Posts Tagged ‘Wedding’

Wedding photographer’s work lambasted by clients in detailed 30-page report

12 Jan

A dissatisfied newlywed couple in Hong Kong have reportedly published a 30-page report that extensively details the various issues they have with photos taken by their wedding photographer.

The critique, which was released on Chinese social media and later published in a report by DCFever, is said to be written like a lab report, including highlighted explanations of alleged issues in individual images. Many of the images even included a rule-of-thirds overlay with specific compositional mistakes pointed out.

According to DCFever’s video, the critique was “leaked” onto social media, where it has since been heavily discussed. Complaints reportedly include overexposed backgrounds and framing issues, with some commentators agreeing and others backing the photographer by saying that the photos hadn’t yet been retouched.

It is unclear based on DCFever’s written report whether the photos had been retouched before the couple received them, and whether the photographer was paid for their work. But if you want to see the full report for yourself, DCFever published several screenshots with thumbnails of the alleged wedding photos… for better or worse.

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Photo story of the week: A spectacular wedding shoot in Norway

19 Nov

The bride and groom, Tim and Kylie, were married two years ago in Long Beach and between all the formalities and rainy weather they were left feeling a little empty handed and did not get the photos they imagined. They wanted to remarry and to be intentional about making their day about everything they could ever imagine.

They are both very into fitness and outdoorsy people and love hiking locally around Laguna Beach, CA. They were intrigued about writing their own vows and going to one of the most magical places on earth that has recently become very popular: the Trolltunga in Norway.

None of us had been to Norway prior. We were worried about there being crowds at the Trolltunga or the visibility upon arriving to the top. We checked the weather every day for a week before arriving and every day it said it would be sunny. But on the day of their wedding, heavy rains were in the forecast. Although it rained throughout the hike, we miraculously had somewhat of clear skies with epic clouds that added a little bit of drama to the composition of the photos.

The hike took us a little longer than it typically would: 14 hours total. We all had backpacks weighing around 35lbs. We also had rogue weather… it would be windy, raining and then just stop. Although it was definitely physically difficult, your brain is so stimulated from being surrounded by such beauty that it makes it enjoyable. There is some out of this world scenery and half the time you can’t even believe what’s around you.

It is our instruct as humans to want to capture what is around us to make it last and sink in. So as you can imagine being in an unbelievable place with something around every corner you want to snap every second. But on this particular hike the main goal was to be intentional in capturing the story of what was happening, really zoning in on the dialog between the couple and place.

For me, this particular wedding and photos represent one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across in shooting photography: the mental game. I literally had to jump over obstacle after obstacle, but pushing through always pays off. There’s nothing like being at the top of an immense landscape or mountain, literally or figuratively, looking into your viewfinder, and knowing that everything that came before was so worth it.

Nick Falangas is a professional photographer, half of the husband and wife duo that make up Priscila Valentina Photography. He is constantly striving to push the boundaries and create exceptional photography.

He has shot hundreds of events all over the world. You can follow along on Instagram @PriscilaValentina_Photography, Facebook, Website and Blog.

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Video: Why the Profoto A1 is a ‘gamechanger’ for wedding photographers

09 Oct

Daniel Inskeep and Rachel Gulotta of popular photography YouTube channel Mango Street Lab recently got to test out the Profoto A1—an ultra-high-end $ 1,000 speedlight that Profoto is calling “the world’s smallest studio flash.” The flash has raised a lot of eyebrows with that steep price tag, but as they explain in their short ‘review’ of the A1, Daniel and Rachel believe this is a ‘gamechanger’ for wedding photographers.

Why is that exactly? Because while it might look like a speedlight, it offers a combination of power, simplicity, and reliability that has the duo tossing their Canon speedlights in the bin.

Their adulation for these flashes really comes down to three main advantages:

1. Simplicity and Ease of Use – The menus are easy to navigate and syncing multiple flashes is a cinch.

2. Built-in Air Remote – No need to purchase a separate air remote, just use the A1 on your camera to control all of your other Profoto lights.

3. Fast Recycle Time – The duo’s favorite feature by far, this ensures that they don’t miss key shots, even when they’re running on only a partial charge.

Check out the video to hear their thoughts on this light, and share your own in the comments down below. Are you considering the Profoto A1? Are the advantages worth the price tag? And if they’re not, what would you recommend instead?

