Thank you awkwardfamilyphoto.com for this wonderful example of a terrible picture. Barbed wire? Out of focus? Super dark? All Awesome. You don’t want to look like this in your wedding pictures.
I look at our wedding portraits, and I cringe a little. Why? Because we didn’t bother to educate ourselves about photography before we booked a photographer.
I’m finding out many people don’t put much thought into figuring out of their photo’s will be quality or not. Photos, in my opinion, should be the thing you put the most time and thought into, because they are going to be your memories of that particular event, forever!
You wouldn’t order a cake that looked or tasted bad, or was someone’s first attempt at a making a cake, so why would you do that with a photographer? I know we kinda did.
I am now married to a professional portrait and wedding photographer, who spends hours a day, and I do mean hours, teaching himself the fundamentals of light, cropping, mechanics of his cameras’ (he shoots film), aperture, focus, film type. He turns every major session he shoots over to his mentor and they spend hours critiquing his work.
He constantly wants to improve. He constantly wants to be better. He is never satisfied and is always reaching to be the best.
Aaron only puts the shots he considers timeless and above trend online. That’s because he never wants to look back and have to cringe when he sees a photo that was “trendy” or followed a fad. He wants his work to be his own.
When we look at our wedding photos we cringe a little. We didn’t bother to educate ourselves about what makes a “good” photo. Our skin tones are a bit uneven, on camera flash was used. Occasionally we have a half an arm or leg cropped at a weird place. Luckily our photographer didn’t apply “actions” which are essentially photoshop processes that turn a photo vintagey, or wash out the color,or any other myriad of things. Think of that funny fuzziness pictures from the 80’s and 90s have around the corners. That’s a great example of an action- it may be fun and trendy at the time, but it dates a picture.
Now you might be saying, “hey Jennifer, I like that stuff.” That’s fine. You’re allowed to like it. But it’s going to make you look back at that photo and go, “wow, that was so 2011.” Wouldn’t you rather look at your picture and go, “wow, I love how beautiful I looked in that photo.” ?
Just like I might like impressionists painters, and you might like abstracts. We’re allowed to have different tastes. I’d rather look at a painting and go “wow, that man put a ton of time and education into his painting, and it shows.” than “wow, I could have done that with a Sharpie and some crayons.”
Classical photography is timeless, like a Rembrandt or an Old Master. Someone who has worked to execute their art with technical excellence. Aiming to create something that will last through the ages.
Next time you are ready to book a photographer, ask yourself these questions:
– What color is the skin of the people? Blue? Green? Gray? Is is the same color in all the photos? Is it flattering?
– Where is the crop of the photo? Are feet and hands missing? Where does the crop make me look in the photo itself? Where does it draw my eye?
– Is there a bright glare from on-camera flash?
– Are there any train tracks, suitcases or brickwalls in these photos? Why?
– Is there selective coloring? (Selective coloring means the photo is black and white, with a certain area colored in using photoshop.)
– Is the picture in focus?
These are some good yardsticks to determine how your photo’s are going to turn out. These few questions can help you determine the level of your photographer and their photos’. And remember, it’s never too late to make sure your photo’s are timeless.
Photo used by permission, Aaron James.