Fun weekend project while I was working on lesson plans for my HS Photoshop class.
Most photographers refuse to give all unedited photos from a session to the client. Why? Because during a wedding, especially, there are a lot of shots that aren’t that stunning. Editing helps pull out the good images and make a good image from an okay image. Here’s an example:
But unlike many photographers, I always give all unedited and edited photos to my clients. Why? It pretty much comes down to this: when I got married, I got back beautiful pictures, but there weren’t very many. There were so many moments I wish I could relive through the photographs. Even the anxiety, the craziness, the bad lighting, etc. I wish I could see the faces of our guests, even the bad pictures. I don’t care if they’re edited.
The analogy that photographers often make is: you don’t go into a restaurant and demand raw food. You order it to have it cooked and prepared the way the chef thinks is best. When you hire a photographer, you hire them to not only take the pictures, but also “cook” the best and present them in the best light.
But I’d adjust that analogy. Refusing to give unedited photos is like forcing a customer to get certain things from the menu, and not even showing them the rest of the options. That’s not fair, and it’s not necessarily what the customer will want. The chef may think he/she knows best, but in the end, everyone has their own taste. So let them choose.
I understand not wanting to give a bad representation of your brand. That’s totally your prerogative. I had the experience of being a client and wanting the raw files, so I understand the other perspective. As long as the first images I give are stunning, though, I don’t care if the rest are revealed.
Besides wedding photography in Boise, we also do web and design work all over the world. That used to be a big portion of our income. As full-time freelancers, and especially in the web/app/design realm, we get asked to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) often enough. And we’re fine with it. We would never steal someone else’s ideas, but it makes some clients more comfortable, and that’s the goal.
But here’s the thing: we’ve heard hundreds of ideas, sometimes from people who are pouring their life savings into these ideas. And a big portion of them aren’t worth stealing. Small ideas, and big ideas, take a lot of work to make successful. And we have enough brilliant ideas we don’t have time for. We don’t have time to steal yours.
So if you demand an NDA before you talk on the phone with us, or demand the blood of a virgin and the signature of a reigning prince to seal it, yeah, I’m going to be a little annoyed.
Okay, rant over.
As a wedding photographer, I have been behind the scenes at a LOT of weddings. So I can speak somewhat well to what tends to work well at a wedding. And one question that comes up a lot is: “I don’t know whether to do a first look or wait until the ceremony.” Well, that kind of came out as a statement, but you get the point.
It’s romantic to think that your first look will be at your ceremony and it will be emotional and beautiful. But honestly, most people are so nervous by that point, the significance of the moment is lost. So unless you are both super carefree people who are used to being in front of hundreds of people, I’d suggest you do a first look before everyone gets there.
I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t do a “first look” before my wedding. I wanted him to see me for the first time when I was walking down the isle. But that’s a decision I regret. It would have been much more special if we had done a first look beforehand with no people there. We would have been free to express our emotions and remember the significance of the moment.
I’ve photographed a lot of weddings at this point, and the most emotion I ever get out of the couple is in private. So I always get a little thrill when the couple decides to do a first look beforehand. It also means there are a lot of pictures we can get out of the way before the craziness of the ceremony/reception. It makes things easier and smoother, most of the time.
Last word, though: this is your decision, as a couple. People do it both ways, and it’s fine. These are just the pros of doing one beforehand, which I always recommend. It’s just my two cents.
As a wedding photographer and artist, one of the things I do is look around, try to learn from others, and figure out people I can recommend if I can’t do a wedding. One thing I’ve learned: some people think that just because they have a camera and like to take pictures, that makes them a photographer. NOOOO. There’s a big difference between a quality photo and a thoughtless one, and you will be disappointed if you don’t take the screening process seriously. There are a lot of bad photographers in Boise, Idaho, even if they are cheap. I don’t know what it is about small towns that makes amateurs think they’re good enough.
However, I also know that many people don’t know how to tell a good photographer from a bad one simply by their photos. So here is one thing that all good photographers use and I often don’t seen in amateur photographers. This is something you can see just from their portfolio.
Depth of field is the blur in the background. Amateur photographers who don’t know good composition or settings will oftentimes use automatic or high f-stops, leading to sharp photos, but with no romantic blur in the background. You really want this because it leads more focus onto the couple, especially when photographing wedding portraits. Here’s an example of low vs. high f-stop.
Now, in many photos, good photographers will not have a lot of depth, but it will still be composed in a way that focuses on the faces. But almost all amateur photographers I’ve seen use automatic settings or have little understanding of aperture, so they can’t get that nice blur. So it’s one easy way to tell if someone knows what they’re doing.
Just because they use it doesn’t make them a good photographer, though. So, how to pick?