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This crazy fire-and-water wedding portrait was shot in a single exposure

06 Aug

Photographer Markus Hofstaetter doesn’t shy away from challenging projects. Inspired by a previous fire-background hot-rod photo shoot he did, Hofstaetter had the idea to try this same technique with a portrait. There would just be one key difference: this one would be a single exposure.

A photo shoot like this is all about safety, and Hofstaetter did everything he could to ensure his subjects, assistants, and the backyard stayed nice and unburnt.

He got himself a heat-proof suit from the Muckendorf-Wipfing fire department, moistened the entire backyard, cut away stray branches to ensure he had enough room, had damp sheets at the ready, and actually built a little pond in his backyard. That last part did keep the couple a bit safer, but it was actually all about getting a killer reflection in the final photograph.

You can see how the photo shoot came together in the behind the scenes photos and video below:

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Once it came time to shoot the actual photo, he used a Canon 5D Mark IV and 35mm lens set to F22. The full exposure was 4.4 seconds long. The fire background was made by dipping a 6-foot-long Kevlar wick into one liter of lamp oil, hanging it on an aluminum stick, and setting it ablaze.

The exposure lasted as long as it took for the fire to cross the frame, with a nice burst from two Hensel strobes to light the couple.

The final photograph took 4 or 5 tries, as you can see from the BTS video above, but in the end Hofstaetter managed to capture the memorable portrait he was after:

The photo has made its way around the Internet over the past week, but something people don’t know is that Hofstaetter’s initial plan was to capture the shot on both digital and large format film (his specialty).

“You see there also a large format camera (Linhof Master Technika) in one photo,” he tells DPReview. “I wanted to shoot film too, but it was too stressful to handle both cameras, because I had to light the fire too. Plus, I couldn’t get the analog camera in a good position with the lenses I had available… next time I’ll try to shoot it on film too, and maybe get a wider angle lens for the Linhof.”

To see more of Hofstaetter’s work, head over to his website, follow him on Instagram, or follow along on his blog as he continues to experiment with all sorts of crazy ideas.

All photos © Markus Hofstaetter and used with permission.

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Wedding photographer awarded $1.08M in defamation lawsuit against bride and groom

02 Aug

Photographers are cheering the end of a marathon lawsuit today, a case that pinned beleaguered wedding photographer Andrea Polito against blogger Neely Moldovan and her husband, who set out to destroy her career after a minor disagreement over their wedding photos.

The whole dispute began over a $ 125 photo album cover that the couple didn’t want to pay for.

Polito had photographed the couple’s wedding in October of 2014, and when Moldovan followed up a few weeks later to ask about the photos, the photographer reminded her that the photos wouldn’t be released until the album was completed. According to the contract they had signed, the Moldovans would have to submit an order form and select a cover photo.

The couple balked, and Polito sent an email saying she would absorb the cost of the album cover to keep them happy. Two days later, she learned that the Moldovans had contacted several local news stations, claiming she was “holding their photos hostage.” In just a few days, this narrative went viral and essentially destroyed Polito’s 13-year-old business. What’s more, the couple gloated about their success online, liked defamatory statements on Yelp and more.

Polito filed a defamation suit against the couple in April of 2015, and on Friday a jury found in Polito’s favor, ordering the Moldovans to pay $ 1.08 million in damages for the “defamatory, disparaging and malicious statements” they made. Polito’s attorney, Dave Wishnew, took to Facebook to celebrate the verdict:

“Freedem of speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” writes Wishnew. “There are real world consequences for maliciously attacking a business online with venom and lies.”

For Polito’s part, she’s relieved, if exhausted:

“I’m emotionally exhausted. This has been a very long battle,” she tells the Dallas Morning News. “Last Friday when the verdict was read I felt a little bit relieved, but most importantly I feel my reputation was restored to myself. What’s been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story.”

The case might not be over yet—as the Moldovans can still appeal the ruling—but this is a big win for photographers everywhere. In the Internet age, when a viral news story can destroy a 13-year career overnight, it’s nice to know that justice is still an attainable goal… even if it does take two and a half years to get there.

