Few wedding photographers will admit it. But it happens. Sometimes couples are unhappy with their wedding photos. Regardless of whose fault it was (and believe me, it could have been yours), or what could have been done at the moment to avoid it, the reality is what it is: you have your pictures back from your wedding, and you don’t like them. Now what? If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
Talk to your photographer.
The number one piece of advice by far was to communicate directly with your photographer. Talk to them as calmly as possible and tell them what the problem is. Be prepared to say to them precisely what it is that you don’t like about your wedding photographs. Remember when I talked about all that editing that photographers do? Sometimes, there are things (big and small) that photographers can do in the editing process to alter the photos more to your liking. It doesn’t always work, but a good photographer might be able to work their magic.
Direct from the pros: Schedule a time to meet with the photographer face to face. People are very adept at hiding behind their computer. If the photographs are so bad that it is very little, the photographer can redeem him/herself; they might consider asking the photographer if the images can be sent somewhere for retouching.
Let them make it right.
If a photographer knows that you are upset, it is in their best interests to make it right. You need to give them the chance to fix the mistakes or do what they can to resolve the situation. Making it suitable is whatever makes you feel better. They aren’t miracle workers, so they might not be able to make things perfect and go back and re-shoot your wedding, but they can certainly try to make amends. In addition to trying to fix the photographs, they could offer you a partial refund, give you credit towards your album or do another photoshoot for you.
Simply saying that you don’t like your wedding photographs isn’t good enough. It doesn’t give the photographer any clue as to how to fix it. Say something like, I wish there were more black and white photos, or I wish there were more close up shots of the decor, or I didn’t get a picture of my college friends. The more detailed you can be, the better for everyone.
Direct from the pros:
- Be specific about what you didn’t like.
- Let your photographer know what they can do to make you happy.
I know it’s tough to detach yourself from your wedding photos and be objective emotionally, but most photographers want to make their clients happy; they depend on those great reviews and referrals.
Ask to see all of the images.
Often wedding photographers don’t show all of the images to their clients. There can be 1,000s of photos from just one wedding. They only edit and then share the best of the best pictures. If something is missing or something that makes you unhappy about your photos, perhaps there are more photos that you don’t see that could solve the problems.
Go for another session.
One way that a photographer could make it up to you is to offer a discount or a free photography session after your wedding. Book a day after a session with your same photographer or try a different photographer. A day after the session, also called rock the frock or trash the dress, is a chance for you to put on your wedding wear one more time and have some fun. You’ll get photos in your wedding attire and, hopefully, some great ones that you wouldn’t have otherwise had time for on your wedding day. Choosing the right wedding photographer in Melbourne to capture every moment on your wedding day.
Avoid problems from the start.
Almost all of the photographers we talked to said that the number one way to avoid photography problems altogether is research. If couples are exhaustive in their photography research before their wedding and hire a photographer that they are comfortable with, many issues after the marriage can be avoided. Also, make sure that you are working with a reputable photographer. You want a wedding photographer whose work you like and that you click with.
Direct from the pros: If they are diligent when hiring their photographer, that shouldn’t happen. Studios that have a proven track record with a reputation for quality work are referred for a reason. If a photographer is hired only because they have a flashy blog or website, then you’re taking your chances.
Here are ways to make sure you won’t rue the day you hired your photographer:
Like your photographer
Not only do you have to like the photos your photographer takes, but you have to pick your photographer’s personality as well. When you meet with a photographer, make sure you’re meeting with the person who will shoot your wedding. Start your search with photographers who are offbeat and awesome — find ’em here.
Beware of wedding photography mills (they exist!) where you talk to a salesperson, view their best sample images, and then get stuck with a minimum-wage photographer with minimal experience to match.
To avoid getting burned:
- Ask to see an entire wedding.
- Along with the photographer’s personality, does their photographic style match your wedding?
- If you’re still having trouble deciding, book an engagement session first — this lets you take your photographer for a “test drive” before the big day.
Choose a professional WEDDING photographer.
