Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Photography Gripes and Seeing Results!

One of my blogger faves - Nodakademic - posted this very informative post about what it's like to photograph a wedding.  Rather than totally hijack her post with my thoughts-in-general about the world of wedding photography, I thought I'd share over here!

Having watched our photographer in action at a wedding recently, I have no doubt that it's a physically and emotionally tiring job. He was wearing a pair of North Face-type shoes, which my fiancé (his friend) commented were rather scruffy for a wedding, until he started leaping almost ninja-like from rock, to bench, to bit of ruined castle, all to get the perfect shot, without getting in the way of anyone.

The niggle that I do have about wedding photography is why photographers aren't more straightforward with their charging methods. When someone quotes me £1500 for a fancy album that I don't want, or £3000 for the jpegs as they don't want the quality of their work to be compromised by cheap printing or online sharing, it's hard not to be really confused about what exactly the role of a wedding photographer is.

Our wedding is not a piece of art, it's a day from which we'd like visual mementoes, and we don't want to have to rely on friends/family members (like we would at a regular party) to give up their party time - so we hire a photographer. We want them to have photography skills, an inquisitive nature, and a keen eye for detail.

That's where the first issue arises - with the increased popularity of recreational photography, there are more and more alleged professionals popping up with no more skill than I have with a camera.

While the improved accessibility is wonderful, and competition is healthy, the fact that these lower-skilled photographers are charging as much as the good ones is just not on. We, the laymen, are not always equipt to make the best decision regarding photography - we may naively fall in love with the details of a wedding and confuse that with good photography; a good-looking couple can also sway us; and the number of photographers peddling tales of celebrity clients is amazing. I know it's all a case of caveat emptor, but the accountant in me is just crying out for industry regulation!

My dream photographer? Someone who says "I'm going to be with you for X hours; travelling for Y hours; processing for Z hours. My hourly rate for onsite work is £A; my hourly rate for travelling is £B and my hourly rate for processing work is £C." They then charge for products at cost plus mark-up, like a regular business does.

I'd be happy to pay a handsome hourly rate to get exactly what I want - nothing more, nothing less. Good photography is a great skill, and it should be rewarded - but an industry where there is such emotion attached - it is rare to hear a bride confess that the photographer had been "just ok" - and where repeat custom is almost non-existent, I'm not sure that fair rewards are being paid.

I'm currently in negotiations with a boudoir photography company (I shall report more later!) who charged £50 for an hour-long shoot including five minutes with a make-up artist, and one 5" by 7" print. The next level up is four 5" by 7" prints, for £250! Not only were there not four that I *loved*, but this is a gift for the groom - but having already bought him a beautiful watch, I'm really not planning on spending even more. We've got a wedding to pay for, after all! 

I offered them a further £75 for a second print - there are two that I love - but they declined, saying that they felt their packages provided good value. Um... Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't buying more than you want kind of go against the principles of good value? Sort of why I'm not allowed to fill my trolley with the 10p-a-punnet tomatoes that are just about to go off. 

So, I'm just sticking with one photo. For the cost they have incurred providing the photographer and the make-up artist, not to mention the overheads -  a pretty studio; hefty marketing; two reception staff - they are reaping a total of £50, simply because they didn't want to compromise. And for the baby bump picture I was planning in the future? I'll be looking elsewhere.

Couldn't just leave you without sharing a pic of my super-slummy lunch! Half a vegetarian lasagne from Sainsbury's; brussels sprouts and spring greens, all on a tasty corn tortilla with lashings of extra virgin olive oil. 

Here's a little story about EVOO, as the food bloggers call it: some time ago, I read an article in goodness-only-knows-what magazine, but a chef who said that you should never use EVOO for cooking, because it loses its flavour - only ever for dressings and such. It was one of those things like saying "hippopotami" or naming your child after a celebrity - people do it to appear refined, but actually show themselves to be less so than if they hadn't tried in the first place. Well... Ha! Mr Snooty Chef. Call me unrefined, but I think that EVOO tastes delicious when used in cooking, and I definitely notice that it tastes fruitier than normal olive oil.

As a result of this discovery, I have decided that any calories I have left over at the end of the day (according to my beloved MyNetDiary app) will be used in a big ol' drizzle of olive oil in my supper. It makes even the diet-iest of meals taste like a treat - and the presence of good fats means that my body isn't going to freak out that I'm eating less and exercising more.

So... I should probably share some of my results thus far - 

Whoop! The dotty line is what the scales say; the solid line is the TrueWeight smoothing out. And... The dress is fully zipping up!! Relief. Now I can just get back to slow and steady health-improvement.

As an aside - I apologise if anyone felt that my use of actual monetary figures was a little crass - I just felt that quantities were necessary to make the illustration. x


  1. Agree on the photography and agree on the EVOO (incidentally my favourite acronym!). In fact EVOO is my favourite food acompaniment (sp?) ever!

    And fantabulous well done on the progress - completely amazing and so glad the dress zips!

    Please pop the photos up in a month? Oooh... please tell me you are doing a RMW piece?!

  2. Oh I'd love to, if they'll have me, and if I can convince my photographer! I love RMW so much - it is without a doubt the most accessible wedding blog out there.