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Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

27 Jul

Wedding photography is often thought of as one of the most challenging genres to document. On any given weeding day you need to be a fashion photographer, product, documentary and family photographer all in the space of a few hours. Of these genres, one the hardest aspects to master is photographing the groom pre-wedding while trying to make him feel at ease and relaxed about the experience, while offering posing tips and advice to him.

Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

On the morning of a wedding, have you ever walked into a groom’s house and felt like you could cut tension with a butter knife? Often the groom is nervous knowing that he is about to be the center of attention, so he may find the whole experience daunting and uncomfortable. Your job is to make him feel at home and comfortable so you can create some amazing shots of him for the couple to cherish for years to come.

As a male, I can attest to being nervous about being in front of the camera. So what can you do and say to make your groom, his groomsmen, and family, feel comfortable on the big day? Here are a few general and specific posing tips that will help you break the ice and build some rapport with your groom.

Your approach

Posing groom 03

When you first arrive at the house, walk in without your camera out and do what you would do if you were going out to meet new friends at dinner. Walk in, say hello, introduce yourself, shake hands, and just be nice to everyone. You’d be amazed at how this first simple step will break the ice and help establish rapport.

Remove the groom from the room

If you’re shooting in a house which is full of family and friends it can be somewhat noisy and distracting, especially if you want to create a certain look with your groom. He may be embarrassed or self conscious having photos taken in front of everyone.

Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day

So when it’s time to photograph him alone it is a good idea to find a quiet space in the house and take him there away from all the distractions. This way you’ll be able to get the kinds of photos you want of him without having to try and silence 10 people who are talking in the background.

Make your groom feel like The Fonz

When it comes to photographing the groom, or any male for that matter, you need to make him feel cool like The Fonz on Happy Days! If you give your groom masculine things to do, you’ll never have issues getting him to cooperate and participate.

Posing groom 01 Posing groom 09

Ask him to sit on a chair and lean forward with a glass of scotch in his hands or lean against a wall with his hands in his pockets while bringing his chest off the wall. What guy wouldn’t feel cool doing that? Once you have his trust, he will do anything you ask. He just needs to feel strong, cool, and confident.

Give him something to do with his hands

Men can sometimes feel and look awkward if they have nothing to do with their hands. So give him something to do with his hands like buttoning up his jacket, holding a glass of whisky, putting his hands in his pockets, holding a hat on the brim or holding his jacket. Whatever you ask him to do just make sure it’s something he would normally do with his hands so it looks natural and unforced.

Posing Tips for the Groom in Wedding Photography

Always show the groom what you want him to do

Explaining what you want your groom or subject to do can sometimes be confusing for them, especially if they’re a visual person. If you want him to sit or look a certain way, show him by doing it yourself first. This method is called mirroring, and 99% of the time you will get what you want after demonstrating how to do it.

Make him laugh

There’s usually a joker in every wedding party or group. So once you find out who he is, give him a few cues and watch him get all the boys laughing naturally without being prompted to do so. This will bring out everyone’s real character.

Posing Tips for the Groom in Wedding Photography


Once you have built trust with the boys, you will see it come through in your photos. Suddenly everything will be real. If you’re not confident posing or directing men, grab a friend and practice on him so when it comes to the real deal you’re 100% confident.

Do you have any other posing tips for working with groom on the wedding day? Please share any tips or questions you have in the comments section below.

The post Posing Tips for the Groom on the Wedding Day by Andrew Szopory appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

18 Jul

One of the most challenging and misunderstood elements in posing hands and how to use them correctly. Hands are so important in an image because they can say so much. They can convey masculinity, femininity, strength, softness and between couples, they can show love and affection.

6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

So the big question is what can we do with hands? How can we make them look elegant and soft? Where should they be placed to convey the most realistic emotion and feeling? Here are a few helpful tips and ideas to keep in mind for your next wedding, portrait, or fashion shoot that may help correct the most common hand posing issues.

