Being a wedding photographer has always carried a huge amount of pressure and responsibility. Your main aim is to provide perfect images, perfect memories of a couples big day regardless of weather conditions, venue or dare I say it a not so gorgeous bride! All of these become your problem not theirs and sometimes it is a hard job just to make the best of what is put in front of you.
Years ago the greatest amount of pressure came from the fact that until that film was developed you had little idea how the photos were actually going to come out. As film was expensive you were perhaps restricted to less than 100 images, and although you had trained to work in all conditions and to compensate for poor light or glaring sun it was still impossible to know if you had done enough to produce results your customers would be happy to pay for. On the plus side expectations were considerably lower than they are today and most couples were satisfied if you had captured the key moments of the day. With a few traditional family snaps and some sweet, romantic poses from the bride and groom you couldn’t go far wrong. It is true to say though, when looking at peoples wedding photos from the 50’s and 60’s they are all very samey with little room for imagination or individuality. The photographer simply served a purpose and that was all that was expected from them.
Todays wedding photographers are in a different league. They have to be because we are no longer impressed or satisfied quite so easily. To justify their fee they cannot make excuses about film being expensive or developing being such a time consuming process. We know damn well they can snap away all day long and it doesn’t cost them a penny once they have a memory card that can hold thousands of images. It is also less important to get each and every shot right as at the touch of a button they can delete all the rubbish ones and nobody ever needs to know. The pressure on photographers now is less about the restrictions put on them by older equipment and far more to do with understanding how to get the very best from their equipments and their subjects.
Modern technology has added a new pressure. We can all take a decent photo with a good quality camera but if we are going to pay somebody in excess of £1000 we expect to be blown away by what they can do with the incredible technology available to them.