Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/03/28

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Wedding Photography - in responce to Andy, Michael, et. al.
From: William Gower <>
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001 22:43:27 -0400


Re: My Wedding Photographer

I know who I hired. A highly recommended PRO who shoots on average 35-40
weddings a year, plus studio work, plus teaching part-time at one of the
three Universities in Toronto. And has been for 15+ years.

After a very nice one hour meeting at his studio, reviewing his extensive
collection portfolios, I was confident that I hired a competent

His price schedule was a 4 hour shoot (base), hourly after that. My wife and
I had an Friday evening ceremony, 75 guests. We both figured that 4 hours
would do it. I didn't say I hired by the hour - I said I hired him for 4
hours. Big difference. After my wife and I left his studio she asked me
"what do you think ?" and, I said, "Well...I didn't see that he had a

;-) !

The film was handed over to me as an option. I decided to take it. And if
you quickly re-read my posting, I did in fact take it to a professional lab.
In fact, *the* pro lab in Toronto. The same lab that the majority of wedding
pro's use * (*Name available on request). Processing and proofs cost a small
fortune. I don't know how Walmart and Costco 1 hr got in there. Yes, I
didn't like the B+W work - the LAB's fault. I love Tri-X, but I'm not a fan
of Tri-X and HC110 (I inquired to the lab manager), plus it looked like it
was printed on grade 5 paper. Pearl finish. Horrendous. When I'm finished my
darkspace I'm going to re-print the B+W myself on FB paper, archival process
and tone. (I just bought a 50/2,8 Schneider Componon-S for my Valoy tonight
- - I thought a used 45/4 Componon-APO, even though it was only a $125 more,
would have been overkill on a +50 year old enlarger).

I can understand that a good photographer wants maximum  control over the
final product, but, IMHO, retaining the negatives and charging horrendous
prices for enlargements that are probably farmed out anyway, now that's
criminal. Are they in the picture making business, or the album making
business ?

Of the 12 rolls our photog shot (8 color (Kodak Porta 160NC), 4 B+W
(Tri-X)), 85% were great and made it into our album - save for the dozen
that had the G.D flower sticking out of my head. Again, anyone can make a
mistake or have an off day. I'm sure many on the list who routinely shoot
weddings have, can or someday will, f**k up a picture or two. Murphy's

And in the end, what's the largest measure of how good a photographer is ?
It's would you recommend him to another - yes, I would. He was good. Both
creative and technically competent. Comparing his shots to the real
"pseudo-pro" in the family who assured us that she could handle the rest of
our wedding, and the labors of the rest of the guests who gave us pictures
afterwards, you can tell. Perfectly bounced flash / soft diffused light vs.
horrible shadows. Natural flesh tones vs. Green skin. Perfect exposure vs.
the look you get when Kodak Gold 100 is under 6 or more stops.

Yes, he used 35mm. Two Nikon F100's - handheld. During our interview he
asked (and joked) whether we envisioned making enormous enlargements for
mama. We didn't, and haven't. If we wanted a 72" poster, I'm sure he would
have pulled out the Rollei 6003 that was sitting in his studio cabinet. But
here's something to consider - if the majority of your wedding photos are
5x7, go into an album, which is viewed from 18 to 24" away from your eye, is
6x6 REALLY necessary ? I'm sure anyone who shoots M's or R's would agree -
never mind anyone who has a 35/2 ASPH or a 100 Elmarit-APO.

If you read my posting, my main regret was that I didn't hire him for the
entire evening, as it was the after ceremony candid shots that are lacking.
That wasn't his fault, it was mine. The formal shots are there, but our
album is short on "story". My oversight for 1. not putting equal emphasis on
the candid vs. formal, and 2. assuming that non professionals could fill in
the spaces. In a perfect world, someone from the LUG could have lurked with
their Noctilux and all would have been rosy. (My best man, a very competent
amateur and B+W printer could should have been on candid duty - but he was
too busy trying not to loose the rings.)

I spoke with at least a dozen "Wedding Photographers" and I think I did a
very thorough due diligence. 50% percent faxed me a form for me to fill in
the date and time and circle what I wanted from a price list. A few didn't
even have a portfolio to show. How professional is that ? In the end, I went
with the most experienced, and (what a coincidence) the most expensive of
the ones I contacted.

Perhaps it wasn't intended on your part, and, believe me, my intention is
not to get into some great ridiculous off topic discussion about whether
members of a discussion list can ascertain from a short posting if got taken
by a crook. No, I'm not a wedding photographer, no I'm not a professional
photographer, but I take exception to the fact that I lack the ability to
differentiate between a professional and a weekend hacker.

Kind regards