Many (many) years ago my parents got divorced. Several years after the divorce my mother did a "spring cleaning" and threw out many unwanted items, including her old wedding album. Luckily I got home before the garbage pick up that day and spotted the old wedding album in the trash can. I rescued it and asked her why she had thrown it away. She simply said that it was old and useless, filled only with old black and white photos. I argued that it had sentimental value and wanted to keep the album.
Originally Posted by mark
Many years passed and several wedding guests pictured in that album passed away. As it turns out, several of those "old useless black and white pictures" were the only surviving images of these guests. Their likeness, captured in black and white, were the only images captured of them in youth available to their children and grandchildren. I was able to confirm that these images were true likenesses of the subjects and were not altered fairytale pictures by some photographer or darkroom artist. I am extremely glad that the photographer kept true to the people and the event that day, otherwise there would be no way of knowing what the people really looked like, what their emotions truely were at the time.
Wedding photos are a very strange animal. I think as regards the bride, since most brides are operating on the day of their wedding in something between a frenzy and a psychotic collapse, the photographer (and the other folks assisting the bride on the day) do have a duty to make her look as good as possible, since she probably would look far worse if the kind makeup, hair, and other assistants were not there chasing after her to keep her in order. Also, as has been stated before, for many brides, the wedding itself is a major fantasy for them, and they'd like to have the fantasy preserved, especially if they don't look like what they have pictured in their heads on that day, and they know it (breaking out in pimples from the stress, gained/lost significant weight just before the event, etc).
The guests, on the other hand, well... you don't owe them jack. They're not writing your paycheck. Catch them, warts and all, and leave them to be seen as such for all posterity. I think that's half the fun of revisiting a wedding album - seeing Uncle Louie with his toupee slipping, or Aunt Bertha with the gin bottle poking out the top of her purse.
Originally Posted by snegron
Ya but, now you are talking about two entirely different subjects, you are talking about what a bride wants for HER look and how the audience in attendance were documented, which in wedding photography is a deep void, our job as wedding photographers are to take the pictures(images) of the bride and groom in the professional manner they contracted with us for, fortunately or unfortunately the audience is a secondary subject in the wedding album, you were lucky and nice to preserved the images taken of the various audience members and I am sure it really helped the people who were related to them and they enjoyed seeing them in the later years after they had passed, but the couple getting married didn't contract with you to document the audience, she contracted you to document her and the groom..
I think that part of the confusion is due to the commercial aspect of wedding and portrait photography. There is a false perception that "photojournalistic style" wedding photography is an unaltered recording of the event to include subjects and their emotions in a realistic way. Are we to capture the event as it occurred, or are we to make it seem that we captured the event as it occurred? If we choose to capture the event as it occurred, won't we be untruthful to our clients if we alter our main subjects (bride and groom) and alter their surroundings by posing "photojournalistic-type" shots? I guess that my concern narrows down to the fact of why I was hired to begin with. Was I hired to record the event as it occurred as is my defined style, or was I hired to create an artistic interpretaion that simmulates my true journalistic style?
You were hired because they already like your style, or they would not hire you!
You are hired and paid to do what they want and how they want their wedding documented, your feelings really don't come into it as long as it is:
There is nothing more or nothing less to take into account, people hire photographers for one simple reason, they like your style and they want you to document their event in the manner they are paying for, it is pretty plain and simple, my artistic sense does not come into the equation when I am negotiating a contract with a client that is paying the bill, I will document the event in the manner in which they want, I always meet with my clients at least twice to discuss the manner in which they want their wedding documented, then I send them a check list with the shots they think they want and let them decide, then that is what I do, period plain and simple, it is their day, they are paying big bucks based on the samples I have showed them and chose to hire me, if I want artistic shots that I can use for my portfolio, then I hire a model and rent the props and take the pictures...
Bottom line, you were hired to do what the client stipulates at the signing of the contract...period. That is why it pays to develope several different styles to meet the needs of any client you might run into.
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When it come to portraits, whether wedding or not, we should make the subject look as good as possible. This includes smooth skin, smoothed out wrinkles, etc.
This has always been the way. Why else would the large format photogrpaphers of old have used such things as variable soft focus lenses and retouching desks?
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
Originally Posted by Dave Parker
More to the point.
If you don't like the terms and conditions of shooting wedding photos then get out of the business!
If you "blow" a wedding by acting like some kind of combo street shooter/papparazi sooner or later you are going to get your butt sued!
For crying out loud man, brides hire photogs to make them look like Cinderalla at the ball!
Get with it or get out of the business!
EDIT: Are you married?
I do have to say George, that sums it up in one simple statement!!!
Originally Posted by copake_ham
I'm guessing Dave and George said it all. Though I think George needs to not hold things in, and sugar coat stuff so much.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
In the light of the AM I do apologize for my tone - overly harsh. But I stick with the thought behind it.
At a wedding, the photogs job is to make the bride look like the most beautiful and radiant woman on earth.