As a newly engaged couple you’ve come across a mass of information on wedding blogs, in magazines, and advice via friends and family. Some of that information is undoubtedly perpetuating several common wedding photo myths. I’m here to dispel some of these common wedding photo myths for you in hopes of enhancing your wedding photography experience.
1. Engagement photos are unimportant.
I’m putting this as number one because it is one of the biggest wedding photo myths out there. Personally, you may not think the engagement photos are the most important, but the process of taking the photos is! Do you already have photos from a friend or amateur? That doesn’t matter. Engagement sessions are more about the experience of getting to know your wedding photographer. These session help you become more comfortable with them, build trust, and feel more relaxed with a camera on you for long periods of time. The photos become secondary and are a really great bonus!
I very strongly believe in engagement sessions and I’m certain that booking one with your wedding photographer will ensure that your wedding images are efficient, beautiful, and relaxed.
2. We’ll get a wedding album later.
Many couples think that they’ll purchase or make a wedding album after the wedding. Sadly, that doesn’t usually happen. With all the costs that go into a wedding day it’s another thing they don’t want to factor into the costs right away. That thinking is totally understandable. I have so many clients that have been married 5+ years who still haven’t gotten around to ordering an album. With ever changing technology, there’s no guarantee your wedding images will be viewable in 50 years. An album will be.
The truth is that if you don’t order an album when you book your photographer you’re not very likely to do so in the future. Once the wedding is over you get into a mindset where you just don’t want to think about anything wedding related for quite awhile. You obviously want to see your photos and look through them, but going through the process of creating an album will not be on your priority list. If you purchase that album from the beginning you’ll have it rolled into your package which then entices you to go ahead and order it.
3. Everything is fixable in Photoshop.
No. Just no… Most people say this as a joke, but once in awhile I still get a client who thinks I can and will fix literally anything. True professional photographers try to avoid these things prior to taking the photo. For example making sure there is no junk in the background of photos, switching a location/pose if the lighting isn’t ideal, trying to get everyone smiling during family portraits, etc.
Its always best to get everything as close to perfect as you can ‘in the camera’ rather than relying on photoshop to fix mistakes.
4. We should hire one company that ‘does it all.’
There are many companies out there that boast about being your photographer, videographer, DJ, and even event planner with an all-in-one inexpensive package. It sounds great, right? Well it rarely is and this is one of the wedding photo myths that could hurt you. These companies subcontract less experienced photographers, DJ’s, etc. that (being less experienced) will accept a lower rate for their work. That’s how they keep their prices low. With high employee turnover rates, these contractors have rarely worked together prior to your wedding. Funnily enough I have photographed weddings where the couples have hired one of these companies to do video and/or DJ and the videographer/DJ automatically assume I’m with their company (and I’ve never met them before!).
Many times the videographers don’t even know the full timeline schedule or locations. The company either never got one for them or cared enough to plan a timeline with the couple. Believe it or not I’ve even heard remarks like “(the company) doesn’t care if I get that shot” or “they don’t pay me enough to get all that extra stuff.” It’s as if they work from a list and do the bare minimum. No couple wants that on their wedding day! I highly suggest hiring smaller companies that provide personalized and specialized services.
5. I need a photographer who has worked at my venue.
In some instances this can be helpful, but it’s definitely not a deal breaker. After 17 years I’ve seen just about every local wedding venue, but there are still some that I’ve just never been booked at. What’s most important is that your photographer has experience with the same type of venue. For example if you’re getting married in a dark church ask to see some photos from other churches. If you’ll be on a golf course ask to see photos from another golf course wedding. A true professional will be well versed in many lighting situations. If you’re unsure, ask to see samples from similar venues.
6. We NEED two photographers.
I’ll be honest here, two photographers is a wonderful thing to have. Other than the added cost, there really is no negative to having two. However, I’m considering it one of the wedding photo myths because I get many couples who think they NEED two photographers in their package when one will suffice. Usually they’ve heard from a friend or family member that they absolutely need two. I will say that I photograph 90% of wedding solo and have no issues at all. It’s best to talk about your specific day, timeline, and expectations and determine that with your photographer! See my blog on Second Photographers.
7. My photographer needs a shot list.
There are many sites out there that provide generic wedding photography shot lists. They list out dozens of must-have photos for your photographer to remember. These lists are an unnecessary hinderance to a professional photographer. If they are experienced, most of the photos on that list are second nature and built into their photography routine. The only lists you should need to provide are lists of family groupings and any small details that could be easily missed (a borrowed heirloom, a pin in your bouquet, the groom’s special cufflinks, etc.)
I will also add that if I’m looking at a photo list all day I’m inevitably missing beautiful, genuine moments that are happening around me.
8. Photographers make a ton of money from 8 hours of work.
This one makes me chuckle a bit. As much as I would love to make $300+ /hr., it’s just not accurate. This is an extremely simplified version of what goes into a wedding:
BOOKING: 3-5 HOURS
- Initial emails, in-person consultation or Phone call, and processing the deposit and contracts.
ENGAGEMENT SESSION: 13-16 HOURS
- Prep work for the shoot, photographing, downloading, culling, and editing
WEDDING PLANNING AND WEDDING DAY: 50-60 HOURS
- Answering questions, timeline planning, etc.
- Cleaning and packing gear, preparing SD cards, reviewing details with wedding team and/or your other vendors
- Photographing the wedding, downloading, culling, and editing.
- Uploading full gallery and emailing client links
ALBUM: 9-11 HOURS
- Fully retouch images for the album
- Design the first version of the album and send to the client
- Make requested changes to the album and send the second draft to the client
- Export final design and order. Inspect and mail to client.
An 8 hour wedding day translates to about 80 hours of work for your wedding photographer. Thats not even including business expenses like equipment, insurance, taxes, marketing, the list goes on and on.
9. Getting Ready photos are just hair and makeup.
There is SO MUCH that goes into getting ready for your wedding day. Initially, couples may not see the benefit of using 2+ hours of their day for these photos. In fact, it’s one of the most underestimated parts of the wedding day.
The first thing I will do when I arrive is to photograph all of your details. That includes the wedding dress, shoes, veil or headpiece, invitations, all the rings, jewelry, bouquets, etc. Once the detail photos are taken we will have time to take candid photos. That means hair and makeup finishing up, the girls or guys hanging out, having a drink together, the girls in their robes, etc.
The last part of your getting ready wedding day photos is getting dressed. For the men, this is less important. Guys really only need to be photographed putting on their ties, cufflinks, watches, etc. For the women, you will want to perform the various stages with various people helping you. For example, you will most likely want to have your mom helping you into your dress, your grandma putting on your bracelet or veil, your maid of honor helping you with your shoes, etc.
You also may want to open gifts, read cards, do a first look with dad, have individual portraits taken in your respective suites, etc. I have a full blog post on getting ready as well.