Wedding photography for food lovers

So just what is Wedding Photography?

Simply put wedding photography is photographs taken during weddings. It can include the activities of the day and long into the reception. It may also just be of the wedding itself. By the number of cameras paraded at weddings, it seems “everyone” is or wants to be a wedding photographer.

Have you ever looked around at a wedding lately? Many invited guests are now busy capturing images, caught up in a “megapixel moment” rather than being part of the real moment. We’ve all seen guests fumbling with their cameras as the bride walks down the aisle; not long ago, they would have been watching, smiling catching her eye with a smile. Is this because of the virtual world we live in?

An historical perspective…Back in the day…

Not too long ago, wedding photographers were technicians operating a big black box with a lens, dials and buttons. It was heavy and needed a tripod and a solid understanding of camera craft, light, exposure and composition. Couples would hire a photographer to photograph their wedding to produce printed pictures. The chosen photographer would typically deliver films to his (it usually was a “his”) preferred lab and the lab would print them to match the photographers colour and tone preferences. Photographs, yes actual pieces of paper would go into an album or be framed and given to the couple.

Brisbane wedding photographer, John Reyment

Photos today…

In 2011, almost all wedding guests turn up at the wedding with their own digital camera that potentially may produce well-exposed pictures. Most of these “wedding photographers for a day” rely on Mr Canon or Mr Nikon or Mr Apple to provide a good image; inbuilt algorithms in the camera try to match conditions happening real time in front of the photographer with those developed by the boffins in white coats at Canon or Nikon, Nokia or Apple.

Perhaps without knowing it, guests have also become their own processing lab. Images are immediate, posted to social networks quickly, often without even the most basic of processing corrections. Blue tint to the brides’s dress, who cares, no detail in the bodice which had lots of intricate and expensive beading, not a problem, a little out of focus, so what, over flashed, who cares; it is on Facebook just minutes after it was taken, this is all that matters.

And with a swipe of a finger, the image is gone; it has had its 15 seconds of fame and is now buried in an on line photo album or on a hard drive… which other white coat boffins have scheduled to die two weeks after the warranty expires.

A country wedding at Boonah by Brisbane Wedding photographer, John Reyment

A country wedding at Boonah by Brisbane Wedding photographer, John Reyment

The Art of Wedding Photography

The art of wedding photography has change dramatically in the past twenty years. More than just delivering well exposed photographs, quality professional wedding photographers are offering so much more to their clients including stunning images, customized albums and a wonderful experience.

In 2011, professional wedding photographers must have fine people skills, be flexible, and manage time and logistics. It is these skills that enable them to capture the emotive and stunning artistic images not considered possible just a few years ago. Photographic industry suppliers like paper and printer manufacturers and album manufacturers have listened to the demands of the professional photographer and are now supplying products of amazing quality to pro photographers that are not available to the general public.

Professional wedding photographers invest heavily with time and resources to ensure their studio workflow systems can produce the quality images they take pride in delivering. Continual improvements to camera, computer and printing technologies have dictated an environment of continuous improvement, investment and learning for photographers. Is all this time, effort and expense worth it? Absolutely, seeing a bride and groom open their wedding album for the first time is a special moment. It is an “Experience”. The hard work, the love, the attention to detail, it is all here in an artistic collection of images that the couple can enjoy and share forever.

It’s the camera right?

Judging by the number of people who say “Wow, that a nice big camera, it must take some awesome photos”, one could be forgiven for thinking so. The last time I checked, my camera is right where I left it. If it was this “supreme being, artificial intelligent type”, it would have sensed the images just begging to be captured happening right in front of it, jumped out of its bag and got those scoop shots! Sadly, it stayed asleep, dormant, awaiting my call to rouse it from its deep slumber.

Obediently, my trusty Canon turns on when I wake it, it focuses where I want it (Nikon photographers, I hear you laugh) and it records an image when I tell it to. It even takes in the exact amount of light where I want it and in a colour I like. Obedient hey, now if only my dog was this well trained!

Intimate wedding in the rainforest, Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

Intimate wedding in the rainforest, Songbirds Rainforest Retreat

But are all photos equal? A duck is a duck isn’t it?

We went to a top restaurant for dinner the other night, after dessert, we were chatting to the chef, Can you imagine this conversation…‘Wow, what a beautiful dinner we had, your oven must be just the best ever to be able to roast that duck the way you did!” Why is it that we readily acknowledge the chef’s brilliance yet ascribe the quality of a photo to the camera, not the photographer?

Just the same as not all roast ducks are equal, photos are not equal. A skilled photographer uses light, careful posing and composition and camera technique to create a flattering image for their client.

What styles of wedding photography are there?

We are so blessed in Australia. When looking for restaurant for a special occasion, there are so many cuisine styles to choose from. So much so that the best way to describe the style of food in Australia is “Fusion”; a blend with influences from our great cultural diversity.

Wedding photography has become a fusion of photographic styles as well. On a wedding day, the professional wedding photographer is a chameleon, working seamlessly to capture images using a variety of styles. At different times of the day, the wedding photographer is:

  • The photojournalist or documentary photographer
  • The landscape photographer
  • The fashion photographer
  • The candid moments photographer
  • The architecture photographer
  • The still life photographer
  • The party photographer
  • The children’s photographer

The style of image actually delivered does vary from photographer to photographer. That’s the beauty of photography, it is so individual. Some photographers are more contemporary, some more traditional, some shamelessly imitate others and follow the latest fad; some photographers deliver the same style of signature image they have done for many years.

country wedding photographer, Boonah, Reyment Photographics

country wedding photographer, Boonah, Reyment Photographics

Photojournalism or documentary photography is best described as an approach which documents the event without too much direction. This style captures the wedding as it happens in the most natural and creative way possible. A skilled documentary photographer can see moments unfolding and capture them with a click.

Traditional wedding photography describes the “old fashioned” approach of lining up the wedding couple, their guests and family for full length look at the camera photos; it is popular with parents as this style often matches many existing images from previous generations on display at home.

Contemporary wedding photography is best described as glossy; it is trendier than traditional wedding photography. Compositions and colour palettes used on images are the “latest and greatest”, this style looks fabulous now, however there is a danger that these images may date quickly.

A bride to be is wondering, “I’ve seen my parents tragic wedding photos from the 70‘s or 80’s; definitely a case of What were they thinking? What photography style will not look so bad in years to come?”

A Country Wedding by Brisbane Wedding Photographer, John Reyment

A Country Wedding by Brisbane Wedding Photographer, John Reyment

Images that display the “human condition”, real emotion and feeling are often considered timeless as they connect the viewer to these feelings and invoke a response. These images also communicate about the times of the day, the fashions worn and the places we live. As well as a memento for the couple, these images also become a photographic record of our society to be enjoyed by future generations.

Most professional wedding photographers use a blend of the styles above with a natural excellence and preference for one of them. The various activities of the wedding day demand it. When the bride is ready looking gorgeous, it is fashion photographer time, during the ceremony, it is more appropriate to be the documentary photographer. During the family photographs, a more traditional approach is often needed.

In Part Two of the article “What is Wedding Photography to be published next month, we will discuss:

  • Is wedding photography a cost or an investment?
  • Choosing the right photographer for you
  • Budgeting for your wedding photography
  • Disc or album, what is best for you?
  • What now…