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I’m not a wedding photographer but…

Just some thoughts, inspired by recent discussions with friends on wedding photography. This also applies to occasional submissions to English Wedding Blog. 95% of weddings submitted for publication here are beautifully photographed. As for the other 5%…

I’m not a wedding photographer but…

  • I can tell when wedding photos come out too dark
  • I can spot heavy yellow filters and fade effects
  • Sometimes it’s obvious the lens flare came from Photoshop
  • If your flash goes off in the bride’s face, I can tell!
  • Sometimes I spot candles / trees / lamp posts coming out of people’s heads when you don’t
  • I see too many heads cut off couples for no reason
  • I look at how wedding photos are cropped – if there’s a lone boob on the left of your image, it looks weird!
  • If you haven’t edited your images, I won’t blog them
  • I like a bride and groom to have skin-coloured skin
  • I look at the people behind a bride and groom. See that guy scowling? I did.
  • I want to share really good photography on my wedding blog
  • I want to share real weddings to inspire couples – but also to help you promote your wedding photography business
  • Please – new wedding photographers – edit your images. Check them carefully.
  • I’m not a wedding photographer but I see hundreds of wedding images – and I’d rather blog good photography than bad.
bad wedding photography from the Daily Mail

Bad wedding photography – image from The Daily Mail

Blogs and wedding photography – who’s setting standards?

I think wedding bloggers are sometimes wary of offending wedding photographers. We work with some of the very best – and I’m proud to share beautiful wedding photography with my readers.

I’ve seen low quality photography on other wedding blogs – pictures I could take with my camera set to auto. I’ve seen local wedding photographers with appalling standards – truly!

While I want to help photographers with all levels of experience promote their services here, I’m more careful when it comes to skill levels.

As a photographer you have to be good to get on English Wedding Blog.

As a blogger I don’t want to be responsible for encouraging couples to book cheap, untrained, unprofessional wedding photographers. I think some wedding bloggers and some wedding magazines are guilty of this.

Is it time we became more conscious of the standards we’re setting?

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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14 COMMENTS
  • Belinda Mccarthy
    8 years ago

    I also see some horrendous wedding photography about. It seriously scares me that people pay for these kinds of images; surely they must be so disappointed when they receive them? Good wedding photography is an investment. Paying someone a couple of hundred quid to take substandard ones might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’re going to be looking at those pictures forever. You might as well have not bothered, frankly.

    There is one photographer I see about (of course there is no way I’ll name names!) who patently uses straight-in-the-face flash in every single shot and also seems to think that tilting the camera 30 degrees to the left makes an artistic shot. I want to cry a little bit every time I see them; cry for the awful standards that people think are acceptable, and cry for the wedding memories that are being butchered in images.

    We’re all learning, all of the time. I see amazing photographers who make me feel like an amateur. So let’s all remember that we need to constantly strive to learn, to improve, to better ourselves. Find someone whose work you love and find out why, and then work out what’s different about the way they do things and the way you do. Sometimes it comes down to plain old talent, and we all only have whatever we happen to have of that. But 95% of the time it’s just training, experience, practice, picking up new skills.

    A wedding day is a sacred thing. Let’s remember that and try our absolute best!

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Oh, round of applause for you Belinda!
      I can’t add anything – but love and admire your comment 🙂
      C xx

  • Ian
    8 years ago

    Everything that Belinda said!
    I can’t believe what some people will pay for, almost to the point of finding it offensive. Is that really the type of photo I should be churning out?
    Whilst I’ve been guilty of most of the things in the list (and probably still are), I’d like to think I’ve learned over time.
    I’d love to know why certain photographers are chosen over others – is it purely cost? Google ranking? Word of mouth only? The sales pitch? Size of the album? Does image quality and artistic interpretation come into it at any point?
    In the mean time, I’m off to practise. And to learn how to market 😉

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Ian, thank you for commenting (and hello!)
      You’re definitely not one of the bad guys here! I’ve been on your website twice already today and like what I see 🙂 Experience certainly tells, and the openness to learn that Belinda talked about. That makes all the difference. Those photographers that think they can jump on the bandwagon with an expensive camera set to auto, and who are unwilling to learn – they’re the ones which scare me!
      As for choosing photographers – it depends on the couple. Often it’s price, it can be friendliness, or it can be association with a particular wedding magazine or blog. Affiliations with wedding venues – fine if the venue is recommending based on quality and service, but not if it’s a paid-for affiliation alone.
      For some couples it’s technical ability and background, others will look at albums and opt for the style they love… I think this is most common. It’s something very difficult to put a definition to – but it’s not a bad thing.
      I also suspect couples look at the style of a bride and groom within a wedding album or portfolio and choose a photographer on that basis sometimes – an interesting one!
      Good luck with the marketing stuff. Let me know if I can help with that!

      … I’m not a wedding photographer but I’m officially properly trained in marketing, and an old hand in the wedding industry!

