I don’t usually like to fill my blog with a lot of talk. This is a photo blog. We all know the bride was beautiful, the couple was special and you could feel the love in the air. However, today I do have something to say about wedding photography. Recently, a friend of mine hired a photographer who was completely misleading about her skills and ended up being totally inexperienced. This photographers website had a number of natural light photographs that appeared to be cute and nice. At first glance perhaps they knew what they were doing. They had a Facebook page with thousands of followers and categorized it as a professional service. The service was anything but professional. My friend cried and fumed upon arrival of her photos. After almost 8hrs of shooting, this photographer barely produced 100 photos of her wedding. They were badly composed, poorly lit and look as if a child took them. During the day there were so many missed moments and photo mistakes. Family shot in front of big screen tv? Yikes. Cut off faces in the wedding party photos. Terrible.
In this new digital era, where photography and photo editing is at everyone’s fingertips, and darkrooms are almost a thing of the past, everyone can be a photographer (or at least they may think so). “Professional photographers” are on every corner now, dozens in every town, thousands in every city. When cruising the world wide web looking for information about this- I found funny definition:
MWAC (noun): 1. a mom with a camera; 2. new moms with new half-way decent cameras suddenly thinking they are pros and charging for their half-a$$ work undercutting real photographers; 3. a shoot-and-burner who spends little time figuring out the science, art and finer mechanics of photography or the industry and charges below industry-standard pricing.
Although a generalization and somewhat harsh, it’s kinda true. Where I live these MWAC are everywhere undercutting me. Don’t even get me started on “mini sessions” and everyone copying each other. (Haven’t we all seen enough babies in baskets, fur, toques, crowns and buckets. And who invented cake smash?) I recently heard from an acquaintance that she hired this type of photographer for family photos and was told by the photographer that it had to be done outside as she did not know lighting. Ummm what? They didn't hire me because this photographer was super cheap. Wonderful.
Essentially, what it boils down to is that these MWAC that are competing with companies such as Walmart and Sears for family/baby photography. They have their mini session marathons and pretty much give every client the same photo. For the most part I think their clients are okay with it. Those who value photography and want something different will look for more. BUT when it comes to wedding photography do you really want to hire Walmart to shoot your wedding? No.
So who do you hire? Higher or lower prices do not determine if someone is a professional. If someone is extremely high priced, it does not necessarily mean they are the best in the area either. Sometimes price will mimic skill set and abilities, but often times, it will not.
There is something that I tell brides that contact me all the time. Photographers put their best work on their sites. Anyone who shoots a 1000-2000 photos at a wedding will have two that worked out and be able to add to their portfolio. Ask to see a wedding from start to finish, not just the greatest hits. I have one on my proofing site to show potential clients at all times. You’ll weed out the wannabes, hacks and lazy fauxtographers.