Wedding photography has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. More and more you will see the term Documentary, Reportage and even photo-journalistic. Essentially they all mean the same thing, capturing your day as it happened. Real people having real moments.
A brief history of wedding photography.
Wedding photography seems to be started back in the mid 1800s after the English monarchy posed for portraits and a trend started. The original wedding photography scene would have been just one photo, which was posed with no smiling. This is because the camera technology at the time would have been bulky and required people to come to a studio and then stand still long enough for the camera to capture the photo. Also the photos were black and white and printed on small, metal sheets, known as a daguerrotype.
As camera technology evolved and cameras got lighter, film got smaller and flashes got better the photographer could then visit the bride and groom at their venue. This meant more pictures were being taken, but due to the expense of film meant each picture still had to count and the best way to make pictures count is to make people pose.
During this period it would have really been those who had money who had their wedding pictures taken but after the war those hobbyists with cameras would gate-crash weddings, take pictures and sell them to the couples. This then moved onto couples booking in advance photographers.
Finally we got to the digital camera. Unlimited pictures can be taken, super fast autofocus lenses, amazingly low-light sensors and the ability to really develop photos in the digital dark room has created a whole new level of wedding photography.
Documentary photography has always existed, It’s nothing new. But the evolution of camera technology, social media and the uncomfortableness of posing has pushed the current trend and I’m sure it will continue to evolve.
So what is a documentary reportage wedding photography?
Your friends and family are everything to you. You know them and their quirks! So when you look back at your day, you want to see those people being themselves.
Your wedding is a special celebration of love. Emotions are on a high and all come out during the day, capturing them for you to look back on is what it’s all about.
Enjoy your day
Don’t feel the need to play up to the camera or pose. Enjoy just taking in your day, interacting with everyone and don’t be distracted by the camera.
You can’t be everywhere, so there’s always things that go on that you didn’t see. Not that I can capture every single thing that goes on but there’s always something that when you look through the photos you see a new angle on your day.
As it happened
When you look through the photos, you will see your day as it happened. The laughter the tears, the moments of contemplation, kids playing, guests chatting, bad weather, good weather. Whatever happened, it’s captured for you to reminisce on.
When it comes to your wedding pictures the last thing anyone wants is for them to be lost. But the process for never losing your wedding pictures starts before the wedding.
Having Redundancy, or in other words backups, is perhaps what sets apart a professional from an amateur. For a professional it’s not an afterthought, it’s a way of life. The mantra is to have at least 3 copies of the data at all times, with one of them being offsite (Stored in a different location to where you are).
On top of having backups, organizing and naming all this data is also a high priority. This helps keep track of what can be multiple weddings on a computer at once and also for future reference.
I’m going to take you through my workflow (process) for keeping your images safe whatever may happen.
Before the Wedding
Use dual memory card cameras
Use more than 1 camera
Check & format memory cards
Batteries fully charged
Have spares ready to go on me
It’s not just data that can get lost. Having extra equipment and accessories also helps make sure everything that can be captured will be.
During The Wedding
Refresh batteries during dinner
Check memory cards & change if they’re getting full
After The Wedding
Keep one set of memory cards in a trouser pocket for drive home – this is a temporary offsite copy (If cameras get stolen, e.g whilst at petrol station)
Keep the other set of memory cards in the cameras, in the car boot.
On the way home, unlikely as it may seem, could be a time when your photos could be lost. What happens if I’m in an accident, got my car stolen etc. Having a copy of your photos in my pocket can make the difference.
Keep the set in my trousers in the car – This is now the temporary offsite copy.
The other set is then set to backup onto the computer overnight.
Use of a dual high speed memory card reader so can copy 2 cards at once.
Normally between 300-500GB of data to copy from at least 2 cards.
PhotoMechanic is a powerful software for “ingesting” (copying) data from memory cards.
A job profile is created on Photomechanic. This will then be the basis for renaming and organizing files.
Copied to 2 locations on computer – One is the “Edit” Drive, the other is “Raw” Drive. The “Raw” Drive is NEVER touched.
Files are renamed with job location, couples names, cameras & lens info and date.
After copying, nothing is deleted from the memory cards. They are then kept aside until data is backed up offsite
“Backblaze” is a cloud storage system.
Files are automatically backed up online but does take time.
Before I go to bed I want to make sure that you photos are safe. This stage is automated once the cards are put in the card reader and the computer can be left to do its work.
This process will result in having at least 3 copies of the data, with one copy being offsite, one copy on the computer that will never be touched and the other copy that is to be edited. The files are also all organized and renamed.
“Edit” drive is automatically and continually backed up, using windows backup, to a separate hard drive that’s sole purpose is to be a backup. It is never used for anything else.
