Wedding Photography Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Hello, all! My name is Veronica, and I’m happy to be the newest voice on the Sean Purcell Photography blog! I’ll be popping in once a week to hopefully inject some laughter into your life. Pleased to meet you!

When Sean and Amanda asked if I would contribute to the blog, after saying “Yes” and “Please,” I said I should start out with a post about how truly dreadful my wedding pictures were so you can all learn from my mistakes. They laughed and said, “Yeah, and you can show the terrible pictures!” and … my idea didn’t sound so great after that.

But here I am, world. I’m going to show you the pictures that make me so angry I had to take them off my bedroom wall so I wouldn’t lose sleep at night anymore (true story) and tell you how I ended up with them so you won’t make the same mistake I did.

I know lots of people plan destination weddings or weddings far away from where they live, so I really have no excuse, but I found it difficult to do so. Everything just seems a little more complicated and you either can’t meet with vendors or you meet with them and then pay extra to have them haul their services across the state on the big day. This is what happened with our photographer.

I decided to meet with a photographer who was located in the town I was living and was very highly recommended. We were going to have to pay a little more to have him drive all the way on the big day, but it seemed like it would be worth it to be able to easily meet with him in advance and be sure he was what we were looking for. I LOVED him. Loved his work, loved his personality, enthusiasm, and obvious passion for his work. He was a perfect fit.

Shortly before the big day, we got the news that he would not be available (it was New Year’s Eve, and I suspect he didn’t want to be working), but someone else would be there, “No worries! He’s great!” Since there was no time to start from scratch and find a new photographer and apparently no time to meet with this photographer assigned to us (red flag!! red flag!!), I decided to just trust that if I liked the work and personality of the photographer we hired, his employee would be a good fit for us as well.

I think you all can guess where this is going, right?

He was NOT. He was so uninterested in capturing our big day that I really think he bordered on being aggressive.

Four big things stand out in my mind when I remember how horrible the experience was.

1.    This is the only picture I have of me getting ready. The ONLY ONE.

He walked up, clicked a picture, and left the room. I didn’t see him again until the ceremony began.

2.    He insisted on taking every single picture HERE.

When I suggested a few different places, because, perhaps this wood-paneled wall would look … dated?, he said this was the ONLY place he would take any pictures of the wedding party. Period. Since I wanted pictures, I said okay and went with it. Maybe it has to do with lighting, I told myself.

3.    When my husband and I were getting ready to take a few (Very few. Like THREE) pictures together, He told us where to stand. I asked if we could switch sides because the way my dress gathered at the waist made me look very thick around the middle the way I was standing. He said, and I quote, “The bride always stands on that side. I won’t take pictures with you if you switch positions.” So I looked chunky instead of HOT like I knew I did.

4.    We didn’t get all the group shots I asked for (even I gave him a list ahead of time since I knew I would be liable to forget and be anxious to start the reception), likely because it took him FIFTEEN MINUTES to line people up for this highly creative shot (those italics denote sarcasm, as I’m sure you deciphered).
Do I look over it in that picture? Because I was. I was just ready to go to my reception because this was going so horribly.

Here’s the lesson, in a nut shell:

  • MEET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER (Duh. DUH DUH DUH.)
  • Discuss the style you are going for and locations you would like to have pictures taken IN DETAIL.
  • Don’t just give a list of shots to your photographer, but designate someone to help out. Even if you have a photographer who cares (unlike mine), they might be caught up in the moment and forget a few things you wanted as well.
  • Stand up for yourself. I could have insisted on standing on the other side without being mean about it. I was so upset about coming off like a Bridezilla that I just let him tell me I couldn’t stand in a way that made me look skinnier. Come on. What was he going to do, NOT take any more pictures? A good photographer will say something like, “Sure, let’s try it both ways.” Simple.
  • Perhaps the most important – you should get a good vibe from your photographer. You should feel like they are listening to you, they understand you, and they are EXCITED to photograph you. To this day, aside from my wedding photographer, I have never met another photographer who doesn’t have these traits. Why shouldn’t you have a photographer who is passionate about their work? You should!

In the end, my favorite pictures from the night came from my friends and family’s point-and-shoot cameras, and that is so incredibly sad to me. But I know that those pictures came out because they were taken with love. Just like I deserved. Just like you deserve.

Wow, how incredible was that?  I was so excited to hear Veronica was going to be joining us.  You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), on Twitter, and InstagramFeel free to stalk her. She encourages it.
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2 thoughts on “Wedding Photography Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

  1. Pingback: The Dimick Family | Sean Purcell Photography

  2. Pingback: The Dimicks … After Dark | Sean Purcell Photography

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