for a relaxing wedding!
I could have spent all day dragging the bride and groom round all the features at Manley Mere Wedding Reception. The couple (Amanda and Paul) chose me because I hid and watched them enjoying themselves. Don’t get in the way too much, just go with the flow. Also, this was a time when I had no assistant to help with lighting etc.
Gemma and Paul (he having trained as a photographer himself), gave me a free reign to do just roam. They were not interested in group shots. We literally did just one outside Daresbury All Saints Church (another super place and a very nice priest) and that was it.
I used to hate doing group shots, so that made me more than pleased, but now I get a kick out of arranging smaller groups in to more interesting scenes. The usual sardines stood in a line is all very well if you have a pile of guests, but there are so many opportunities with smaller groups.
On one occasion, while shooting the men, I just said “look at the person next to you and do the first thing that comes to mind” and the variety of responses were hilarious from play fighting to one having his head polished! All us males tend to refuse to grow up and there was the proof! I dare say some bride’s mothers would disapprove of such group photography, but that’s me – I like rock n’ roll!
Back to Manley Mere Wedding Reception! Such a lovely day and most guests were outside enjoying the sun and getting tipsier by the minute. As the day progresses, my job gets easier as the guests start to let their hair down and I can get some incredibly animated and quirky moments. Take for instance this shot below. This was my favourite of the day and possibly to date! For those of you who don’t see it, let me try to explain.
The spontaneity of the image combined with the weather was almost perfect. Bright sun coming from behind the subject creating fabulous shadows. The wind animating the bride with an almost ‘Monroe’s billowing dress’ moment, despite her attempts to retain her dignity. The bride’s brother switching from fag to pint with simple grace while shielding himself from the wind and another guest sporting a short skirt throwing caution to the wind, you might say.
A real contrast of poses (if you can call them poses!) and instantly showing the personality traits of the subjects. Switching the image to black and white brings this into greater focus still.
This wedding photograph won the Silver at the BIPPNW Awards in the Wedding Reportage category. I felt it should have won, but I got the Bronze as well for another of my quirky moments!
All in all, a successful day’s shoot at Manley Mere Wedding Reception! It certainly helps when you have a great venue to work with. And of course, the couple! We got on like a house on fire and their trust in me gave no end of encouragement! Thank you Gemma and Paul! :-)