  • Rich
    8 years ago

    I’ve read your post with interest following a RT via Twitter and wholly agree with the points you have raised. When I first put the business online, I scoured the internet for wedding photographer sites and came across a collection of muddled, confusing sites lacking any detail of prices let alone decent photographs. Most seemed content to post small thumbnails or worse still photos with a copyright watermark splashed across them. How are customers able to judge your photography skills without seeing the product first? I took the decision to post in a blog format using a fast provider and good quality images. They are all edited – including those not put online because that what customers want. I do not advertise as all my enquiries come from recommendation or via the website so I live or fall by those images.

    Every photographer’s style is unique and so it should be. Customers need choice, but also quality. They generally pay a lot of money for a wedding photographer and have avoided using “Uncle Bob” for one reason – a guaranteed professional quality result.

    I’m glad you have identified the short comings of some members of the profession but it’s just a pity that they steal the limelight rather than those of us working tirelessly to provide a quality professional service more often without the recognition!

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for your comment. You raise some interesting points I’d missed: websites with thumbnail galleries as the only way of sharing a portfolio are really difficult to use – it’s one reason I always ask photographers to share their blogs with me!

      I don’t mind watermarks though – so long as they’re subtle and don’t hide the images, I actually prefer to show watermarked images on my blog. It’s a better promotion of a photographer’s work for me: if I’m sharing a real wedding for example, I like to know my readers are aware of the photographer’s name / brand 🙂

      As for stealing the limelight… I disagree (in a good way though, I think!) This is just one of my blog posts. I write every day now, and publish far more real weddings than I do discussions about wedding photography.

      There was a lovely one in my inbox yesterday, for example… 😉

      Claire x

  • Amy
    8 years ago

    Another great blog post, I love how you tell it straight!
    Calling all brides & grooms-to-be, listen to Claire and take a good look at a photographers portfolio before you book them. The photos are the best memory you’ll have of your wedding day, so divide your budget accordingly!
    Claire, you are so right about couples being seduced by the style of the bride and groom within the portfolio rather than the photographic quality of the portfolio itself. I can remember looking for a photographer and getting sucked into ‘oohhhh, I want that wedding, it’s soooo pretty’!

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for your lovely comment. Bless you – I’m blushing.

      I bet it’s easy to be distracted by the style of a wedding itself when you’re looking through a photographer’s portfolio. Which reminds me of another interesting thing…

      While I enjoy reading Rock n Roll Bride wedding blog (mainly the green room), I do believe a year or two ago there was a bit of pressure on wedding photographers to shoot quirky and alternative weddings to expand their portfolios.

      Maybe the same thing’s happening with vintage now: wedding trends can distract from the timeless quality a great wedding photographer can give.

      Thanks Amy – much food for thought here!

      C x

  • Maryanne
    8 years ago

    Everything above is so true. As a photographer who wants to be published on blogs, its always interesting to see what you’re looking for but I suppose you’d hope that a lot of the things mentioned would be taken for granted. It certainly makes me want to try harder & improve my images – its always such an honour to get on a blog to start with!

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Maryanne,
      Thank you for your comment.
      As for being published on blogs, you’ll often find you can use the smaller wedding blogs as stepping stones before being published on the big ones. I’ve seen it many times… fascinates me. Just a tip!
      And we’re back to Belinda’s first comment – that willingness to learn and improve is really, really important. I respect you for it!
      Claire x

  • Peter & Sara
    8 years ago

    Too true! If only everyone was so insightful 🙂 Trends seem to be dominating over quality at the moment, in some cases at least – you do wonder how ‘trendy’ images stand the test of time… We’ve just today been looking over a friends wedding photographs (which unfortunately we were unable to take 🙁 as we were pre-booked) but they were from this Saturday and are now online to buy?…it takes at least a week to process our images, let the dust settle and reprocess to make sure everything is as it should be – both for us and to make sure the bride and groom have a well polished and professional set of images, this after all, is what they’ve paid for.

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hello Pixies 🙂
      That’s one hell of a turnaround – and I bet it’s sold by the photographer as being a huge benefit for his or her brand. But I couldn’t agree with you more: processing images has to be done carefully and you have to allow time for it. If a wedding photographer told me there’d be images ready to buy within days I would run a mile!
      Claire x

  • Fiona Campbell
    8 years ago

    Well said Claire! I love your blog because you do have such high standards in photography. I’m always hugely honoured when you feature my work! Wedding photography is an immensely complex art and craft, and we are all indeed learning constantly. It’s comforting for brides to know that they will find great wedding photographers on your site.

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thank you Fiona for such a kind comment.

      There’s such a lot of work behind the scenes with wedding photography that brides and grooms might not know about as they choose between photographers for their big day.

      I wonder how much a wedding photographer should explain to potential customers: I do feel it’s important that couples know a lot of time is spent processing images, but I have another blog post about ‘educating’ brides and grooms coming up very soon on the blog which ties in nicely!

      Claire x

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