#1 – Avoid showing the widest part of the hand

To help make hands look elegant, simply avoid having the back of the hand facing towards the camera as that is the widest part of the hand. This is important because the hands in proportion to the subject’s face can make the hands look larger than they actually are, or can make feminine hands look quite masculine. A simple twist of the wrist, so the smallest part of the hand is showing, is all it takes to change the look and feel of an image from average to wow.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#2 – Soft hands

Female hands need to appear soft, delicate, and elegant. To achieve this, it’s a matter of conveying to your bride or model to relax or soften their hands. A simple way of demonstrating how to do this is to hold your hand out then fully tense it up and then allow it to drop and relax slightly even wiggle the fingers so they are loose. Think of it like a big balloon, you’re just letting out a little air so they don’t look so hard and stiff.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#3- Bend the wrist

Bending the wrist (a slight bend so it’s not straight) is such a simple method to break a straight line and create more shape and texture in a shot. Remember the female form looks best when we can see beautiful natural curves, this includes the wrists.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#4 – Have the hands doing something that appears natural

People often ask, “What can I get my model or bride to do with her hands? I’m stuck for ideas.” This one is one of the simplest issues to address. You could have her holding the flowers, her veil, her dress, fixing her headpiece, adjusting her engagement ring, putting on perfume, touching her man softly, the list goes on. Just make sure it’s something she would normally do so it appears natural, otherwise, it may look a little posed and stuffy.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#5 – Posing hands with couples

When photographing the bride and groom, think about where you would place your hands if you were cuddling your wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Have the bride’s hands touching the groom’s hand, forearm, chest, or face in a way that says, “I love you”.

Have the groom’s hands on the bride’s waist or on her hands while saying, “I love where your hands are”. This can really change the feel and emotion of your photos.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

#6 – Don’t amputate hands or fingers

When you have two hands overlapping each other it can appear that a hand is missing due to your angle and/or crop. This can happen when the bride has her hands around the back of the groom’s neck or you’re shooting a portrait side-on (as pictured below). The hand closest to the camera is on the other hand making her look like she has no hands or the fingers are amputated. To avoid this just switch hands over so you can see finger tips from one of the hands.

Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography


With all these tips in mind, the most important thing to remember is that hands should be placed in a natural realistic location doing something they would naturally do. So I suggest getting a friend or model and going out and just practicing for an hour or so to see what works and what doesn’t. This way you’ll have confidence on your next the wedding day or portrait shoot.

6 Tips for Posing Hands in Wedding and Portrait Photography

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Why Couples Aren’t Booking You for Their Wedding Photography

03 Jul

Nobody wants to hire you for their wedding photography. It’s not fair, is it?

Your photographs are gorgeous, you’ve created a shiny new website, and you’re more loveable than a bucket of kittens. So why isn’t your phone ringing off the hook with people wanting to hire you for their wedding?

Be different - Why Aren't Any Couples Booking You for Their Wedding Photography

It’s easy to start doubting yourself and going a little crazy. Maybe your photographs aren’t as good you thought. Are your prices too high, or too low? Perhaps all your competitors are secretly dating wedding planners?

The reality is that these days it requires a little more savvy to be a successful wedding photographer. It’s because there may actually be more wedding photographers on the planet than there are stars in the solar system. So, let’s help you shine brighter than everyone else in your area with some simple, practical ideas for getting more wedding photography bookings.

Your photography style

There are so many different styles of wedding photography. Photojournalistic, posed, quirky and fun, romantic, fashion, traditional, highly retouched, and so on.

Pick a style that you love to photograph and then specialize in it. Only show that style of photography in all your marketing. Ideally, it’s a style that most of your competitors aren’t using. The more defined you can make it, the better because people who love that style will be drawn to you.

Your photography style - Why Aren't Any Couples Booking You for Their Wedding Photography

Yes, you will repel some people, but it’s better to have 20% of people love your work than having 100% of people just say that it’s “nice”.

People buy from people they like and trust

Hiring a wedding photographer is a huge decision for a bride and groom. They have to pay a large sum of money to have a stranger stand by their side all day on one of the most important days of their life. They’ve got so many concerns spinning around their head. For example:

  • Is this photographer going to be rude, or just plain dull?
  • What happens if we don’t like the photographs? After all, most photographers can cobble together a decent portfolio. But can they do a good job in tough conditions?
  • What happens if it rains?
  • Will the photographer be able to cope with my crazy family?
  • Will they actually turn up?!
  • Is it even possible for me to look good in a photograph?
  • Will they be able to keep us on schedule?
  • Will the group photographs be as painfully boring and time-consuming as I fear?

The list goes on.