Experience is the best teacher, so hire someone who specialises in weddings and has shot many of them. Good wedding photographers use their Spidey senses to sense moments before they happen. Just because your cousin is a fantastic food photographer, it doesn’t mean he can document your wedding. (The reverse is true, too — I’m not the guy you want to hire for food photography.) If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
Tread cautiously when hiring friends or family
Allow your friends and family to be guests at your wedding. Photographer friends may offer to take photos out of kindness, but I suggest turning them down. Here’s a secret: They probably won’t mind being turned down. Wedding photographers never get to be guests. It’s refreshing to attend a wedding where we can leave the camera at home, hit the bar, and maybe do the Wobble. Besides, it’s best not to mix business and pleasure, right?
Delete your wedding Pinterest boards
Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” I’m sure he would have a thing or two to say about Pinterest. Suppose you’re expecting your photographer to emulate all your favourite photos on Pinterest. In that case, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed — because those weddings aren’t your wedding, so your photos won’t (and shouldn’t!) look the same.
So a week before your wedding, purge your wedding Pinterest boards. Blasphemy, I know — but delete your pins and let go. The planning process is over. It’s time for your wedding. Your commitment to each other. Your love for each other.
Avoid time warp.
Wedding day transportation always takes twice as long as you think it will — plan for it. If you forget to account for freeway traffic en route to your reception venue, you might cut your photo-taking time in half. Find out how much time your photographer will need and work on a realistic schedule. Photographers are magicians, but we can’t bend time. Build a solid wedding day timeline with the help of a planner or coordinator if you can. Nothing will eff up your wedding day photos more than rushing everything into an unrealistic timeline.
No laser lights ever
Do you look good with green spots on your face? No? Then kindly ask your DJ to kill the laser light show. Laser lights are pretty much the worst thing ever invented — they make your guests look like they have a mutant green skin disease. Oh, and those expensive lasers used in Electronic Dance Music can fry professional cameras on contact. Hulk smash laser lights!
Put down the vodka cranberry.
Wait until after your ceremony and photos to go all, Andrew W.K. I’m not saying you have to skip the mimosas, but keep hydrated and take it slow. Hate your drunk face? I can’t fix that with photoshop. Plus, vodka cranberry is hard to get out of a wedding dress.
Unplug during your wedding ceremony
This topic has been heavily debated already. But I’m weighing in. The new trend of guests using iPads as video cameras is getting out of hand. I’ve seen guests holding iPads in front of grandma, so she has to duck to see the wedding. Unless you want all of your ceremony photos peppered with people’s iPads (which will look as silly as a Zack Morris cell phone in 20 years), ask them to put them away until after the first kiss.
Feed your photographer
Your caterer has a sinister plan called “hide the photographer.” After the photographer’s blood sugar hits rock bottom, they lead them into a dark hallway 100 yards from reception. At that exact moment, the DJ will announce that it’s time for parent dances. I’m not sure where this awful tradition started, but there’s an easy solution: Ask your caterer to feed the photographer at the same time as the bride and groom, so they’re back in action at the same time you are. If possible, give them a table in the main reception room. That way, if an epic moment happens, they’re there to capture it. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Turn crappy into happy with uplighting.
I’ve seen a DJ turn a bare room with four walls into a Vegas Nightclub with uplighting. Most professional DJs offer uplighting packages. Want to do it yourself?
Find the photos you DO like and get them on your wall and in an album.
After spending money on wedding photos, please please please do not leave them in the digital nebulas and interwebs. When historians (or cough family members) dig through your attic, old broken hard drives with wedding photos will be useless.
Even if you’re disappointed with your wedding photos, find the few you do like, and print them up. If it’s only a couple of pictures, cherish them, print them, and hang them on the wall.
If you can find a few more, make an album. The process of choosing photos to print might help you relive all the excitement of your wedding. You may never go through the 1,000 digital images you hate on your hard drive, but you’ll look at the specific photos you do like in your album or that one photo on your wall for years to come.
Essential Things You Need To Tell Your Photographer
When it comes to your wedding day, all your vendors are significant, but perhaps one of the most important is your photographer. Now, I’m not just saying that because this is a post on photography, I’m saying it is true. They are one of the most critical vendors because they are one of the first vendors you need to book, they are one of the vendors you spend the most time with, they will be with you almost all day during some of the most private and emotional points of the day, they will help you create a timeline (if you don’t have a planner), and they are the ones who will make the family keepsakes you will treasure for a lifetime.
If you have a photographer and haven’t been communicating with them, you need to start now. If you think that just telling them when and where to show up is enough, you are mistaken. Photographers need to know way more than you think.