There are hundreds of photographers in your area, most likely. And most photographers will travel if you have some sort of budget to compensate them a little for their travel time and/or mileage. So in the end, their PORTFOLIOS, not their price sheets, should guide your decision. Do you like their pictures? If you do, but they’re out of your budget, talk to them. Depending on the time of year or if they like you, they may give you a discount. You can skimp on a lot of things, but I would not recommend you skimp on photography. The right photographer can make you remember your day as beautiful and romantic or dull and cheap.
Also keep in mind that if you aren’t impressed by their portfolio, you definitely WILL NOT be happy with the pictures from your wedding. A photographer’s portfolio is the BEST of their work. That’s the best they can do. Don’t gamble on a poor photographer hoping that your wedding will be beautiful enough to make up for it.
I’m one of those photographers who is on the lower end of the price spectrum, but also does a decent job. I’m not experienced enough with difficult lighting situations to get the perfect shot every time, but you will end up with quite a few gorgeous, frame-worthy shots from your wedding, and I get better every time.
And if you search hard enough, you can find a good deal on a great photographer who may be building their portfolio or just starting out and has an amazing eye. (WARNING: don’t hire a relative who has never shot a wedding before but likes to take pictures. Weddings are incredibly stressful and they really need to be a second shooter before trying to be the only photographer there.)
*Note: I realize this article kind of makes me look like a photography snob, especially in light of the fact that I am a photographer. I am totally for learning photography and expanding your horizons. But if you’re going to call yourself a photographer, LEARN WHAT THAT MEANS. Use your manual settings, don’t be lazy! I take my job seriously because I know I’m documenting one of the most important days in a person’s life. Please just don’t think you’re a photographer because you have a camera that cost more than $100 or because you like it.
It’s an odd fact of life that, by virtue of my profession, I’ve usually been behind-the-scenes at weddings more than anyone else in the room. As an Idaho wedding photographer, I get to see a lot of the planning, blood, sweat, and tears that go into the smiles that everyone else sees. So here’s my advice on letting others control your wedding.
That’s it! Hope this helps! Weddings are stressful but marriage is amazing, so go elope! Just kidding. Not really. Sometimes it would be a lot easier if people just eloped, haha. But if you do elope, find an amazing photographer and splurge. Ask them to pick the location and time of day. A good photographer will have a field day with an elopement and being able to pick the spot and time. You’ll get the best wedding pictures you’ve ever seen. 😉 Thanks for reading!
Bottom line first: Although I TOTALLY understand budget concerns and that a good photographer is usually pretty spendy, I always HIGHLY RECOMMEND that people prioritize a good photographer right after location. You can skimp or pull together a lot of other stuff on a budget, but unless you have an experienced wedding photographer as a friend, it’s very hard to fake good photos. And wedding photography is very much a crazy art that’s very difficult, even if you have a good camera. Let me explain by telling you what I consider to be my job as a wedding photographer.
Hi! Let’s pretend we’re in a meeting here. You contacted me, looking for inexpensive wedding photography in the Boise area. I gave you my price list, which you liked, and we decided to meet. Here’s a bit of background I may not have given you.
I started photographing weddings because I wanted everyone to be able to have at least a few good pictures of their wedding, regardless of how much they could spend. When I married my husband, we were headed onto the mission field and didn’t have a lot of money to spare. So my sister, who’s a decent photographer with a semi-pro camera, took the pictures. But most people don’t have 3 photographers in their family like I do. And I’ve heard so many stories and seen so many bad wedding pictures. That should not be.
Pictures are so important. A good photographer can help you remember all the joy and nervousness and incredible love you both share. A bad photographer can leave you with nothing artistic to post and bad memories of awkward photo sessions. So when I hear stories or listen to the budgets of young couples, I try really hard to make it work, because I want everyone to remember their special day. I want to capture the magic and the looks and the smiles.
So that’s how I started! I’ve always been really artistic and visual, and I’ve photographed for years. Weddings are a little stressful, but worth it, especially when I’m able to give my couples this gift.
This was a question I always wondered… sometimes I still wonder. As far as cost goes, our wedding photography and videography is one of the cheapest QUALITY options. There are quite a few rookie people out there who will do it for cheaper or free, but it’s usually because they aren’t any good and can’t get anyone to hire them. So here are 4 reasons wedding photography costs what it does.
Hope this helps you understand a little more! One of the reasons we are a little cheaper than most is that, as professional freelancers, this is just one of many streams of revenue we have. We do weddings because we like them, they aren’t our primary source of income.
Mercy Hasselblad is a freelancer and wedding photographer in Boise, Idaho. She loves to help people and capture their special moments. Her motto is: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Fun weekend project while I was working on lesson plans for my HS Photoshop class.