People buy from people they like and trust - wedding photography

One way to get more wedding inquiries is to handle these concerns within your marketing. When you show a couple that you understand their fears and you can help them, then they’ll start to trust you. If you can do this in an engaging, kind, and entertaining way then they’ll start to like you, too.

So how might you deal with their concerns? The single best way I’ve found is to have a money-back guarantee. However, you shouldn’t simply have a bullet point saying “Money-back guarantee” on your website. Inject some feeling into it.

Explain that you’ve heard all the horror stories about wedding photographers letting down couples and that your signed guarantee is there to put their mind at ease. It also demonstrates that you’re confident in your abilities and that you truly care about your clients. This one thing will instantly make you stand out and build trust.

People buy from people they like and trust -wedding photography

Be different

If you’re the same as every other photographer then the only reason to hire you is the price. We’ve already talked about differentiating yourself through your photographic style and through having a guarantee, but there are many other ways to do it.

For example, I choose 70-page A3 sized (29.7 x 42.0cm, or 11.69 x 16.53 inches) wedding albums that can fit 250 photographs in them comfortably. That number of photographs can comfortably tell the whole story of the wedding day, so the bride and groom don’t have to leave out any images. This avoids awkward conversations with Auntie Betty where the couple has to explain why she didn’t make the cut because they put their friends in instead.

There are lots of great slideshow services (like Animoto) available for you to create beautiful, animated, audio-visual presentations within a few minutes. Couples love them and you can even create presentations made up of their childhood photographs which can be played for the entertainment of guests during the reception. I use a projector and screen to present the show and it’s guaranteed to get the parents a little tearful.

Be different - Why Aren't Any Couples Booking You for Their Wedding Photography

Photograph different, offer different products and stand out from the crowd.

Or, how about creating a framed portrait of the bride from the engagement session to give to the bride’s parents as a surprise gift on the wedding day?

Sometimes you don’t have to be different to stand out. You simply have to explain something that other photographers don’t make clear. For example, many photographers scout venues before the wedding. It helps then find the best places for the romantic and group photographs. They get to see where the best light will be and the best compositions can be made. Most photographers never mention this in their marketing, so if you do then it cements your position in the market as a helpful and dedicated professional.

Reveal your personality

Again, people hire people they like and trust. So, give prospects a hint at what it would be like to work with you by injecting your personality in your marketing. The About Page on your website is really important. If a couple doesn’t connect with you after reading it, they’re far less likely to get in touch.

Rocking the client meeting - wedding photography

Just like with your photography it’s okay if your personality doesn’t gel with everyone. If you’re a bit quirky that’s fine. If you’re obsessed with dogs then talk about that. People will connect with you over the weirdest stuff. But if you give them nothing to connect with then you won’t attract anyone.

The less you reveal about yourself the more unfriendly or distant you may seem. These days even large businesses are starting to understand that people don’t like dull “corporate speak”.

Use social proof

People want to get a feel for what it would be like to work with you. That’s why people love to read reviews and testimonials before going on holiday or watching a movie. The same applies to photographers.

Testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools you can use. Never stop asking for them. Don’t just put them on one page of your website, use them on every page and in your other marketing. Make them impossible to miss. Ask clients to put them on your Google business page too, as this will quickly help your search engine ranking.

Use social proof - Why Aren't Any Couples Booking You for Their Wedding Photography

Another great way of showing clients how great you are to work with is to create a behind the scenes video. Ask a second shooter to film you in action at a wedding. The best moment is when you’re charming the guests during the group photographs, or perhaps the romantic ones. It’s the perfect way of providing absolute proof that you would be a joy to work with on the big day for their wedding photography.

Rocking the client meeting

Most wedding photographers meet their couples in person, or over Skype before they’re booked. Sadly, all the fantastic marketing in the world can unravel quickly if you screw this bit up.

One of the most common mistakes photographers make is they start talking about their packages 30 seconds after meeting.
A better approach is to make the whole meeting about the client and what they want. You do that by asking lots of strategic questions. For example:

  • What are you looking for in your wedding photographer?
  • What’s the most important thing to you about your wedding?
  • Describe your wedding in three words
  • Is there anything you’re worried about?

This shows that you care about them and what they want. It also gives you a nice segue into explaining some of the things that separate you from the competition.