Details, details, details
I would highly suggest telling your photographer about whether you have any unique family heirlooms you are incorporating into your day that you want to be photographed. This could include a unique charm or fabric wrapped around your bouquet or a necklace that belonged to someone important. If it’s something that means something to you, let your photographer know! That goes for other details as well. Even if specific detail isn’t an heirloom, if it’s dear to you, and you want a photograph of it, make sure to mention it!
Any special or unique moments of your day
It’s also helpful to let your photographer know if you have chosen to incorporate anything special or unique into your ceremony or reception. For example, a sand mixing ceremony, the Hora, or singing happy birthday to a guest if the wedding date happens to fall on the same day. By telling him in advance, he knew to expect it. Some church ceremonies also include the first kiss in the middle of the service instead of at the very end, so that would also be something to tell your photographer if you know ahead of time!
Who your family members are
You may also want to let your photographer know if crucial family members are coming that you want photographs of or with. So, this may seem silly but think about it. Your photographer knows you, maybe your parents, but he doesn’t know who your cousins are aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You want to make sure you give him or her a list of all the essential people in your family you want pictures with. They don’t have to know what they look like, because they will announce who they want to pose for photos, but if your grandma is there and if they don’t know who your grandmother is or if you want a picture with her, that’s a photo op you will most likely regret getting.
I always like to ask my couples if there are any unique spots at their venue they would love to take photos of. Sometimes they say no and want me to choose (which is fine!), but sometimes they say yes! It is always my goal to take pictures the couple wants, so knowing what spots stick out in their minds helps tremendously!
You may not realise it, but venues may have restrictions regarding where and how something can be photographed. Most times, churches have strict rules about what a photographer can and cannot do. It is a good idea to find out from whoever is performing the ceremony if anything your photographer needs to know. For example, some churches have balconies that photographers are not permitted to use for photography.
If you have asked your photographer to take a picture from the terrace and not be allowed to go up there, it would be better to know that ahead of time than expect it and not receive it. As a related topic, this is a question you want to make sure you ask your venue about. Some may tell you, but if they don’t, make sure you request to be double sure. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
It is also a good idea to ask whoever is officiating your ceremony if they have any restrictions. Everyone knows that your ceremony is an essential part of your day. So, because of that, your officiant may have conditions such as no flash photography during the ceremony.
In the end, your photographer needs to know almost as much as you do about your wedding day. It sort of sounds funny, but keeping them in the loop will make your day go as smooth as possible!
Questions You Should Ask Before You Take a Photograph
Suppose you want to take your photography to new dimensions. In that case, this list of questions—some dealing with the physical act of the photograph and some dealing with the inner thoughts behind the image—might be just what you need to get your head, feet, or camera in the right place to help make a good photograph great or a great picture iconic.
What is my subject?
There’s a reason you put your camera to your eye or frame up a shot in the LCD. Ask yourself what you are trying to capture. And, as you operate the camera, do not lose focus on that. Sometimes the vantage point through the viewfinder or on the screen can distract or distance you from the subject. If the view distracts you, it will be even more distracting for your audience.
How do I best highlight the subject?
You know what your subject is, but will it be evident to the viewer? Will it be obvious to you years from now when you look at that photo? There are myriad ways to make your subject stand out: composition, lighting, angles, lines, etc. Start thinking about this and keep reading—some of the upcoming questions will expound on this query.
Where is the subject in the frame?
Is the subject directly in the centre? Sometimes that works. Divide the frame into thirds vertically and horizontally. Does the composition work better with the issue on one of those lines or at an intersection? How does the picture work if you put the subject in a corner or way off to the side, top, or bottom?
Am I close enough to my subject to emphasise it?
Being too far from your subject might mean that it gets lost in the background noise. If you have to explain to the viewer where your issue is in the frame, it means you might not have been close enough to that subject or that you failed to emphasise the subject in some other way. In the words of the legendary photojournalist and Magnum co-founder Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
Am I far enough from my subject to allow the viewer to have a sense of the photograph’s time and place?
Contrary to the last question, the subject can take up so much of the frame that the photo’s context and location are lost. If you seek to capture a memento of a shared experience by making a photo of your friend or loved one in front of a famous place or picturesque vista, be sure to include some of that place in the frame. Of course, there are times when you just want the subject to fill the frame.
Is there something in front of or behind the subject that distracts me?
