So, You’re Looking for a #WeddingPhotographer ? | Part 7
FINAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONSIDERATIONS
Here it is, the last part in this blog series. For those who have read all of the preceding posts, I thank you and I hope they have been informative. Experience has shown me that there are many people seeking out wedding photographers, and aren’t sure how to go about it or what to expect.
For anyone who has yet to read the preceding parts or need to review any of them again, you can link to them from here:
• Part 1 The Question of Divorce When Considering Wedding Photography
• Part 2 When to Search and Book?
• Part 3 Average Pricing for a Professional Wedding Photographer
• Part 4 All About Engagement Photography
• Part 5 Pre-Wedding Event Planning and Coverage
• Part 6 Consultation on Wedding Day Photography
• Part 7 Final Wedding Photography Considerations (here you’re are)
This final post is about associated wedding photography possibilities that could actually be your first or only considerations in having wedding-related portraits done. It’s also about making sure that you consult on an output that you’re looking for because wedding photography is an investment.
The options could be a lot of fun in creative expression or they may clash with your sense of propriety or economic limitations. It all depends on your personality and sense of responsibility, as most things in life do.
Morning After Photography
You may have already heard about this trending by now. I wrote a bit about bridal boudoir in Part 4. Well, this is a relatively new version of it.
It seems to have started back around 2011 or 2012 when super talented, super creative, ultramodern New York-based photographer Michelle Jonné began offering portrait sessions to couples that gave the impression that the consummation had taken place.
The audacity to do this not only indicates that Jonné is not only creative and risk taking in business but also a visual artist. Not all great artists push or question existing social or political status quo but it is quite common for artists to do so in one way or another. Jonné’s an artist, and of course I mean that as a high complement.
Like bridal/engagement boudoir, morning after photography does not feature people actually having sex or even simulating sexual intercourse. It is; nevertheless, the creation of erotic images that definitely suggest that newlyweds have passionately unleashed their physical desire for each other after they’ve tied the knot or are about to. Even though there’s a chance that after a very full wedding day, a couple won’t actually have the umpf to do the deed.
How far can you go without being sleazy? There’s no nudity associated but actual or implied nudity is conceivable. As racy and exciting as the outcome can be, the shots would be considered absolutely boring for any genuine purveyor of X-rated material.
Yeah, right! Like, what for? Who are you going to show these pictures to, grandma? Probably not. Chances are that the shoot and the occasional review of these special glamourous boudoir shots will be long-lasting, fun, vanity-serving experiences just for the couples who dare pursue this opportunity. Maybe images would be shared among very close likeminded friends. Maybe you’d be inclined to go much further than that. After all, we now live in a time in which all kinds of people post far more sexually provocative, and frankly weird and obscene pictures of themselves all over the Internet. I’ve heard that some want to prove that marriage doesn’t mean bed death.
The argument is understood. While we live in a world in which increasingly more are willing to say; “to each their own,” it still seems like photographers and prospective clients should draw a line at what should be photographed and shared for the sake of propriety and common sense — whatever the latter means these days. As long as there will be a need or want for it; nevertheless, “to each their own,” will still win out on this one.
It must be said though, that posting racy images of yourself online — even if there’s no nudity, can still result in others judging you harshly. You can still lose your job, and getting caught up in a scandal that others will make into a mission to never let you live it down. So, think very carefully about the consequences of showing off something so beautiful but risqué.
The adversity may not even be due to you or a friend of yours publishing the photos. As with any wedding photography or portrait assignment, it is an intellectual property standard that the photographer gets to own and use all images as he or she sees fit. Worldwide, there are release clauses built-in to all such agreements. So, if the photographer self-promotes by using any of these pictures, you could still be spotted somewhere in a seemingly compromising position.
A possible way around this, is negotiating with your photographer to amend an agreement so that only you will have the right to publish such images anywhere, anytime. The chances of such a negotiation succeeding are slim but not impossible. It’s worth it to ask! If success is possible, do expect that any chance of receiving a discount on such photography will go straight out the window.
Morning after photography still isn’t a major trend. In fact, it has become more used in fashion-related editorial photography. Morning after shoots, nevertheless, is also not showing any sign of disappearing altogether, and likely because of the editorial work. There’s just enough of a demand that other photographers have begun to present the option to clients.
Despite the name, a morning after photography shoot is most likely conducted several months after an actual wedding day and honeymoon, and even under a separate agreement apart from that for the actual wedding. Probably by then, you will have shared your truly most intimate moments alone with your significant other. As you should have.
Am I willing to push this creative and social envelope with clients? Yes, but I’m disinclined to mention it during a consultation. It’s my same approach with bridal boudoir. Clients who seriously want to express themselves this way will request it without any prompting. Just don’t think that anything goes with me. If you request something that breeches even my boundaries of decency, I’ll be sure to diplomatically let you know.