For example, when couples tell me, “we hate weddings with formal group photographs with everyone looking bored”, that gives me the perfect excuse to bring up something unique I do. I bring a bottle or two of bubbly to spice up the formal photographs. One of the bottles is given as a prize to whoever performs the best during the group photographs. This always leads to a bit of banter and of course you get great photographs of the bubbly being popped open.

Rocking the client meeting wedding photography

You should only start talking about your wedding packages once you’ve been chatting about their wedding for about 30 minutes. That is enough time for you to build rapport with them, find out what they’re looking for, and to explain how your unique services can help them.

When presenting your packages, start with your finest (biggest and best). After you’ve explained each package, ask them how they feel about it. Some clients never even bother looking at the smaller packages if they love the top one.

When you work down the packages like this it’s hard for people to then take the smallest package because they’ve just heard you talk about all these fantastic things you can do for them.

Get the booking

Rocking the client meeting - wedding photography

Don’t forget to ask for the sale! It’s so easy to have a nice long chat, only to realize that the couple has left and you never asked them to hire you. It’s your job to gently nudge them into a decision. As you go through the packages and find out which is their favorite, just come right out and say, “Fantastic, I’d really love to work with you because you’re such an amazing couple and your wedding sounds fantastic. A deposit is just $ XXX amount and I can take a credit card if you’d like to reserve the date now. How does that sound?”

Simply asking for the booking in a positive and enthusiastic way will dramatically increase your conversion rate. But, you’ll still get some couples say they want to think about it and get back to you. There are many ways to handle that situation. The underlying strategy is to keep them talking because the longer they’re with you the more likely it is that they’ll book. One response is to say, “I completely understand, but do you mind if I ask how you feel about everything we’ve talked about today?”

Another response would be, “Absolutely, but can I ask what it is you’re looking for, maybe I can help if there’s something on your mind?”

Rocking the client meeting - wedding photography

The trick is to keep digging until you find out what’s keeping them from hiring you right then and there. This is a great time to stress your money-back guarantee because it helps people overcome the fear of choosing the wrong photographer.


This article only scratches the surface on how to book more weddings, but hopefully, you can see that the issue is rarely just price. Sadly, too many wedding photographers respond to a lack of bookings by lowering their price rather than improving their service and the way they connect with couples.

The more you think about how you can serve your clients the better you’ll do. So, which idea resonates the most with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Why Couples Aren’t Booking You for Their Wedding Photography by Dan Waters appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Craigslist ad wants wedding photographer to also shoot the… uh… consummation

02 Jul

The Craigslist ad headline reads ‘All Day Wedding Photographer Needed,’ followed by a small, but extremely important, parenthetical: (see details). That bit is important because when the couple in question says ‘all day,’ what they actually mean is ‘all night long.’

The ad, posted to Craigslist in Wisconsin and sent to PetaPixel by one of its readers, is seeking a wedding photographer who wouldn’t mind sticking around and photographing the couple’s first time. Their consummation. The… moment of truth, if you will.

“We are hoping someone will document the whole day from beginning to end,” reads the ad, innocently enough. “We are specifically hoping someone will document the end, which we are finding difficult to find someone who will.”

Now you see where this is going.

“We have both saved ourselves for marriage and understand our first time will be awkward,” writes the bride and groom. “But [we] do not think it will be that much more awkward for the photographer to be there and we’d really like it documented (in a beautiful and tasteful way).”

So… any boudoir photographers want to take their work to an extremely awkward new level? We’ve got a job prospect for you.

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Ask the staff: wedding season weirdness

02 Jul
Weddings: They’re a cornucopia of creative possibilities, I find them incredibly rewarding and I’ve never had a ‘bad’ wedding as a photographer. That doesn’t mean everything always goes according to plan, though.

It was June of 2012, and I had been blackmailed into photographing my first wedding.

‘If you don’t want to take photos,’ I was told, ‘then we just won’t have any photos.’

One of my best friends from high school was getting married in his backyard with around a dozen of their closest family members, and they were adamant about having a photographer they knew personally, rather than a stranger. So it was really quite a friendly blackmailing.

What the heck, I thought. I quoted them the princely sum of $ 250, and everything was set. Then, just a day or two before the wedding, my car sprung a substantial coolant leak. No worries, my 30-year-old motorcycle would get me there. Probably.

Thankfully, the universe had decided enough was enough, and the day proceeded without incident after I toweled off a bit.

