Sunday, February 1, 2004

The art of amateur wedding photography, part I


By James Booth

Not everyone has the budget to hire a professional photographer and must rely on a friend or family member that owns a good camera to document their wedding. Just because someone can't afford a professional photographer doesn't mean they shouldn't have nice wedding pictures. These are the photographers this article is aimed at.

With the exception of the day their children are born, there is likely no other day in a couple's life that is more important than their wedding day.

And invariably something will go wrong, it always does. Is this really something you want to be a part of? I certainly don't, I know better.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not against marriage. I like it so well I've done it twice myself. Neither am I against the wedding photographer. As a matter of fact, there is no photographer I respect more than the wedding photographer, with the possible exception of the child photographer. There is no way on Earth I would want to take on that kind of responsibility.

I myself have been approached on several occasions to photograph weddings, but have always been smart enough to decline no matter how much compensation was involved. I'm just not confident enough in my own skill to take on that momentous task. The way my luck goes, I would be the one thing at the wedding that got screwed up. It would be my fault that the day was ruined and there were no memories of this most important of days.

Even though I've never actually played the role of the wedding photographer, I have personally been in quite a few weddings and been involved with many more. I am more than familiar with the role of the wedding photographer and with what works and what doesn't. With that in mind, I may have a few nuggets that will help you out.

If you're already a professional wedding photographer then I'm sure there is very little, if anything, you could learn from me. I'll defer to your proven expertise, and if I don't know what I'm talking about, then send me an email and let me know.

All photos in this article are courtesy of Gary Maiers of Robin Gary Photography in Moline, IL. After twenty years in marketing, Gary opened his own studio, and with his wife JoAnn, has specialized in wedding photography for the last twelve years. Gary left film behind three years ago and has been strictly digital since. His work can be seen at Special thanks go to Gary and JoAnn for their help with this article.

Preparation 101

Whether you're using actual film or digital "film," you'll want to make sure you have enough. However much you think you'll need, double it. Then triple it again. It's much better to have too much and not need it than to run short. You'll be going for quantity in order to achieve quality.