Wedding Photography, Good and Bad

We agonized a lot in choosing a photographer, in part because sorting through lots of superficially indistinguishable ads and web sites didn’t particularly appeal to us and in part because we didn’t want to be ordered around by the photographer. We’ve been to some weddings at which the photographer all but assumed control of the festivities, keeping the wedding party away from everyone else for endless rounds of photographs. We didn’t want that, and the stress just of imagining it made us reluctant to have photography at all.

A videographer, as Monty Python would say, was right out.

I think we were also afraid we’d wind up with a photographer like this guy, who got three years in prison for fraud. He’d quote couples a price for taking pictures, four hours of his time at a “design session,” and 80 prints. At the wedding, he’d stop other people—even the bride’s mother, in one case—from taking photographs. And then, when the design session came, he’d hold the prints and negatives hostage, refusing for the sake of ” artistic flow” to create a set of the promised size. Instead, he’d give the couple a Hobson’s choice: buy a much larger set of prints (at a much higher price) or walk away, utterly pictureless.

He got his, in the end, and there’s even a neat copyright angle.

And we got our photographer in the end, too. My stepmother reminded us of a family friend who believes in unobtrusion, and things just went right from there. People actually mentioned that the’d enjoyed having their pictures taken, which is not something I think you hear about most wedding photography. I met with her earlier today; in between narrated exhbitions of her artistic and political work, she showed me contact sheets as I told her who all of the people she’d been taking pictures of were. And then, at the end, she gave me four CDs with the pictures, utterly rights-unencumbered. The ones worth sharing (of which there are many, but that’s why she’s a great photographer and I’m not) will be online soon.

It’s quite a difference in attitude.

(And yes, many of you have also mentioned how much you liked our DJ. Playlists coming soon to an online near you.)