And then it rained on the big day, and though my Yamaha got me there just fine, I arrived slightly behind schedule and absolutely soaking wet. Thankfully, the universe had decided enough was enough, and the day proceeded without incident after I toweled off a bit.

I don’t shoot weddings full time, but I do at least a few every year. I find them creatively challenging as well as rewarding, and so far, there’s not been a ‘bad’ wedding for me as a photographer. That doesn’t mean there aren’t always a few hiccups along the way.

And so, now that wedding season is upon us, we polled ourselves as a staff to find out what sorts of ‘challenges’ we’ve all faced over our years of photographing weddings, and some themes began to emerge.

‘Uncle Bob’

A common tool of choice for an Uncle Bob – an older, preferably double-grip DSLR.

Without fail, most photographers that have shot even a handful of weddings have a story of the affable yet oblivious Uncle Bob. You will know him from the prominence of the large camera dangling from his neck, possibly with his own speedlight attached.

Uncle Bob will good-naturedly ask you what camera you’re shooting with (‘and why is it covered in black tape?’), what aperture you’re using, pronounce ISO like ‘eye-soh,’ and occasionally suggest that you are just doing it wrong.

But while some of us have encountered Uncle Bobs that are more tenacious or hover-y than others, many are friendly, genuinely curious, and if you gently suggest that you need to concentrate and will catch up with them later, you should find yourself in the clear.

Unfortunate urgings of the bridal party, audacious acts of the guests

Many couples will have some idea of the sorts of photos and moments they would like the photographer to capture throughout the day. One of our staff, however, was instructed by the bride to ‘not take any photos showing the front of my face.’ Challenge accepted.

The majority of weddings these days seem to involve a good deal of drinking, and indeed, some guests will refuse to attend without an open bar. An open bar is just common decency (in the U.S., anyway). This is not something that is generally taken advantage of by the photographer for obvious reasons, unless of course the bride and groom confront you and insist that you ‘get wasted.’ One of our staff encountered this from a very stubborn couple, and we surmise that the inevitable crooked horizons were corrected in post.

I was instructed by the bride to “not take any photos showing the front of [her] face.”

A common complaint: friends and family holding up phones, tablets and phablets at just the right spot to ruin a photo. The most egregious example of this was a guest getting up and blocking the aisle just after the bride passed him. The photographer missed the father giving his daughter away, but that’s alright, average attendee, you have it in Apple Photos forever.

And finally, there’s the group shots, where inevitably a family member will stand behind the hired photographer with a phone or compact camera, and snap away. This ordinarily wouldn’t be too much of an issue, except it’s the cause of many an eye-or-face swap in Photoshop, just to make sure everyone’s looking into the right lens.

How does this get worse? Occasionally, that family member’s camera will be in Auto mode and fire the flash with every shot, which will trigger any pre-set optically slaved flashes the photographer has set up. This will ruin the hovering family member’s image, drains flash batteries unnecessarily, and confuses the family being photographed; an upgrade to radio triggers helps prevent these sorts of situations, but flashes from a competing photographer are still awfully distracting.

The unpredictable, or just plain weird

This is a pig at a wedding I attended as a guest, photographed (poorly) with my phone. Any guest was welcome to go and say hello, the pig was very friendly.

And sometimes, there’s just the crazy, random happenstances that don’t really fit into any sort of reliable pattern or theme. As above, sometimes the wedding venue is adjacent to a restaurant that grows its own food, and there is a pig. This obviously isn’t a grievance per se, that pig was adorable in his own way.

Thankfully, gear failures weren’t all that common for us, but one of our staff had an autofocus motor die just as the bride and groom began their walk back down the aisle.

Another time, a group of groomsmen grew demonstrably angry when the photographer would not sit with them at the reception and drink heavily instead of taking photographs.

A guest videographer at one destination wedding set up an enormous ladder to film video from at the back of the group, which would have been less of a problem were he not wearing a kilt. Underwear status remained carefully unconfirmed.

Everyone’s got stories

In a follow-up post, we’ll be polling some full-time freelance and wedding photogs on some of their more…interesting experiences, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, do you shoot weddings full-time or on the side, or have attended a wedding and borne witness to an unusual event? Let us know in the comments, and maybe we’ll feature your story in a follow up as well!

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