Another wonderful wedding at the Roberts farm surrounded by their friends, family and new additions from New Zealand! It was a pleasure to have be invited to this special day and take part in celebrating with all the wonderful friends in Coleville. Enjoy the ’round the world adventure you two!
I recently spoke with friends who lamented that they regretted not getting a proper photographer for their wedding. As we discussed things, they admitted that he didn’t realize early enough the value of the day and more so the emotional value of being able to reflect and accurately relive the moments and emotions of their wedding day beyond the snap shots that existed. He commented that having a narrative collection of images to relive the day is something they both wished they had and if there was a regret from that wonderful day, it is that they don’t have the ability to go back as they please and indulge, reconnect and re-live the events of the day. If they could, a complete coverage of their day would have been a bigger priority than other frivolous items they instead chose to budget for.
It was a strange conversation from my perspective. Two successful, accomplished and happy people sat across from me telling me their best days’ only regret while I sat there wishing for a time machine to go back and deliver the appropriate pictorial record for them. It brought to light the importance of educating and closely working with the commissions that I work on and my role as the visual record keeper of the events and adventures that I am privy to. Photography is beyond just clicking the button. Photography is a process and a narrative art which reminds us of the places we’ve been, the places we dream of and the moments that defined our world.
The value of photography lies in the value of that individual’s ability to document the events of a day or a moment in time. A profound image or collection with an emotional draw is the mark of a good photographer. Commissioning and investing in a photographer demands that the person is able to deliver a complete and reflective vision of the project. Artistic talent lends the creativity and confidence to get the job going. A clear understanding of fundamental photography principles helps to carry the vision into reality. And finally, the technical expertise with the equipment helps to capture and deliver the most impact. That’s the act of taking the picture. The post production to develop and finalize the original vision as well as deliver the prints and products is a culmination of all the work and effort that has been brought to the project. This complete work flow process defines the duties and responsibility of the Professional Photographer.
From landscapes, adventures and travel to portraiture & event photography, professionalism is the ability to understand the complete request and deliver a memory that will last a lifetime. Photography as a hobby is easy and fun. Photography as a profession demands a responsibility and accountability to deliver the best under any circumstances and to always push the limits and boundaries in order to deliver a higher standard with every attempt. Professional photography is about documenting the experiences of the moment so that it can always be cherished and re-lived from beginning to end.
A moment of peace that still brings me back to a wonderful memory
An unfortunately funny example of how the value of skill, preparation and equipment has declined..
A great article from Seattle Bride magazine about having the right person for the job;
I consider myself a pretty good amateur photographer. I’ve taken a couple of classes, I have a nice Nikon D60 and, as a professional travel writer, I’ve even had a few of my shots make magazine covers and pages. If you didn’t budget for a professional photographer at your wedding, I’m the friend you might call to take pictures.
So when Seattle Bride sent me to the late-winter wedding of Vicky Wu and Chris Nicoll to shoot alongside Joey Hong of John & Joseph Photography, a local award-winning team of two brothers who have been shooting commercial, fashion and wedding photography for more than eight years, I was curious to see how well I could keep up with a seasoned pro.
From the moment we started shooting in the bride and groom’s room at Hotel 1000, I was floored. “Vicky, look down at your shoulders…put a gentle smile on your lips. Chris, look straight at my lens—no, smile. Relax your forehead.” Joey’s attention to such minute detail went way beyond “Say cheese” and brought out the couple’s absolute best. He knew how to manipulate the room’s light and reflective surfaces in ways I never would have dreamed of, transforming what I thought was an unremarkable setting into a photo studio with endless possibilities.
Joey commanded family portraits with a gentle control and confidence that only comes from years of experience. He had the right flashes and steadiness of hand for getting great dance photos, while I snapped shot after blurry shot in a mild panic that my precious memory space was quickly dwindling. I was giving it my best, and in a few instances it showed: an inside shot of Vicky simply glowing in the window’s natural light; a close-up kiss in the sunlight where the couple wore the sweetest smiles. But when those spontaneous moments that are here and gone in the blink of an eye happened, Joey caught them with lightning speed, while I lost many of them to improper focus or exposure.
I now disagree more than ever with the digital-age adage that “now everyone is a photographer.” Tens of thousands of dollars in education, equipment and experience separate me from the pros. Professional photographers, like any other artists or business owners, need to spend money to make money. When you hire them, you’re helping them pay for their investments.
“Photography is a very equipment-intensive business, and the equipment is expensive,” says Scott Squire of NonFiction Weddings, a Seattle-based photography team with 10 years of experience. To each wedding, he and his partner bring six or seven top-drawer lenses, a handful of strobes, three camera bodies, one backup and innumerable accessories. (In contrast, if my equipment had failed, my backup would have been my camera phone.)
Staying on top of new technology in the digital age is its own challenge, one that takes a professional commitment and expense. “The rate of change [in digital media] can be stupefying,” laughs longtime Seattle-based wedding photographer Sharlane Chase. She keeps up with the flow of information at annual weeklong workshops and seminars, and it shows in her final product.
On a side note, like all of you reading this magazine, I also happen to be planning my own wedding. My fiancé and I are on a tight budget and had planned to take a gamble and hire an amateur photographer friend. Now? We’re determined to find a way to get a pro.
Vicky and Chris would have been pretty disappointed if I had been their only photographer. If anyone ever does ask me to take pictures at their wedding, I’ll be happy to show up with my Nikon, and I may even take the best disposable-camera shots of the whole night. I just hope someone like Joey is there, too.