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Q: How Much Experience does a Wedding Photographer Actually Need? A: More Than You Think

Over ten years ago I got a phone call from a good friend of mine who had been a photographer for a couple of years.  He was at the Bountiful Temple waiting to photograph the wedding he had been hired for. It was raining and he had never photographed a wedding in the rain.  He called me in a panic for some help.

film camera and digital camera
On the left: My old medium format camera I used for weddings for over 7 years. On the right: a well-used camera I currently use for weddings and portraits. In the front: STILL my most valuable piece of equipment – My light meter.

The Importance of Experience

The reality is weddings happen in the rain, snow, cold, heat, wind and sometimes in nearly all of those conditions at once.  In addition to the weather, they happen in a variety of light conditions (sun, clouds, morning light, afternoon light, etc.). Some of those conditions are really hard to photograph in.  Most of those conditions can’t be fixed with digital cameras and photoshop. In fact, it is possible to not get any good images with severe inclement weather if you don’t know how to deal with it.  Experience really does matter.

It is Harder Today to Gain Experience

When I first started photography in the late ‘90s there were probably around 20 photographers in the Ogden area.  As a wedding photographer back then it was common to be able to photograph 80 to 100 weddings a year. Things are different today.  I have researched over 300 photographers online in the Ogden area today. A busy wedding photographer today may only photograph 20 weddings per year.  Over the last 23 years, I have photographed over 1500 weddings in every condition you can think of. Today it would take a photographer 75 years to gain the same experience in today’s conditions.

How Do You Make a Good Decision?

Choosing a wedding photographer has got to be one of the hardest decisions you will make.  No photographer will show the weddings that didn’t turn out great. Many times you will only see one or two images from any one wedding and most photographers can take two good images at a wedding.  However, we hear horror stories all the time of photographers that didn’t get one good image of the cake cut or of the bride’s family.

Do your research.  Ask to see all the images of several weddings.  Especially ask to see weddings done in the type of weather conditions that you may encounter at your wedding.  If a photographer can get good images on a windy, rainy day they will probably get good images on your wedding day as well.

Do you have Wedding Questions?

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