Terrible Wedding Photographs – Your Take?

So recently there was this pair of newly-weds who posted some of their crappy (which every cell in me unanimously agree) wedding which undoubtedly went viral on the social media virtual world. And of course, I being a fellow newly-wed took up much interest in this topic, read some opinions online and partook in a similar introspective session as well.

Whether the bride, who was the one who posted the 21 crappy wedding photographs online, had the intention of naming and shaming the photographer in question is anyone’s guess but herself. Some commentators mentioned that even though she did not disclose the identity of the photographer, with the exceptional skills of the “CSI-wannabes” online, it was only a matter of time that they find out who the photographer was.

But it was indeed a surprise to many when the photographer stood forward to defend himself, claiming that those wedding photos that were posted were only a part of the 900+ photos taken and hence, it was not fair to slam him and/or bridal shop (albeit indirectly). He also further claimed that there were several other decent shots (which many netizens have also shot him down saying that there are merely mediocre, which I do not think would come as a surprise too).

So, if you were living under a rock for the past few days, I hope you had enjoy that short and sweet summary of today’s topic 🙂

Below are some of my 2-cents worth on this matter. Let me know if you’d agree?

  1. Do your homework by checking up on the photographer’s portfolio

I have previously shared some tips on choosing a perfect wedding photographer and I cannot emphasize more how much importance the customer, be it for wedding photography or any other events, should always first do their homework before engaging the photographer.

It is not difficult to key in the relevant keywords into the search bar of Google and more so, not an uphill task to read reviews online based on others’ experience. If your wedding/event really means something to you, whipping out some of your precious time to stay glued to your screen for few hours just to ensure that your photographs will not turn out crap is definitely worth the deal, I’d say.

After all, what is that compared to sticking to your electronic gadgets just to shop online/play virtual games/read blogs (like mine!)?

A commonly asked question is, what if there are no/very few online reviews of the photographer?

That can only mean a few things.

  1. He has not been in the photography industry long enough for people to engage and review on – which you need to quickly translate its meaning to – INADEQUATE RELEVANT EXPERIENCE *WARNING WARNING*
  2. He has photography experiences but nothing found in relation to wedding photography. So what now? Although I am not photography guru, one thing you need to bear in mind is that capturing special moments during your wedding day is totally opposite of say, fashion photography, architectural photography, documentary photography…well you get the idea.

A good wedding photographer needs to be able to capture the special moments at the right time and right place. There has to be a focus. Looking at the 21 crappy photographs, there is an obvious lack of focus. Worse still, there is one picture which should be focusing on the bridal couple where they were exchanging their wedding bands but disappointingly, the photographer actually captured not only a “flat” look but included a man standing in between of the bridal couple in the back ground.

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Coupled with poor editing skills, adding on unnecessary filters that seems like your 3-year old kiddo could do too, has made things worse. Who the heck highlights unimportant areas and use blue filters instead (even though the photographer has defended this point by claiming a “generation gap” reason).

*WARNING WARNING*

So if you cannot find anything which relates to his experience on wedding photography, this should also be one of your considerations before making an informed decision.

  1. Meet him up personally with your other half

As much as I should not advocate and instill a sense of skepticism, I would strongly encourage couples to meet the photographer up. Besides getting to know more of one of your most important people on your wedding day, never believe anything you chance upon online.

I am not saying that there is a high possibility that most of the online pictures posted by the photographers do not belong to them or are heavily photo-shopped, but it is best to view the actual pictures with your own eyes. In that way, you will be able to gauge the quality of the photos and skills of the photographer.

  1. Quality over quantity

This relates to two issues.

Firstly, having 900+ photographs does not make you a perfect or a darn good photographer. It is ALWAYS about capturing the moments on that day, where emotions are taken high on a roller-coaster, so much so when one minute you are laughing away with your guests, the next moment you are sobbing because you are now the all-grown-up-kiddo and “leaving” your parents’ home to live independently with your other half, unfolding a new chapter with him/her, while finding yourself sobbing again(damn you tear ducts!) during the exchange of the marriage vows/thank-you speech because you are overjoyed or deeply touched.

Unlike pre-wedding photos which are staged, these special moments are au naturel, and a good wedding photographer should be able to look out for such moments to capture.

During our meet-up prior to our wedding, our wedding photographer, Shaun, mentioned that he does not believe in committing to a fixed number of photographs because he feels that there is no point in snapping pictures just for the sake of snapping and meeting the promised quantity. The hubs and I gave a good thought about it and we agreed. 🙂

It is NEVER about the quantity, but quality. Of course, for quality to exist, an appropriate and reasonable quantity should be reached too.

Secondly, on the notion, but relating to a separate topic – price of the wedding package. There were some netizens too quick to jump into conclusion that because the newly-weds paid a relatively cheaper price, they should have known best and hence, should accept such lousy quality of wedding photographs.

Now now, does that even make sense?

Remember, quantity does not always equate to quality.

Wedding packages can be exorbitantly high, coupled with other financial commitments, expenses can be a killer to most of us. Budgeting is always the right and prudent thing to do before committing yourself.

Perhaps the couple had a tight budget to adhere to?

I know, even with the tight budget, they can always find someone better elsewhere and this brings me back to point 1 and 2. Having a tight budget does not mean that you need to settle for anything less. Needless to say, your wedding should be one of the BIGGEST MOMENTS in your life, so why in the right mind would you agree to engage a wedding photographer whom you have no slightest inkling of his relevant experience, portfolio and well, personality?

That being said, I do not think it is completely fair to claim that because of the relatively cheaper wedding package paid, thus the couple should accept the lousy skills of the photographs, notwithstanding the fact that it is a known-fact that the more popular ones charge a much higher fees.

This brings me to another point.

The photographer in contention has spoken up and disclosed that he was only paid S$350 for a 10-hour full day wedding photography and undisputedly, the rest of the $ would most probably enter the deep pockets of the bridal boutique. Unlike freelance photographers, it is difficult to determine how much fees are actually paid to the photographers themselves. For wedding packages offered by bridal boutiques, a higher price does not necessarily mean that the photographer has superb skills because more often than not, the bigger profit-pie is eaten up by the bridal boutiques themselves.

In that case, so how do couples decide if it is gonna be value-for-money since wedding packages have hidden costs and do not provide a breakdown of costs?

*chants point 1 and 2*

Just do your bloody homework before you engage your wedding photographer lah.

Simple.

You have a choice whether to engage their in-house photographer, you ALWAYS have a choice.

And remember this,

 

MEMORIES FADE BUT A PICTURE WILL LAST A LIFETIME

Nevertheless, I hope the parties can reach an amiable settlement and if the newly-weds are entitled to a refund, then good for them. 🙂

Otherwise, let this be an expensive lesson learnt. For every negligent mistake done on your part, there is always a price to pay (pun intended).

Oh, and even if they did not manage to get a refund, because of this controversy, the newlyweds were offered free photo shoot by some photographers (talk about turning into every disaster into a commercial marketing tool! *rolls eyes*).

Lastly, another kudos to the bride’s sense of humour whether there was any tinge of sarcasm or not (which I believe not). I doubt I can even bring myself to take things that lightly if I were the bride. Ahem.