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The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers (ISPWP) asked its members if there are any myths or misconceptions about wedding photography that they continue to hear or read about. Here’s what they came up with:

MYTH: “I need to provide a list of wedding photos for my photographer to shoot throughout the day”

In years past it was common to find multi-page lists of “must have” wedding photos in every wedding magazine on the rack. These were checkoff lists to make sure the photographer would get a picture of “Mother adjusting veil while bride looks into mirror” and “Flower girl kissing bride on cheek” and of course the never-ending list of every possible combination of wedding party attendant and family member. Amazingly we still see a remnant of these lists showing up on websites and blogs targeted at brides. These lists came from a time when photographers could only load a small roll of film into their medium-format cameras. Every shot had to be previsualized and preplanned to conserve film. Nowadays with pro digital cameras and 16GB memory cards there is no such limitation. If your wedding photographer has the experience of many weddings under their belt, they will definitely know the important shots of the day, there is no need to remind them to take a picture of the cake cutting or the first dance. That being said, some photographers still like to have a list of the formal group shots to make sure they include the key bridal party and family members in those pictures.

Jessica Christian of Jessica Photo in Austin Texas says: “I think it can be a challenge for clients to know where to begin when hiring a photographer. After all, this is usually your first time hiring a professional photographer. I recommend the place to start is not with a list of photographs that you want or showing a photographer images that appeal to you. If you are a hiring a professional photographer of a distinguished caliber viewing her online portfolio and any other supporting images is where to begin. Study them carefully and make sure the images you have in your mind’s eye are represented. If not, move on to another photographer. Each wedding is completely unique with unique people, locations and moments. The talent of a photographer is her ability to interpret your day with her own unique skill, flair and talent. If you give your photographer a list you will inhibit her. Personally, I don’t work with clients who give me a list, I know I’m not the right photographer for them. For the formal portraits I recommend thinking this through beforehand and getting some idea of what you want and discussing it with me. My clients gather their closest friends and family and we fly through it simply and effortlessly. The more you plan out each and every photo you want, the more stressful your day will be.”

MYTH: “Wedding photojournalists don’t take formal portraits”

Wedding photographers who shoot in a photojournalistic style spend most of their day documenting the wedding day as it happens without intervening or directing. Their goal is to take images of the day as they happen and not create or setup images. This often leads to the misconception that wedding photojournalists don’t take ANY posed portraits or group shots. While there may be a few rare exceptions, virtually all wedding photojournalists are happy to take some time for group shots of the family, bridal party, and wedding couple. However, they are more likely to keep this session shorter than other types of photographers so they can quickly get back to what they do best, documenting the real moments of the day.


Jay Crihfield of Jay

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