The “Edit” Drive is also automatically and continuously backed up to Backblaze.
This process means that as the edit takes place there are 2 copies on the computer and 1 offsite copy.
Files are exported as JPEGs in various dimensions for delivery for web, client etc
The whole wedding editing session folder is then copied onto another hard drive called “Delivery” and also “Raw”
The “Delivery” Hard drive is automatically backed up to “Backblaze”
The “Raw” Hard drive is automatically backed up to “Backblaze”
This results in 2 copies on the PC and 2 offsite copies on “Backblaze”
What to do once you get your wedding photos
One you have receive notification that your photos are ready you will then have the ability to view them online. I highly recommend that one of the things you do is to download all your photos on to every computer you have and also into any cloud storage you have.
This will mean you will never lose your photos.
All this seems like real hassle, I know! Its very much worth spending the time to do though. The last thing I want to do after your big day is to tell you your photos are gone. That to me would be the worst possible thing.
That’s why I have developed this workflow of backing up everything. I really recommend you take it seriously aswell. So at least for one thing, you can be assured that your photos will never be lost.
It seems the moment the word “wedding” is mentioned everything gets 10x more expensive. I mean how hard is it for someone to click a button and get some photos for you?
Perhaps there’s more to it than meets the eye. Let me help you see why wedding photography isn’t cheap but is actually value for money.
To help understand what you’re paying for I’ve broken it down into 4 areas-
Craft & Experience
Tools help people get a job done. Buy cheap, buy twice is the rule of thumb, one I firmly believe in. When it comes to making sure your wedding day is captured with minimal issues good quality tools is a must.
Here are a few tools that are needed to get you your pictures –
2 x Cameras (At least )
2 x Lenses (At least)
Many High Capacity, Fast & High Quality Memory Cards
Batteries (Camera, Flash, Etc)
Light Stands, Modifiers, Flashes
Image Editing Software Subscription (Capture One, Adobe LR & PS)
Website Hosting & Maintenance
Many Hard Drives
Cloud Backup Subscription
High Quality Monitor & Monitor Calibration Tool
Car (Tax, Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance, Etc)
Internet & Phone
Comfortable Shoes & Smart Clothing
I’ve only really listed obvious things. There’s a lot more smaller items, like pens etc, that are always a constant expense. But I’m sure you get the point.
Time is an expense that is easy to under-estimate. You see me turn up on your wedding day for 10-12 hours and I can forgive you for thinking that’s about the limit of my labour. That 10-12 hours is definitely not an easy ride, I’m always knackered after a day on my feet with my mind in constant use. But those 10-12 hours aren’t the first hours I’ve put in or the last.
In the build up to your wedding there’s a good amount of time, albeit in lots of small amounts, that are spent in client relations, emails, research, preparation, etc.
After the wedding, is perhaps when the bulk of the work comes in. Before I even get to editing your pictures there’s a few other steps. Backup is something of a mantra I preach and that takes time. Cataloguing and organizing the photos is also a crucial but boring part of the process.
Then there’s culling, editing, exporting, and delivery. Even then that’s not the end. Weddings I shot last year I’m still spending time on. Creating Albums, Blogs, Advertising & Maintaining a social presence all are an ongoing time expense. Again like with tools, there’s always a lot of smaller things that add up and take time.
Craft & Experience
Before I get onto craft, I just want to talk about experience. This is something that can never really be quantified. It’s something that’s always being built. It’s connected with time, but in the sense of what you have done with your time.
Experience of how a wedding works, how a camera works, how to edit pictures, how to keep on top of your taxes, are all things that are needed for a wedding photographer.
Also just because you have experience doesn’t mean you’re good at anything. Someone who’s shot weddings for 20 years v someone who’s shot them for 1 year – who’s the better wedding photographer? All depends on the end result really and can be very subjective.
Essentially what I’m trying to say though is that what you’re paying for is someone who is not only experienced but a craftsman. Someone who really knows how to balance light, composition, moments, camera settings, the limits of that camera and lens, where to be at any given moment, knows how to deal with people in the right way, the list goes on.
Before the wedding it’s really hard to see the value in a service like wedding photography. It’s something that’s a long way away, there’s little emotion in it.
It’s only after the wedding day that the value comes. After the excitement, people, moments, emotions, etc have passed does wedding photography bring its value. Consider it an investment. Something that will only get better with age.
It’s through the photos that you can hold onto that day. A photo is a powerful way to keep memories fresh for years to come.
So if you’re wondering whether to spend all that money on a professional photographer, then I’m going to say yes. You won’t regret it.
I know I’m biased as that’s how I make a living and have an interest in telling you this, but from seeing so many people so happy to relive their wedding day through photos is evidence enough to me that it’s more than worth it.
