Hayley Lehmann Photography Blog

How to ensure you get the best, not the worst, wedding photos

Wednesday May 2nd 2012

Did you read the article a couple of weeks ago in the Daily Mail about how Thomas and Anneka Geary’s wedding day was ruined by a professional photographer they hired for £750?

The photos should have been stunning images which they would treasure forever. Instead Thomas and Anneka were devastated with what they received.

So why did this happen and what can you do to ensure the memories of your special occasion are captured perfectly.

Hayley Lehmann from Hayley Lehmann Photography Ltd is a truly experienced and skilled professional photographer whose clients rave about the quality of her work and the images she delivers. Here’s Hayley’s take on what went wrong …

“The article in the Mail shows the poor quality of photography and highlights several key problems:

  • Why you shouldn’t buy on price alone
  • Well meaning amateurs who reckon they’re professionals
  • Reportage photography catering to clients who want natural, unposed images.

Why you shouldn’t buy just on the price

In America couples are often told to budget 10% of their wedding spend on photography. For Thomas and Anneka this would have meant £1400 instead of the £750 they actually spent.

On this occasion, the photographer’s camera developed a fault, but a true professional would take a minimum of two camera bodies to a wedding just in case. I have had the misfortune to have two camera bodies develop faults at a wedding, but the client never knew as I switched to my third body.

Full-time, professional photographers like me will have crossed the VAT threshold of £77,000 turnover per annum. So if your photographer is VAT registered this provides a clue as to whether they’re running a decent business operation.

And what about their photographic equipment?

For a wedding shoot a true pro will take about £15,000 worth of kit. Add on insurance, computers, storage, software to process the images and the value of a photographer’s time and you can see this can’t be funded by clients only willing to spend £750 for a full day of photography.

Amateur Photographers who reckon they’re pros

It’s so easy to take digital pictures, many people with a decent camera and a £35 website make out that they are a professional photographer.

Photography is the number 1 hobby in the UK. Amateurs pick up a camera and see the cash rewards of being a wedding photographer. They enter the industry and charge low prices and within a year or two when they realise how hard this business really is, they give up and go away.

I equate photography with playing the piano. You might have talent, but unless you practice you will never be any good.

How do you pose family groups when it is raining cats and dogs outside? What do you do if the bride weighs 10 stone more than the groom? These are all situations that I have faced and am adept at handling.

A skilled professional, who you can trust, will have years of experience behind them backed up by the quality training they’ve undergone.

For example, I have been working as a professional photographer for almost 20 years, taken an HNC in design photography, an HND in digital imaging, done a six year apprenticeship, attended literally hundreds of courses and continue to do so. I am a highly skilled retoucher, and my knowledge of computing, software, camera and lighting skills are first class and the reams of testimonials I’ve received give a big clue to my professional skills.

Make sure the photographer you use has this too. If in doubt, check it out.

The problems with Reportage – the natural unposed look

Wedding photographers have tried to cater for the demand for natural photos with a photographic style called Reportage. This means capturing events as they happen without any disturbance or intervention from the photographer.

So what’s wrong with reportage?

I’ve seen many brides crying. Not because they’ve used my service, but because they didn’t. They bought into a completely reportage coverage and subsequently discovered that there wasn’t one photograph of the bride and groom together to display in a photo frame. Read that line again. I didn’t say that there wasn’t one photograph that was suitable; I said that there wasn’t one photograph at all.

Without any guidance from the photographer a couple may socialise with their guests throughout their wedding and find that their paths hardly crossed. The photographer snaps thousands of “reportage” images, but the essential elements are missed.

I use reportage as a tool for much of a wedding, but it is not the only creative style which I employ so my clients never miss out on those special and essential posed shots from their special day. Even posed images can look natural and be great fun.

Quality, attention to detail, talent, professionalism, creativity, empathy and photographic equipment, all comes at a price. Wedding photography is not a buy one; get one free type of product.

So please don’t take a chance on the photography for your special occasion. Book a professional photographer you can trust.

And if I am already booked on your date, there are half a dozen local professional photographers who I know and trust to recommend.”




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