While the names and locations in this story are fictional, it is based on real and unfortunate wedding photography horror stories that we have heard first hand from friends, contacts, wedding guests, clients, etc about the infamous “Uncle Bob”.
“My Uncle Bob has an amazing camera, I think I am going to just pay him $500 to shoot my wedding.” While Uncle Bob may be very good, here are a few reasons to go with the professional.
As we have previously said in the “How Do I Find A Wedding Photographer?” section, wedding photography is so much more than just having a nice camera. Uncle Bob may have a nice camera, in fact, let’s say Uncle Bob is a lawyer and photography is his passion. So, not only does he have a nice camera, but he has the best camera money can buy at the moment, the Canon 1D X Mark II ($5,499). Even more so, Uncle Bob loves shooting in his spare time so much that he even bought a full set of Canon L Series lenses and accessories ($15,000).
Already, we are assuming that this Uncle Bob is much more prepared than 99% of the Uncle Bobs out there. Now let’s also assume that Uncle Bob frequently goes out, once or twice a month and shoots nature and urban scenes with all of his great equipment. Uncle Bob even had some of his work published.
Wedding time comes, and Uncle Bob is feeling great and confident that he is going to do an awesome job. Uncle Bob starts with some outside shots of the preparation location and everything is looking good. Then Uncle Bob steps inside where the preparation is taking place. Uncle Bob doesn’t like manually exposing his pictures, so he shoots with the cameras help. Unfortunately, the camera is only so smart.
Uncle Bob starts snapping preparation shots and notices that his lens isn’t quite wide enough. So, he quickly goes out to the car to swap out his lenses since he wasn’t anticipating this problem. When he gets back, the Bride’s makeup is done, and now they are working on the hair. Uncle Bob didn’t take any time to check out the lighting prior to the shoot, so he has no off camera lighting, or any additional lighting equipment. So, Uncle Bob figures that he can just raise his ISO settings super high so that he can capture enough light to properly expose the scene. This works, however, little does he know, that every picture shot will be too grainy to blow up beyond a 4×6 print.
Uncle Bob now heads over to shoot the Groom. Uncle Bob looks at the scene and adjusts his camera settings based on what the camera reads. Unfortunately, because there was so much black in the scene from the suits, the camera was overexposing all of the shots to compensate. Uncle Bob didn’t realize though, and just kept chugging away.
Let’s say this is a simple wedding and now it’s time for the ceremony. Uncle Bob scopes out a great spot, pops on his zoom lens, and waits. The Groom makes his way in, and Uncle Bob shoots him like a pro snapping 50 shots as the Groom is coming down the aisle. The only problem is that all 50 shots are out of focus because the subject was walking towards Uncle Bob, and his focus settings were not set for moving subjects.
The Father and Bride begin coming down the aisle, and just the same, Uncle Bob fires away taking 50 more shots. Again, none of which are crisp and in focus.
The wedding ceremony is going great, and Uncle Bob grabs several great shots. But Uncle Bob realizes again, that his camera lens isn’t wide enough, so Uncle Bob runs to his bag to grab a different lens. On his way back, he sees the couple just as they kiss for the first time. Uncle Bob missed it. He also didn’t think to shoot any of the Bride or Groom’s family during the ceremony, as he was trying not to miss anything in the ceremony.
After the ceremony, it’s time for formals. Uncle Bob guides everyone to his favorite spot outdoors where he has a beautiful shot of the view. The subjects are facing away from the sun, so that he can capture the grandeur of the scene. Because the formals are being shot in the bright afternoon sun, Uncle Bob doesn’t realize that the camera is underexposing the entire scene since the background is so bright.
Uncle Bob takes only a few family formal shots, and only one shot of each set. Little to Bob’s knowledge, every shot is coming out too dark and completely underexposed.
Reception time has arrived, and Uncle Bob has already worked 10 hours! He figures that he should relax and enjoy the wedding too since he is family. So, he gives his camera to his young son who loves photography and tells him to shoot.
Uncle Bob is so exhausted that he doesn’t shoot for the rest of the night. I mean, he is helping out the Bride and Groom so much by saving them money, and doing it for so cheap that he figures it shouldn’t matter anyway.
Since Uncle Bob doesn’t have the software, or even know how to post produce images. He simply gives the Bride and Groom a DVD with all of the images burned to it. The Bride and Groom sit down, dying with anticipation and pop the DVD into the computer to start looking through their Uncle’s beautiful work!
100 pictures into the 2,000 pictures Uncle Bob shot, the Bride is already in tears, as every photo is too dark, too bright, blurry, or just not that good. Furthermore, the Bride and Groom notice that there is no shot of their first kiss, and the only reception shots were of Uncle Boe’s son shooting all of the kids at the reception.
While this story in particular is fictional, each one of the events and outcomes are from real situations that we wedding photographers hear about all of the time. In fact, so many of our client’s guests have approached us during a wedding to tell us about their “Uncle Bob” experience, and how they wish they had hired us to shoot the wedding. So, why does this happen to Uncle Bob? Because the bottom line is, while Uncle Bob had all the professional gear (which is unlikely in the first place), and experience shooting nature and outdoors scenes he doesn’t have the following:
In addition to all of this, there is so much more that Uncle Bob would need in order to take professional quality wedding photographs from start to finish.
While there are a lot of areas in your wedding budget that you can save money on, wedding photography should not be one of them. If you want to have professional, high quality, creative imagery of your wedding day that will be timeless heirlooms to be shown and handed down to generations to come, you will need a professional wedding photographer.
Often times, wedding photography studios such as our own, will work with clients in customizing their packages in order to fit within their budget. If that is the case, choose quality over products. Choose to have 2 photographers rather than just one, and forgo the album, prints and slideshows for now. We understand that newlyweds are often on a budget, as they are starting their new lives together. So, wait on the products until later in your life. Three, four, even five years from now when you and your family are well established, go ahead and order that album, or those large prints. It might be better to wait to buy gorgeous and real imagery, than to have low quality photography slapped into an album and ready for you when you get back from your honeymoon.
To sum it up, while you can always order products later, you can never order better quality and more creative imagery after your wedding.
Creative. Clean. Different. We are a team of creatives in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with a passion for storytelling. Founded in 2006, our studio has been recognized as one of the best wedding photographers in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky by various publications, websites, and groups. We’d love to show you our studio and walk you through our albums, canvases and other print photography products. We can also provide more information on our Wedding Collections and introduce you to our team! We’d love to help, connect with us now.