Gone are the days of film, taking a couple of hundred shots, taking them to the chemist to get developed and then posting them out. Now we have the ability to take thousands of images, carefully curate the best ones, adjust them to our liking and then what?
Being we have a digital product we have 3 options –
How you receive each of the above can be done multiple ways also. I can email you the pictures, send them on a usb or i can put them on an online gallery.
I choose to put them on an online gallery. This is where Pixieset comes in. To me there are several advantages to this.
Beautifully displayed no matter what device you use
You have control of who sees and downloads your pictures
Client Exclusive Options
Ability to download all pictures, or just the ones you like
Option to order prints direct from the gallery
Curate your favourite pictures
Let’s look more in depth at each of these areas
Pixieset is designed to work with any device, so whether you use your computer or phone, it will look amazing.
When we go onto your gallery you will be met with a large feature image, your names and date of the wedding.
It’s like we have got the front cover of your wedding album in our hands.
As we scroll down your images will be displayed with large thumbnails, all arranged to fit the best way on the device you’re using.
Between the feature image and the start of the gallery of your pictures you’ll see different tabs. I normally like to arrange a highlights set, and then a colour and B&W sets.
The highlights set is normally a selection of the best images from the day in colour and B&W. The other sets will be all the images in colour and then B&W
You can click on any of the images to enlarge them. You can then navigate using your keyboard arrow keys or by clicking on the arrows on the left or right of the image.
**** One great feature and the best way to take in your photos is to click on the first one and in the top right corner you will see a play button. This will start a slideshow of all the pictures in this set. A recommendation would be to put a Spotify playlist together of your favourite songs to then play in the background whilst you enjoy the slideshow option. *****
Who Sees Your Pictures
As default I will make the picture sets for colour and B&W password protected. This means only you and those you wish to share the password with see all the pictures.
I leave the Highlights selection public so anyone can view these. This means, for example, you could provide the link only on social media for others to view a selection of pictures from the day.
If you wish the highlights can be password protected as well. This can be a separate password to the Colour & B&W sets to still keep those pictures viewable by only those you really want to see them, or the same password for all sets.
*** Please note Passwords are case and space sensitive *****
As default I allow your gallery to be seen on the homepage. This can be hidden so that only those with the link know they are there. This can be used in conjunction with not using a password so you can give a limited amount of access to those who have the link but not just anybody can go on pixieset and find your pictures.
Default for downloads is to have them only accessible to those with the PIN. This will be a 4 digit pin like you would have on your bank card. This then allows you to download your pictures in one go, in different resolutions or the odd ones you like.
This means you can control who has the ability to download your pictures.
Below the feature image and before the gallery on the right are a few options. The far right arrow symbol is to share the gallery. You can either copy the link or share to Facebook , Twitter via email etc.
The option is also available for individual photos when you click on them to enlarge them.
How You Get the Passwords and Pin
You will receive the password and pin in my email to you to say that your pictures are ready.
Client Exclusive Options
Guest V Client Access
To preface this section it’s good to know the difference between guest and client access.
As these are your photos you are the client. A guest would be anyone else that can visit the gallery.
When you first enter the gallery you will be given the option to enter as a guest or a client.
The default is to have no password for the guest. They will only enter their email to be able to enter. Once in they can only view the highlights set.
If a password has been set for both guests and clients you will need to enter the appropriate password to the relevant client or guest access. Again the guest will only have access to the highlights set.
Guests cannot view, download, or purchase private photos or private Sets
Extra Level of Password Protection
This is connected with you having the ability to have different sets password protected. This is what I use as a default and thus allows for the highlights set to be public but the Colour & B&W sets to be protected. This also allows you to password protect the highlights set with one password, and then have the Colour & B&W sets protected with a different password.
Mark as Private
The other useful feature is that you can mark photos as private.
There may be pictures you don’t want guests to see when they view the gallery. When hovering over the photo or when it’s enlarged one of the icon options will be a picture of an eye with a line through it. This is the option to mark the photo as private (or hidden) from any guest viewing the highlights set.
****Please note that this only works with sets that guests can view. In most cases this will only be the Highlights set.***
Due to this feature an option that is available is to have all sets open to guests and then you have the ability to private photos and select which ones they can see.
The main two options for download are to download a whole collection or individual photos.
Below the feature image and before the gallery one of the option icons is a down arrow. This allows you to download the whole gallery.
You will need to enter your email and PIN to gain access to this feature.
You will then be given options on which sets you want to download, the resolution and where.
The highlights set is made up of pictures from the Colour & B&W sets so it’s up to you if you wish to download that set as well. You will have two options for resolution – High (at least 3600px) or Web (1024px).
