The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Wedding Photography

When Danny told me he was getting married, I congratulated him with a warm smile.

When Danny asked me if I’d be available to take a few photos, the smile froze on my face.

While there are plenty of photographers who advertise themselves as Wedding and Portrait Photographers, the reality is Weddings and Portraits – or at least the kinds of portraits I like to do – are entirely different beasts.

Good Wedding Photographers are worth their weight in gold - five, ten, twenty years on and the photos are the gateway to the memories of one of the most special days of a couple’s life. And yet, while the happy couple may be prepared to spend thousands, or even tens of thousands on their wedding, too often they will skimp on the photographer – looking for the cheapest option - only to regret it for many years to come.

But then there are a lot of Wedding Photographers out there who are little more than a bloke with a big camera. They might have the equipment, but they have precious little in the way of an artistic eye and produce nothing more than snaps. Unfortunately the same can be said of a lot of Portrait Photographers too.

A really good Wedding Photographer might cost you a 4-figure sum, but they are worth every penny. It’s not just the understanding of how to frame a shot to make it look spectacular, it’s also about the endless hours spent afterwards in post-production, removing the lipstick from the teeth of the woman with the large smile.

And of course the responsibility is huge. If I do a studio shoot and my camera or computer decide to wipe all the images without my consent, then I can always apologise, call the client back on another day and give them a discount for the inconvenience. But you can’t re-shoot a wedding with all the guests who travelled long distances to be there.

The kind of Portrait photography I like to do is all about the connection between the sitter, the camera and me. It’s why observational photography – wildlife, sports, documentary, architectural etc, has never really appealed to me: I don’t just want to look at something and record it; I want it to interact with me.

Wedding photography, then, is about documenting, crowd control, long hours and heavy responsibility, with no time to really get to know the people you are photographing.

Not really my cup of tea.

However, I’ve known Danny for several years and it turned out he already had a photographer lined up for the main part of the wedding. He didn’t need me to do the whole thing, just a few shots of the happy couple before they headed off to the wedding, and some informal shots at the reception early in the evening.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I agreed because, well, it was for Danny.

But if anyone else comes asking, I’ll be charging a 5-figure sum and reserve the right to disappear for a couple of hours for an afternoon nap...

Congratulations to Katie and Danny


Anonymous said...

What a lovely wedding photo you did take though. You really captured their love, I fear you may well get many more requests.

savannah said...

that is a GORGEOUS photo, sugar! i'm still smiling! xoxoxoxo

Unknown said...

I like this photo a lot. Very nice.

hope said...

Nice to see genuine love...well done!

debra said...

as I've said before, photography is as much about the photographer as it is the subject---it's a glimpse of how the photographer sees the world. Thanks, Kim And congratulations to Danny and Katie. May they celebrate many years together!

angryparsnip said...

That is a fabulous photo of the much in love couple. I am sure it will be a favorite for many years to come.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

When I saw that on Dashboard I thought it was a still from a forties film. I love it.
I think you are right to stick to your guns and let some other poor wretch do the wedding en masse.
More and more one hears of disgruntled guests moaning about the photographer taking forever when all they want to do is get to the food and drink. The last person complaining was the bride's mother!

Anna van Schurman said...

Someone on FB had a link to "fauxtographers" who do portraits. Have you seen it? (Was it you with the link? I lose track.) They were awful and a little funny. They're the people you describe in paragraph five.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Now that's a proper wedding portrait...very romantic, it's the kind any couple would want to frame and display.

You're right, Kim. So many think that photography is just about pointing a camera.

AA said...

Kim, blah blah blah, nah nah nah.
Sweet shot. :-P

Falak said...

Why so apprehensive about Wedding Photography Kim????? The pic looks amazing!!!!

Kim Ayres said...

Lisa-Fee - the CFS prevents me from being able to shoot photos in the afternoon, which pretty much kills off any idea of doing weddings

Savannah - thank you :)

Carole - thank you :)

Hope - thank you :)

Debra - the amin thing about my photography, is I want people to feel good about themeselves

Parsnip - thank you :)

Pat - the main part of their wedding was at Gretna, with a stock photographer getting all the standard group shots, rings on the anvil etc. Fortunately this left me free to photograph people in a way I'm more comfortable with

Anna VS - I've seen some of these shots - they are funny, but you can't help but wince for the couples who employed these guys

Guyana-Gyal - I've had 2 requests in the past (that I turned down) for weddings, where the couple seemed to think all I needed to do was turn up, take a few shots, and I should be happy to do it for beer money.

Adila - ignoring the text and skipping straight to the photos? ;)

Falak - if wedding photography was just about photographing a couple in love, then I'd be more than happy to do lots of it. But the reality is it's mostly about photographing large groups of people who are feeling self-conscious, and a proper shoot can last all day - it's a huge amount of work with a huge amount of pressure to get it right. I'm much happier with the intimate photography of one or 2 people at a time

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

Another craft that's not everyone's cup of tea is open-heart surgery. I've only tried it once and I really didn't care for it. R.I.P grandpa.

Okay, that was uncalled for. Nice work and congrats to the happy couple.

Unknown said...

You have a gift, man.

Wendy Mundy said...

Meme. Have you heard of this? I've tagged you in mine. Read it if you're so inclined.

Mary Witzl said...

That's a great shot, and I'll bet they like it more than the formal ones they have taken.

A photographer friend of mine once had the responsibility of taking wedding photos for a friend who was in prison at the time. She'd taken three rolls of film when she discovered she'd left the cap on her camera. Poor woman; it wasn't the kind of experience you'd soon forget.

Kim Ayres said...

Elliot - as the old saying goes, "if at first you don't succeed, then parachuting is not for you." Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

SQ - thank you

Wendy - thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately I got a bit all memed out a few years ago, so decided not to get involved in them, but I appreciate you thinking to include me :)

Mary - I'm so pleased my my camera is one where you see through the lens. Several times I've lifted the camera up to photograph something, only to realise the cap is still on. I feel for your friend

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