Sometimes foreground objects can be a distraction, but it is often something behind your subject—the Martian antennas coming out of the back of your subject’s head are only acceptable if photographing a Martian—that ruins a good photo, creates a good laugh, or both. Try to isolate your subject from the background, reposition the issue, move yourself and the camera, or use a shallower depth of field.
Is there something else in the frame taking my attention away from the subject?
Shiny things, like that bright yellow Ferrari in the corner or that super-bright neon light in the background, may easily live within the framing of your photograph and draw your attention away from the proper subject if the subject is the brightest and most beautiful thing in the frame, that makes your job easier. If there is competition for your eye as the photographer, there will be a lot of competition for the viewer’s attention, too. If possible, be ready to reposition, zoom, or—borrowing from photography master Henri Cartier Bresson—wait for the “decisive moment” to isolate your subject. Sometimes, in the late architect Ludwig Mies Van de Rohe’s words, “Less is more.”
Is there something outside of the frame that I could incorporate to enhance the image?
Sometimes it pays to look beyond what you see in the viewfinder or on the screen. Are there elements just outside your initial composition that would better frame the image or help direct the eye to where you want the viewer’s attention to go? Recompose. Move back. Zoom out.
Where is the light coming from?
If you are outside during the day, you are at the mercy of the Earth’s tilt and rotation about the sun. However, the lower the sun is, the more directional the light becomes. Directional light means shadow. Look for light, but also look for the shadow. Light can be redirected, reflected, or created. Sometimes, you can reposition yourself about the light to take the best advantage of its effects.
How does my eye move through the scene?
Initially, the eye might perceive a photograph as a whole. Still, after a fraction of a second, its focus narrows to initiate a journey through the image, moving from one part of the frame to others, unless something grabs its attention. Compositionally, you can sometimes make this journey easy for the eye or force it into a different pattern. How does your eye move when looking through the viewfinder? Make that part of your consciousness.
Am I standing in the best place to take this photograph?
If you are lucky, the answer is: “Yes.” But don’t always trust that your feet have delivered you to the best point of view. Dramatic changes in perspective may be gained by simply taking a few steps in another direction. Do not be afraid to move, especially if you see something you want to capture, but the composition is not working for you. Also, what does the view behind you look like? Do a 180 and check it out.
Should I be standing straight up and shooting this photograph from eye level, or is there a better perspective?
Once you’ve moved a few feet to your left, you might find an even better perspective by kneeling, standing on a chair, holding the camera above you, or holding it below your waist. A vast majority of images are taken from the eye level. Simply changing your attitude might make your photos different from the rest.
Is it the best time of day to take this photograph?
The light is constantly changing as the Earth rotates, and artificial lights cycle on and off. What might be an unexciting vista at one moment might have a completely different personality a few hours before sunset or at night. Distracting shadows may be nearly nonexistent during the sun’s meridian transit. If you have the luxury of time, use it to your advantage to make the photograph better. In the fading light of day, a bit of patience can go a long way to getting a magical shot while others have packed up their gear and departed.
Is this the best moment to make this photograph?
Aside from the time of day or night, ask yourself if there is an advantage to delaying your photograph. If subjects are in motion, try to predict their movements in the frame and wait until they get, hopefully, where you want them to go. Is the stoplight about to change colours? Will that car is gone in 30 seconds? Will that pedestrian stop to read the sign-in in that doorway? Hopefully, the right moment wasn’t 10 seconds before you decided to take the photo. In the digital age, where images are virtually free, it might be safe to assume the quick shot and then wait to see what develops. Sometimes I find the initial composition is the strongest, and nothing further develops if the first shot worked best; smile and go about your day.
Is this the best weather to take this photograph at this particular place?
Again, it is nice to assume the luxury of time. Were you hoping for sun or puffy clouds? Why is it overcast? Take a deep breath, fire off a snapshot, and then check the local weather forecast. In 30 minutes or a few days, it could all change. Depending on your subject matter, you might have all the time in the world to wait for the perfect moment.
Missing the Moment?
All of these questions can be asked for any given photograph, but not all can be answered. There are situations when time is of the essence. There are millions of scenarios in which neither you nor the subject can be moved. The light isn’t always perfect. The moment is sometimes missed. But guess what? That is all OK. Live to shoot another day and move on, searching for the following great photograph.
Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.