You can then choose where to download to – Computer, Dropbox or Google Photos. I highly suggest you download to at least 2 different places. One to your PC and the other to the cloud. Unfortunately you can’t download to 2 different places at once so will require you doing this twice. But it will be worth it as the last thing we want is to lose your photos.
It will then pack your photos into a compressed ZIP folder which will then need to be uncompressed once downloaded to view the photos.
For any individual photo you can download either by hovering over the image or enlarging and then selecting the down arrow icon for that photo. It will download it at full resolution (at least 3600px) as a jpeg.
By default you will have to enter your email and PIN to download individual photos also. This can also be changed to have no pin and also reduce the resolution to 1024px. You may prefer to do this so guests and clients can download without permission a lower quality version.
Ordering prints can be done by Guests or the Client for individual photos.
By clicking on the shopping trolley icon on each photo you will be given options on what prints you want.
You can order a variety of sized prints with different print mediums, from a 6×4” on photo paper to a 40×30” on metal. You can also choose a multiple of different types and sizes of the same print.
All prints ordered through Pixieset are fulfilled by the printing lab. Any issues with orders would need to be taken up with the printing lab. Even though i’m not responsible for any issues with regards to prints you’ve ordered you can still contact me and we can see what we can do.
Prints are fulfilled by an excellent specialist lab from the UK. So you can expect high end quality prints.
A great tool is the ability to create lists of favourite images.
You favourite an image by clicking on the heart icon for each individual photo. You can then view your favourites together by clicking on the heart icon below the feature image.
By entering the favourites section you have the ability to create different favourite lists. It might be you want a list of photos to print for your family, and then another list of photos to print for yourself.
By going into a favourite list you then have the option to order them as prints, download or share.
By sharing you can send those favourites as an email, get a link to send to someone via whatsapp, and the option to “send to photographer”. “Send to photographer” is a way to collaborate with the photographer, for example, for prints you want that his package offers as part of the deal.
It is also a powertool in helping us create your photo album. You can create two lists, one for photos you have to have in the album and another for photos you don’t want in the album. These can then be “sent to photographer” for me to then use as guidelines for creating your photo album.
As you can see there’s a lot of advantages to using this modern way of delivering your photos. I’m sure as time goes on there will be updates that will only enrich your experience for your wedding photos.
I want to capture your day so that you can look back at these pictures in years to come and remember the day as it was.
My tagline is “real people, real moments” and I love to document the day as it’s really happening. I don’t like to “glam” it up. I’m a warts and all kinda guy.
I will mainly focus on documenting the day rather than staged posing of couples etc – although if someone comes up to me and asks for a picture with someone – more than happy to do that.
I’m more than happy to do the traditional group photos and bride and groom shots. At the end of the day, it’s about you guys and what you want.
So my aim is to please you and help in whatever way I can.
Heres Some Pointers For The Wedding Day
Because I want to capture everything real that happens.
Once we had an initial chat and met everyone- Don’t feel a need to talk to me – I’m here to capture you enjoying time with your friends and family.
Don’t feel a need to look at the camera and smile – don’t play up to camera – be real and interact with those around you
Basically ignore me – the novelty of me being around will soon wear off.
It might be that I get close to you at times – If a moment happens then i might try to emphasise it by getting close up to your face with a wide angle lens and capture what’s going on around you as well
Don’t think you’re in my way – if someone walks across, that can add to an image at times. Sometimes i’m purposely using someone as a way to frame an image or getting their reaction
Just enjoy the day – Focus on getting the most out of all the hard work you’ve put into the day. – i’m there to help you remember it in the future.
For the couple photos i dont really pose – it’s perhaps the first time that day you have a moment “alone” together and can just focus on each other. I’m not one to particularly pose – i might give some direction – but essentially i want you both to just enjoy the short time you have together and capture that.
Things that can help you get the most from your photos
Get ready in a room with good natural light – I.e a large window.
Get any items or details you want photographed together – i.e hang dress in nice position.
Let me know about any special items, i.e grandmothers ring, a note on the bottom of a shoe etc – Then I know to get pictures of them more.
Enjoy the aisle! – Remember to smile as you walk down.
Suggest to your guests to really take in the moments rather than use the phone & camera to record everything – that’s what I’m for.
Have a clear idea of the group photos you want. – we can spend longer than you think doing these so get the important ones done first and then if we have time we can do more.
Have a table by where you have the photos done – drinks, phones etc can be put down while we take photos.
If you can have the speeches by the head table, not the other side of the room. – best way to show everyone’s reactions.
Be aware this is where I like to get in close – This is when some of the best reactions happen – so might crouch between people, or stand right behind the speaker etc.
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