Wedding Photography: Pluses and Minuses


Photo by Zalmy B

Wedding photography has changed over the past number of years. This is true for the wedding world at large as well as the frum wedding world. Not in such distant past, the wedding photography industry was run by a relatively small number of full service wedding studios. These were professionally run businesses with a rotating team of photographers and a team of in-studio personnel who took care of logistics, proofs, albums, etc. But a couple could not always be certain which photographer will be there to capture their most important day. So new photographers appeared on the scene. The new photographers were a one man show – they had  their own unique style, their commitment to creativity, and if a couple was captivated by the photographer’s images, they knew who and what they were getting.

At about this time the focus of wedding photos shifted from formal portraits to photojournalistic, in-the-moment candids. Couples wanted photographers to document the euphoria, the frenzy, the joy, the excitement, in other words all the emotion of this so completely emotion-drenched event. The relationship between the couple and their photographer became much more personal.

These photographers are also social media savvy, which means that a couple’s wedding pictures are likely to hit the photographers’ Facebook pages, Instagram feeds, Pinterest boards or their personal blogs. For many couples this is an added bonus so to speak, a way to share their greatest joy with their friends, and perhaps a chance to show off a little (after all they just spent the last couple of months making sure that everything about this wedding is just perfect!). For others this was a nuisance. Many frum couples would rather not share the images from their wedding with the world. But this is not a big deal. Photographers in the frum world understand this, and will accommodate if requested.

The problems that many couples and families do experience is in post production. The one-man-(or one-woman)-show photographer does not usually have back office staff to deal with clients regarding their albums, portraits, or whatever post wedding issues the families might have. He or she are responsible for shooting the event (which means getting home most nights at 2 AM), for uploading the images to the computer, retouching them (which is hours and hours of work), organizing them, communicating with their clients, designing the albums, dealing with printing studios, etc etc etc. And so we hear many complaints from married couples with children who are still chasing after their very creative photographer, who did an amazing job at the wedding, but has since disappeared, and has yet to provide the wedding album. Many go as far as accusing the photographer of being a liar and a ganef, when in reality the guy is just overwhelmed, way over extended, and just doesn’t know who to deal with first.

How does one prevent this scenario? There are two things you must do: you must communicate with your photographer as much as you can. Before committing to a photographer, inquire about his or her process of album making – who does it? how long does it take? Secondly, even though many photographers ask for all the money up front (and they do this with good reason – they have to pay the printer and the binder in advance), you, as a client, have to make sure that a portion of the bill is only paid upon delivery of the albums. How to break it down will often vary, but 50% up front, 25% after delivery of proofs and the rest after albums is not unreasonable. Many photographers themselves offer similar terms.

Overall, the changes in the wedding photography industry have worked out to the couples’ benefit – they have more options, greater ability to find the photographer that matches their style. But as with any progress, there are always some growing pains. The best that you can do is be an educated consumer.

{Note: The beautiful images used in this post are there for visual enhancement only, and have no relation to the content.}


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