How does a couple go about getting up the nerve to do this? You have to get your head around what it takes to approach your photographer with ideas for such a shoot. The creativity starts with you and is to be pushed by you, not your photographer. Committing to it seems, to me, to be a considerable test of your relationship with the one you’re about to marry or have already married. Before even going to consult with a photographer, you have to get together with your partner and openly come to terms with your respective sexual fantasies and fetishes because these might be what you want a photographer to help you dramatize in pictures. You have to share these thoughts and feelings with each other first, and without ever making each other feel dirty, depraved or ashamed for having such desires. Of course, unless you like feeling dirty, depraved or ashamed. Some couples do achieve this sexual honesty in their private lives while many others simply can’t.
Whether you’re a boy or girl, gay or straight, you may want to see your man looking like a clean-shaven Wall Street stock broker in slacks, suspenders and expensive leather shoes or a beastly, sweaty, brutish mountain man in filthy coveralls with an unkempt beard down to his chest. Perhaps you fancy your girl in glamourous lingerie, pearls and the highest stiletto heels or as a tough cop who has responded to your call about a possible neighbourhood prowler on your wedding night. Just maybe, you like the idea of simply waking up next to your new mate feeling their skin against yours as you embrace, and sharing body warmth. That sexy, seductive and protective type of warmth that signifies that you belong to each other exclusively. All of these possibilities are only just the beginning. How much further it goes all depends on what you are willing to acknowledge turns you and your mate on, and what you’re willing to dramatize before a photographer’s lens.
I think this is what it really takes for you to pursue a morning after shoot. Apart from that, you have to find a photographer who can forever be respectful of your erotic, romantic, creative vision that comes from a place of genuine love for the uniquely special person in your life.
Trash the Dress Photography
Love it! Its roots are not in wedding photography but in editorial bridal fashion photography, and it goes from mild to extreme. It has grown into a permanent feature of wedding photography, and it is requested by women who want to symbolically burn the bridge between their single and married lives (sometimes that means after a divorce), have a good time doing it, have no intention of keeping an expensive gown that they’ll wear only once, and have no intention of handing their dresses over to someone else for any reason.
The only drawback to it, for someone willing to get rid of their wedding dress, is the environmental impact. You may think it a waste to not give or sell the dress off to someone else who may reuse it. Style can be everything to a bride, however, so if you’re sure that your dress will become outdated or worse, cursed, after you’ve worn it, you might want to consider remembering the best of having the dress by trashing it glamorously!
Due to it’s origins in fashion, trash the dress (a.k.a.: “burn the dress”) portraiture usually depicts only the newlywed bride but sometimes the groom is right in there too.
It always has its own shoot day sometime after a wedding, if there’s a wedding at all. Many photographers quote full price for this as an item separate from the actual wedding package. I’m actually considering offering discounts or rebates on wedding photography packages to clients who are determined to go through with it. I welcome feedback on that.
It’s a funny term I know, and it does cause confusion. The name is more than likely derived from the artist’s proof which, historically, is a representational print of artwork – the digital age has expanded on the concept because not all artist’s proofs are printed now. In one brief sentence, a wedding photography proof is a representation of the final wedding portrait.
Digital photography was created by Kodak in 1975 but it didn’t become commonplace until the 90’s. I started learning photography as a kid back in the 80’s when analogue film was still king. For those who actually don’t know, back then all film negatives were chemically processed the same way. The pictures from the developed negatives were first printed as small images on common low-cost photographic paper as contact sheets or as larger prints. These first drafts were the proofs, and they were checked with magnifying glasses to see which images would be selected for special enhancements and retouching.
The negatives were used to make final prints of the chosen images on higher quality photopaper with all necessary enhancements in place. Wonderful work by highly knowledgeable and skilled photographers and darkroom technicians were made this way for a century.
Digital photography involves the use of cameras that record information on digital media (sometimes even on analogue film which images are later digitized), and the use of computers to review and critique the initial images as they were recorded for selection for editing. Digital photography also involves the proofing stage, and the editing or retouching of those images by use of computer software like Photoshop and Lightroom to produce the final images.
Notice that with the advent and growth of digital technology, minimal money and no materials have to be spent to give clients a tantalizing idea what they’re buying because proofs no longer have to be printed. With that in consideration, wedding photographers now have several means of proofing wedding pictures to clients for approval, including the old-fashioned way of printing everything. The means of proofing relied on may impact why you choose to hire one wedding photographer over another.
Proofing is when clients can really contribute to analogue or digital post-production decisions. A client may see their proofs and think that the exposure appears too dull or dark, and advise the photographer to brighten the images up a bit before printing anything into final individual pictures or albums.
