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A Photographer’s Thoughts – The Wedding Photography Myth-buster

Bride Vs Groom - PhotographersToday in our long-running photography series we thought we’d fill you in on the truth behind some of those little wedding myths you may have heard relating to wedding photography. Now don’t get us wrong, some of these ‘myths’ may be true for some people, but all we’re saying is that they shouldn’t be taken as a general rule to be applied to all wedding photographers and in all situations. So let’s see if we can help to bust some of those wedding myths!




1. It’s essential for your photographer to see the venue before the big day.

Some photographers prefer to see the venue beforehand to scout it out and look for good locations to shoot. The fact is though that the quality of the photographs is determined more by the quality of the light at the time of shooting than the location, and for most photographers (unless it’s a particularly enormous sprawling venue), they will simply be inspired by what they see on the day and can assess the spots they want to shoot either as they go along or by arriving slightly early on the morning of the wedding.


2. You MUST have an engagement shoot to get to know your photographer and get used to the camera.

Many photographers offer engagement or pre-wedding shoots and it can be a helpful way to get to know the couple, build trust and help them to get used to being photographed. However whilst they can be great and a fantastic opportunity to get some extra photos an engagement shoot should be thought of as an optional choice rather than being considered essential. As long as you put your trust in them a professional photographer should be able to put the couple at their ease and get some great shots without having photographed the couple before.


3. The group shots will only take a few minutes.

Group shots tend to take longer than you expect, in part because it just takes a while to get all the right people into each shot, but also because the more people there are the more difficult it is to get everyone doing what you’d like them to do. However good your photographer is, if you want lots of group shots you should allocate plenty of time to do them.


4. You need to provide a list of photographs that you want your photographer to shoot throughout the day.

Unless they really are only just starting out your photographer will know effectively how the day is likely to run. If you have something particularly unusual happening on the day then of course let your photographer know, and if you have a rough breakdown of the day that can be very helpful, but you don’t need to provide a list of every shot and every last moment of the day. Most couples book their photographer because they like the style of the shots they take over those of other photographers. If you specify every shot you’re actually making it harder for the photographer to be creative and get the sort of shots you chose them for in the first place.


5. You can’t get any good pictures on a rainy day.

Rain does make it harder to get good photographs, but that’s as much to do with the way you react to it as the weather itself. Rain can make for really good dramatic pictures if you’re willing to grab a brolly and brave the conditions for a few shots! Some of my all time favourites have happened when the sun has briefly hit a patch of rain and created some beautiful light reflections and rainbows!


6. Documentary style photographers never take formal portraits or group shots.

There are some documentary photographers who refuse to take any group or portrait shots, however in the majority of cases documentary / reportage photographers are happy to do formal shots as well, candid shots are just their main focus rather than the formals.


7. Having a beautiful scenic backdrop will make for a great picture.

Epic backdrops can look amazing in photographs, but remember wedding photos aren’t about landscapes, they’re about people, and it’s the people that will nearly always be the main focus of the picture. Sometimes backdrops that look epic just don’t work as a wedding picture, it all depends on the focus and the light. Sometimes it’s a backdrop you wouldn’t expect that actually makes a great picture – a dilapidated building, a torn piece of wallpaper – trust your photographer to choose the right backdrop, not your preconceptions.


8. You should book a ‘day after’ shoot in case of bad weather on the day itself.

Wedding photos are all about emotion. The day after the festivities all that wedding day magic is lost. No matter what the conditions your photographer should be able to get some great photographs. A day after shoot, should you choose to have one, is for getting MORE great shots, not replacing missed opportunities on the day.


9. Your photographer can get great portraits even if you really don’t want your picture taken and refuse their requests.

If you want those great shots you booked your photographer for in the first place you need to work with them in order to achieve it. Photographers can choose all the right angles, get the best location and the perfect light, but if you don’t want to be in that picture they can’t make it a great shot. Work with your photographer and they can get a far superior shot and do it much much quicker than if you fight against them!


10. The quality of the picture depends on how many megapixels the camera is capable of.

Camera shops often sell cameras based on how many megapixels they have but once you hit a certain level it becomes almost irrelevant. Photographers do tend to have very expensive equipment, but it’s more to do with the way the camera manipulates light than the number of megapixels that defines how good the image will be. In terms of equipment it’s predominantly the standard of the lens that defines the quality of the image, not the body of the camera itself. Ultimately though, as Ansel Adams once said “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”


11. It’s really helpful to put together a collection of photographs you like to show your photographer the sort of images you like.

This massively varies from photographer to photographer. Some photographers like to see the sort of poses you like to try to understand what you’re most likely to be comfortable with. For some photographers though, being told you like another’s photographers poses can really throw them, particularly if they’re just a completely different style. Showing your photographer the types of images you particularly like from their own portfolio is probably the safest middle ground!

12. The look of the photographs is all in the editing.

The look of the photographs can be massively adjusted in the edit, but if you’re looking for that golden orange sunshine you’ve seen on some of those American blogs and your wedding took place on a grey day you should probably go and have a second wedding in California. Your photographer will aim to tell the story of the day, and if the day was cloudy and grey then that’s the story they should tell. Your wedding day is about you and your partner, not the weather and grey skies don’t make it any less beautiful. Attempting to photoshop that golden Californian sunshine on afterwards just makes the image false, not more appealing.


So we hope our little myth-breaker helps, but if any of our readers have further myths you’d like us to comment on or disagree with any of our points then please let us know in the comments section.

  • Kristian Leven - May 21, 2013 - 12:28 pm

    Thank you for this Dom – well said and spot on on so many different levels.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine Dunn-Mines - May 21, 2013 - 12:57 pm

    Good common-sense mythbusting, love it. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Helen Leach - May 21, 2013 - 1:42 pm

    Excellent blog – really good advice. Can I add to point 4 though that it is a good idea to let your photographer know how many group shots you’ll want and roughly how many people will be involved as it helps them to work out how long they’ll need.ReplyCancel

    • John Young Photography - May 25, 2015 - 9:22 pm

      I think next time I go to visit a client I will just put this website up for them to see. You covered some great points there, like how long group shots take…. its like herding cattle sometimes. With people stopping at bars and toilets.

      Also to make another point I have recently seen so many couples asking me questions that they obviously read somewhere in a magazine. I had one couple ask for all the RAW files – when I asked them what they thought the RAW files were they said they had no idea but an article said they should ask for them.

      So couples please ask questions that are important to you – not what some magazine article has told you to askReplyCancel

  • Ian - May 21, 2013 - 3:11 pm

    So many excellent points here!
    But number 11 especially – it can be really confusing to be presented with a list full of different styles of photos…ReplyCancel

  • Andrew Smail - May 21, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    As usual a very well research post 🙂 Keep up the good work 🙂ReplyCancel

    • bridevsgroom - May 22, 2013 - 12:12 pm

      Thanks for the lovely comments everyone! 🙂 Glad our points proved helpful!ReplyCancel

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