Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful afternoon and evening at a friend’s wedding.Â As usual, I had my camera with me and, as usual, Mrs. Wilson understood when I kept dashing off to take yet another photo.
When I saw the official photographer pointing a camera in my direction, I joked that I take the pictures and don’t appear in them (at least not if I can help it) but I was totally unprepared for what came when she saw me usingÂ my medium telephoto (70-200mm f2.8) lens to take a shot of the Groom and Best Man -Â she rushed up and asked me about the gear I was using and, although I don’t remember it, others who were there laterÂ said she asked if I was a professional.Â The daft thing is that gear doesn’t matter – so I was using a Nikon D700 and she was using a D90 -Â the D700 is weighty and, if you prefer a lighter camera (or want to shoot video) then the D90 might be quite a good choice.Â I’m sure that she took much better photos than me because: a) I was shooting in Program mode with auto focus (so the camera was doing the work not me); b) I consumed a significant volume of wine during the course of the afternoon.
The best part of it though, was that I was there to enjoy myself, so I didn’t have any of the pressures of being an “official” photographer – organising people and needing to make sure that every shot was spot on, because there are no second chances at shooting a wedding.
This was the first wedding I’ve been to in a few years (pretty much since the switch from film to digital) and I thought it was brilliant toÂ be given details on the day of where to go to view the official pictures.Â I was surprised though to see that it said “images take approx 2 weeks” as that seems a long time to get some digital images online (even with post-processing) and others around me thought perhaps that was the time it takes for fulfillment of orders.Â Well, it’s now more than 48 hours since the photographers left the venue and, the official site says that “photos have not been uploaded yet, please check back soon…” so I guess it really could be a while until the pictures go up there.
I remember from my own wedding how pleased we were to see a few prints before we went on honeymoon – the official ones took a while but that was because they were negatives: there were several hundred 35mm images and a load more medium format ones to be processed and printed.Â Back then, the few digital images we had were not that great (over-sharpened JPEGs at around 3 megapixels with over-saturated colours) but even consumer cameras create 10 or 12 megapixelÂ images today and the in-camera processing has got a lot better (as has the availability of affordable software for post-processing).Â Maybe the official photographer is waiting for the Bride and Groom to return from honeymoon before releasing the images but, in these days of social networking, Facebook and Flickr have potentially taken away some of the her image sales because friends and family have already shared their pictures from the day.
I know that, technically, my shots were far from spot on: I should have paid more attention to the aperture I used on some of them, for example, and IÂ should haveÂ used a longer lens for the wedding speeches (by then, the 70-200mm zoom was back in the car and I was using a 24-85mm zoom) but I was really, really pleased with a message I received tonight praising my pictures (from the Bride’s mother, no less).Â As I said earlier, I didn’t have any of the pressures of being an “official” photographer -Â and I’m sure the official images will be fantastic when we see them.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m surprised that professional wedding photographers don’t try harder to get their images online before the amateurs get in there.Â Within 24 hours, I saw three online albums from friends and family – and there were some great images.Â Professional photographers work hard to make a living – this one has a great portfolio on her website and some very reasonable prices tooÂ - it seems crazy to throw away image sales by missing out onÂ the guests’ post-wedding excitement.