The Big Day!

As a photographer it seems to be a common assumption that we all capture every kind of image imaginable. The reality is that generally photographers specialise in a particular area, that which interests them most. For some it is portraits, others prefer macro, wildlife or events, but for me it has always been landscape. Capturing the beauty of the world that surrounds us has always been my passion and although I have yet to venture very far I am lucky to live in North Yorkshire, a very beautiful part of the country and the world.

One of the common questions that photographers get asked is "Do you do weddings?" Up until now it has always been a question which has been answered with a very swift reply, "No!" The thought of the stress involved in capturing the big day for a happy couple was just too much. The thought of making a mistake and missing those special moments, moments that happen only once and cannot be repeated was just too much to risk.

A few months ago my sister Linda contacted me to ask if I would consider being the photographer at her best friend Alice's wedding. Alice was not going to be having an official photographer and Linda wanted to be able to give her a nice album of prints as a wedding gift. After a bit of thought I agreed, I took it as an opportunity to find out whether I could cut it as a wedding photographer.

On the 14th of August the big day arrived and surprisingly I was totally relaxed on the day. My plans went out of the window as it was a wet, foggy day and all the shots that I had in my mind were not going to be possible. The combination of having to think on my feet and a laid back bride and groom meant that the day was always going to go well. 

The result of this chance to photograph the wedding of Alice and Tony was that I have come to the conclusion that I would like to take on more weddings. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the opportunity to record the special day for posterity was a great experience. 

I own a good camera so I should be a wedding photographer!

In August I will be shooting my first wedding. This is not something that I have thought about trying before but I agreed to do this one as a favour to my sister. One of her best friends is getting married and I was only too happy to do this favour for her.

My blog post today is about the skills required to be a wedding photographer. Recently a request was posted on Facebook asking for recommendations for local wedding photographers. I was absolutely stunned by the number of names that were put forward to be considered. I didn't realise there were so many out there in the local area.

When you start to dig a little deeper you find that very few of the names provided are professional photographers. Many of the recommendations are for people that have a camera and feel that their technical ability is at a level where they can charge for their work. Many just have a Facebook page and no website. There are no portfolios to look through, some have hardly any examples of their work on show.

Having seen quite a few wedding photographs posted on social media I am stunned that some people have the audacity to call themselves professional photographers. The technical standard of a lot of images posted could at best be described as "snaps". Of course, if the client is happy with the quality and the price they have paid then there is not a problem. As with all things in life "you get what you pay for".

As a pro wedding photographer I would say that the qualities required would be: 1. An ability to manage people in an efficient and personable manner. 2. Excellent photographic skills and an ability to capture those special moments whatever the conditions. You should know your equipment inside out and be able to deal with any situation that may arise. 3. The photographer is at the wedding to record the occasion and should not interfere with everyones enjoyment. He/she should blend into the crowd, after all the photographer is not the star of the show, the bride is! You hear of too many photographers that act as if they are the centre of attention and that is just not the case.

My advice to anyone looking to book a photographer would be as follows: 1) Never book a photographer without seeing their portfolio, especially images of the type required. After all its no good looking at landscape images when you're booking a wedding photographer. 2) On your big day you need everything to run as smoothly as possible. Never book a photographer that you can't get on with. No matter how good a photographer is don't even consider booking them unless you connect with them. 3) Always check out recommendations yourself, don't take the word of others. After all the recommendations could all be from friends and family of the photographer. 4) A professional photographer will be insured to cover any eventualities, check this out. 5) Make sure that you agree a contract with the photographer so that both parties know exactly what is expected and what will be delivered.

The wedding that I will be shooting in August will be my first and I will be doing my best for the happy couple. My part in the wedding will be well organised and I will be working with the happy couple to produce a shot list so that I don't miss any shots that would be especially important.

Who knows this may turn out to be a side of photography that I enjoy and the start of something new. On the other hand I will be putting myself under pressure to do the best job on the day and it may be my first and last wedding. 

I will post a few shots after the big day and you can all judge for yourselves whether I did a good job or not.