Online wedding photography proofing has become a leading way for photographers to allow their clients to preview their pictures. This is because the service features easy to use integrated slideshows, and password access to accounts allows friends and family to weigh in on the decision-making. Orders can be made online, and files can be e-mailed depending on data size.
There are downfalls to online proofing. Accessibility to accounts are time-restricted so, if you happen to be away, in the hospital or anything happens to prevent you from logging in to scrutinize your pictures during the viewing window, you won’t get that chance. This online service costs money to the photographer that gets transferred to the client. Online proofing can be fairly inexpensive on their own but added to all of your other wedding costs, it could blow your wedding photography budget.
Seeing your images on your computer screen or smartphone display can also cause issues due to respective resolutions. After getting your photographer to brighten your pictures up to your satisfaction, you may find the final prints look too washed out or so colour bold that your eyes hurt.
You may also have to preview images that are proof marked or watermarked against photographer copyright violations. That’s right, as aforementioned, even though you pay for your pictures your photographer still has legal rights to own the images and use them as he or she feels fit.
Proofing by CD, DVD or e-mail is still done. You still get to see them on screen but are still susceptible to making post-production errors due to screen resolution misinterpretations.
Proof books have come a long way aesthetically. They’re now beautifully hardbound like a finished album but their pages are still printed in contact sheet arrangements with gaudy image numbers. Each proof is also small, so you better get yourself a good quality magnifying glass. The final album will look much better but you need to use the proof book to make selections for the final wedding book.
Printed proofs are also still done, and are still typically 4×6” size. That size is better than what you have to deal with in a contact sheet, and your colour, shade and detail resolutions will be true. It’s easy to select which shots you want made into final portraits. Of course, printing costs more than looking at images digitally, and you usually have to keep paying the photographer for additional prints.
As a potential wedding photography client or even as a photographer, what’s your preference?
The Flip-Side of Providing References is Continued Contact
By the way, just a parting question regarding business etiquette. It would be interesting to see what the majority responses would be, if there are any direct responses at all.
Do you like the idea of your wedding photographers wishing you happy anniversary every year after your wedding day or do you just want us to leave you alone after all business has been concluded?
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Gorgeous photos and great tips. I would have loved ‘Trash The Dress’!!! I think it’s fine for wedding photographers to call annual to wish a Happy Anniversary if a true bond was formed.
“If a true bond was formed;” that’s key right there. On average, how close does a client and event photographer get during an event if they hadn’t been well acquainted beforehand?
Would not be cut out for this kind of photography as I would get stressed out with the fear of not pleasing folk .
That is a very real fear. When I’m hired to shoot a wedding my anxiety lasts for months, even a more than a year, because there’s absolutely NO room for error.
From consultation and price quoting to the delivery of the final product on time, you’re definitely working under extreme pressure. You can NEVER make a mistake. You have to get EVERYTHING right the first time, and EVERYTIME you do a wedding. The reward only comes after you receive your pay, and your clients are completely satisfied long afterward. You certainly know you’ve nailed it if they give you a referral or hire you again later.
I shot the wedding of a social worker who included a small autistic boy she regularly cared for in the wedding party. There was uncertainty as to how the child would react to me photographing him, and I think his aunt was also invited to the wedding.
I have always been naturally sensitive to the varying temperaments of our species but, truth be told, he was the first autistic child I’ve ever had to photograph and I too couldn’t be absolutely sure if I could make the right moves at a wedding. I was aware that every autistic child experiences their autism completely different from each other. There’s no reliable blueprint to follow.
My mostly ad lib approach was to quickly get close enough to the boy to photograph him while triggering his curiosity so that he wasn’t immediately startled, but also work quickly to get the portraits the bride wanted of him and back off so that my presence didn’t linger and begin to irritate him. Some of the invited began to move in out of fear that the boy would suddenly have a panic attack but the whole time I was pressing the shutter release button, and changing the camera’s orientation I kept saying to everyone and the child, “It’s okay, he’s okay, you’re doing just fine!”
It worked, and the aunt started to clap and exclaim, “WOW, YOU’RE REALLY GOOD!” right there during the pre-ceremony shoot. I’ll never forget that.
In the end, the couple loved their album, especially the groom, and grooms are usually the hardest to impress when it comes to wedding photography which is typically looked upon as a girl’s thing. That was a big win, and my stress completely disappeared.
You raise some very important questions that need to be answered when hiring a wedding photographer. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, Allan. Well done.
Thank you so much, Otto. It was a fun series to write, and I may still produce an online book or e-book on the matter, like you suggested previously, but with a different twist.
A thoughtfully written post, Allan, and your photos are terrific. I agree with Paula, I don’t think I could handle the pressure! The last image, as traditional as it may be, is excellent.
Thank you, Jane.
Lovely moments 🙂
Thank you, Joshi.