Dave Ainley specializes in wedding photography in the Spokane, Washington area
People all over the country took full advantage of the magic of Christmas and got engaged this holiday season. Maybe you’re one of them, and are now facing the enormous task of planning your own wedding. Since this process can often be a painstaking one, consuming nearly every conversation you and your spouse-to-be will have over the next several months and potentially adding stress to your already busy lives, you’ll likely be looking for ways to ease some of those strains. So, I figured I’d offer some professional advice from the perspective of an established wedding photographer with close to 20 years experience in the industry.
For those of you whose lives are drastically changing in 2018 as you enter into one of the most exciting life adventures ever, I hope to provide some valuable insight that will clear the muddy waters of planning your wedding, at least as far as your photography is concerned!
A lot of us have friends or family members who own nice cameras. Many of them have decided to venture into the world of “professional photography”, and some of those photographers are even trying their hands at weddings.
our philosophy goes here about shooting weddings and engagement photos.
Now that you’re engaged and have announced it to social media, some of your friends with budding photographic careers may have reached out to you, offering to photograph your wedding for free, either as a wedding gift, or just so that they can gain experience. It sounds like a pretty amazing deal, right? You get to cross off an expensive component of your wedding budget and they can build up their portfolios! Everyone wins.
Or, maybe you’ve found someone that’s offered to photograph your entire day with the promise to deliver 2,000 edited photos for you to do with as you please for the low price of $1,000. That seems like a pretty good deal until you get your photos back and find out that literally anyone you know could’ve taken them for a $50 gift card to Applebee’s, and now you’ve realized too late just how much $1,000 really is when you’re flushing it down the toilet.
Yes, there’s a major disease that’s plaguing the world of professional photography, and you may very well be at risk of becoming infected. Unfortunately, it’s a disease for which there’s no cure, because your wedding is a once in a lifetime event… or at least that’s the hope, right?
Owning a halfway decent camera and photo editing software does not define a professional photographer. Furthermore, Pinterest is great for many things, but it’ll only provide tracing paper for a photographer to copy someone else’s photos and pass them off as their own.
Thousands of amateur photographers are calling themselves professionals and jumping head-in to the world of wedding photography without the basic understanding of what it takes to be a decent wedding photographer, much less a good one. While their intentions may be great, by hiring an amateur, you‘ll be the one to pay for their mistake.
As an inexperienced photographer, I focused on gaining the actual knowledge of how to operate my camera by taking photography courses. I should’ve further built up my craft with mentorships under established professionals before offering to photograph such intimate and precious moments in the lives of my clients, but I didn’t. As a result, the first few years of Dave Ainley Photography were incredibly stressful, made for more than a few upset clients, and almost caused me to give up on wedding photography altogether.
Being a good wedding photographer takes a lot more than knowing how to properly expose a photograph. Having the personality to nurture a fun and lighthearted atmosphere, the skills to manipulate and capture light, the creativity to compose a photo that breathes life, and understanding how to cater to clients by seeing a project through to completion are concepts that are vitally important when choosing a photographer to capture your life moments. Sadly, it’s nearly impossible to find a well rounded photographer actually worth entrusting with your memories.
So, how do you avoid making the mistake of hiring the wrong person and walking away with bad wedding photos? Do your homework. Be thorough and exhaustive when interviewing potential photographers, and never settle on one based on a price tag. You’ll almost always be disappointed in the end.