July 2, 2013

Wedding Photographer Misconceptions Part I: We Just Point And Shoot.

I’m starting a blog series about Wedding Photographer Misconceptions. These are things that the normal, average non-photographer often thinks we professional photographers do. I’m not saying everyone, but many people. And I know because it’s been implied to me before, either when I’ve been working a wedding, or when people learn what my job is. These are also things my hubby thought before I taught him (quickly) otherwise. So far it’s a 5 or 6-part series…but that very well could expand to more!  ;)



Don’t Wedding Photographers Just Point-And-Shoot?

After all, that’s the name of those smaller, compact cameras right? So photographers just have a bigger expensive black fancy one…it still does the same thing, just BETTER quality! And only because it’s more expensive.


I can’t recount the number of times I’ve been told something along the following lines, during a wedding/photoshoot:


“The pictures look so vibrant on your camera!!”

“I want THAT camera!”

“I wish I had that camera so I could take amazing pictures…”

And my favorite…

“Your camera takes SUCH incredible pictures!


Notice a theme at all?  :)

Usually it’s said mid-wedding by a well-meaning guest, and I don’t have much time to chat, so I just smile & nod.

But for those who think they are giving this as some form of a compliment….it’s not. In fact, it’s somewhat hurtful (even though we know they don’t mean it in that way, they just aren’t aware), because it’s giving the credit to the object*, not the person creating the art.

What’s being said in that sentence is that the camera does all the work, when in fact, it’s the opposite! Yes, I use a nice expensive camera, but I shoot in manual. Which means I do ALL of the thinking for the camera, I’m controlling each of the settings in the camera. Shutter-speed, aperture, ISO, (all on different dials and affect the photo in different ways, ie. blur, depth of field, graininess) what lens I’m using. I even back-button focus, which means I’m controlling the focus point as well! For EVERY SINGLE SHOT I take, the entire wedding day. And the settings don’t stay the same all day either! Light constantly changes. The sun goes behind a cloud, then back out again. (Just like the pupils in your eyes adjust to the brightness change, so must my camera settings). We go from the ceremony location to the reception, to where the family pictures are being taken, then bridal party, then just the bride & groom pictures. Every time we move locations, the settings change. And sometimes within that location they’ll change! Or if I just move for another angle, guess what? Re-adjust settings. Now there’s more light behind the bride, compensate. All day, changing, moving those dials with my photography knowledge in mind, to get the perfect exposure.

Plus there’s just so many things that a photographer learns that a camera doesn’t take into account, even if you were shooting in auto (which is where the camera does all the thinking, you don’t control anything, just like a point-and-shoot type camera). What lens is best for each situation? (bride getting makeup on, vs First Dance pictures). How to capture light, and rim light. About lens compression. Open shade. Kelvin and white balance. Off-camera-flash & TTL. How to get pretty Bokeh. This is even skipping the basics like what shutter speed to stay above for each lens, how to shoot at noon (the worst time), framing in camera, rule of thirds, etc.

I hope that list didn’t scare you!! That’s just a sampling of what your wedding photographer already knows & takes into account on your wedding day, or is currently learning (because it’s never-ending what we can learn)! When I started photography, I thought it would be pretty easy, after all, I already took decent photos. Then you realize just how much there is to learn. Oh, and that the photos that you thought were good…really aren’t so hot.  ;)  So then you really start to learn! My hubby can tell you (by the messy house we had for a while) that I spent an INCREDIBLE amount of time, effort & money learning about photography and building my business from scratch. It is not easy. That list is just the tip of the iceberg for all the info we photographers learn to make stunning photos for our clients.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…getting a bit into the reason professional wedding photographers charge what they do, and why they’re worth it, will be the final part in my series. After I’ve explained much else that you didn’t know about us & how we work, and just how much work we really actually do. So back to it, the conclusion of this part of the series is…


That basically, it boils down to: no, I don’t just press one button all day, I don’t just point & shoot. I could hand off my expensive camera & lenses to a random average guest at the wedding…and the pictures they get would be nowhere near the same level as the ones I or another professional wedding photographer (who’s not just starting out & it’s their second wedding) could take! There is SO MUCH going on behind-the-scenes (AKA, in our brains!! They never stop running!) the whole time during a wedding.

As another example or analogy: Would you ever go up to an artist who’s painting a beautiful landscape, and say “Wow, where did you get those brushes?? I need to get some so I can paint like that!” Or go up to a professional pianist between songs & say, “This piano plays such beautiful songs!!” Of course not. Because you realize that it’s the pianist who spent very much time learning to read music, practicing & playing their art. And sure, it might sound better on a grand piano than a lil ol’ keyboard (same reason photographers upgrade to better cameras) but it’s still them playing. It’s simply not as well-known that professional wedding photographers have spent so much time continually perfecting their art, that the cameras are simply their instruments! So that’s the reason for this post…to clear that up, get the knowledge out there, so maybe we photographers won’t get that well-meant ‘compliment’ anymore!  :)


Hope you learned something about how much your wedding photographer works behind-the-scenes & all that they’ve learned to get where they are, to capture those beautiful wedding photos of yours! Give them a hug next time you see them running around mid-wedding, and order them to take a deep breath & just relax for a moment!!  ;) They will LOVE your for it!

<3 <3 <3 <3

Stay tuned for Wedding Photographer Misconceptions Part II: Weddings are easy.


*I’m not saying the expensive camera has nothing to do with it. Sure, better glass in the more expensive lenses does make for clearer photos, a more expensive camera will give me better photos when using a high ISO in a low-light situation, having a lower aperture lens will give you better bokeh, etc. And this is why wedding photographers do upgrade to the more costly camera gear, because we know it’s worth it for the better photos that we know we can get from this certain camera & lens, the better photos that we want for our clients.

This is also why, when a friend or someone asks me about which beginner dslr camera to buy when they’re getting a new nice camera, I tell them it’s only worth buying a dslr over a (quarter-of-the-price) point-and-shoot camera if they’re going to take the time to invest into the camera & learn it. Otherwise, if you stay in auto, you are just point-and-shooting, and the pictures will just turn out maybe one bit better than the actual point-and-shoot cameras would…

Blessings <3


<3 <3 <3 <3

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