Matt and I were scrolling through some priceless images on Awkward Family Photos' Wedding Contest and in between some truly hearty belly laughs I began noticing some trends that I thought might be good to address regarding modern wedding photography.*Disclaimer* All the images in this post were pulled from Awkward Family Photos. Thankfully I have yet to ever see any of OUR pictures on that site!An experienced photographer will recognize that there are plenty of paparazzi at weddings nowadays and truly, everyone wants a piece of that nice posed setup that the professional has arranged. When Matt and I photograph formals, we usually allow the guests with point-and-shoots to go first, or make it clear to the subjects that WE are the camera they need to be looking at, which helps us avoid making pictures where everyone's eyes are looking in different directions (or deer-in-headlights, like the photo above!). When researching photographers, recognize the value of those who have photographed many weddings instead of a few, or those who are full-time professionals and not moonlighters with day jobs.
It pains me to admit that I myself have had to make a picture similar to the one above---not by my own choice, mind you, but because the mother of the bride, or the mother of the groom, or some little old auntie takes me aside and insists...insists!...that I recreate this image. It's an old-fashioned pose that may have been popular 25 years ago but really has no place in a modern wedding book, especially if the photographer has a decidedly modern style. Brides, if your friend or relative is trying to take the reins and arrange dubious poses that you're not so sure you like, stop them right there and invite them to continue with their wedding duties instead of the photographer's!
I think this was one of the funniest photos on the site, it certainly made me laugh---the bridesmaids look like total Amazons next to that petite bride! And it perfectly illustrates a HUGE issue that many professionals have to contend with right now: The unprofessional photographer. Too many brides are opting to cut corners and use a friend or family member as their "official photographer." All too often, this is the result. At least it's in focus, right?
Aside from what's obviously funny about this picture, it blatantly illustrates one of the things that even master photographers struggle with: editing the pictures down to a manageable number that does not overwhelm the client and ensures that they receive a collection of the best images of the session, not ALL images of the session. We try to keep what we present to the bride and groom under 700, which some wedding photographers will insist is still too many. Why was this picture even given to the couple? Surely there must be a better one of that particular moment. I recommend to anyone interviewing photographers that they ask to see a full gallery from a single wedding so they can evaluate the photographer's judgement when culling the pictures in addition to the photographer's talent when taking the pictures.
After laughing at other people's awkward wedding pictures I wanted to close with this one. Yes, the pose is a little offbeat and it probably deserves its place on this website, but if you read the full caption you'll realize that the couple actually likes this photo, because they had such a darn good time posing for it! The lesson here is that if you trust your photographer enough to pay him or her, then trust them to do their job. As long as you're mostly comfortable with what they're asking you to do, go for it, even if it makes you feel a little silly! If your photographer is a professional and you love his or her work, then you may as well jump if he or she says jump...