I just got this question recently when meeting with a bride and groom.
Why don’t I have black and whites, sepia tones, filters on my photos? This is very simple to answer, look back in your phone a year or two. Do see all the random filters that you were using on your Instagram photos / Facebook posts; they’re awful.
Tastes change, styles adapt and people move on from trends. These are some of the most important photos that you’ll have of yourself, why would I put a trendy filter on and especially one that is so overused by Pinterest focused wedding photographers. De-contrast, playing with the highlights and adjusting the color temperature to be a bit more yellow doesn’t make a classic photo in my mind. I’ve also seen a lot of photographers use this as a crutch when a photo is mediocre or missing something.
Sometimes converting a photo to black and white looks great provided you do it the correct way and know what you’re doing with levels, curves and also saturation of colors and a number of other things. But here’s what we photographers know, this doesn’t make any photo a classic or immortalized image. Being honest, the only time i’ve actually made a photo black and white in recent history is when I absolutely couldn’t do what I wanted with the photo due to a number of reasons. I reluctantly changed it and adapted it because it was a moment that I did not want to throw away. I will never myself change a color photo to black and white though just to wow someone. One more example, white or black vignetting on photos… cringe.
Now here’s the part where i’m a dick and say mean things about other photographers. I really do try to be positive, like way too much.. usually. I know a great number of photographers that are shooting the exact material they were two or three years ago. Most photographers that I know get better every few months, years or just plainly have breakthroughs of creativity that make me very jealous. But I see some wedding photographers that never try new things, never purchase new equipment or develop their post game (editing). Wedding photography is simply put a gym for photographers, you’re regularly pushed to adapt, learn and get better, faster, stronger at your photography. I can look back every year and see my deficits or where i’ve made improvements. So here’s where I tie that back into what i’m saying, filters are a huge crutch for someone trying to hide the fact that they aren’t developing themselves. For the sake of the bride and groom you should be taking the payment and rolling a good portion back into your own development and/or equipment. This is your one chance to capture someone’s wedding and why would you put an ugly filter on such a beautiful day.
What I try to accomplish with my wedding photography is creating accurate representations of what the scene actually looked like. I use different lenses and compositions to showcase different moments. I’m trying to achieve as close to as possible correct color profiles, your flowers are rarely neon or muted colors; it’s somewhere in-between I hope. It would be too easy to add filters to my photos and claim that I’m an artist and that this is my art. What I do is document and record moments as beautifully as I can. I don’t have a particular unique skill that no other photographer could ever attain. What I bring to the table is knowledge, personality, skill and a pretty good amount of equipment to back it up. I do use some creative editing techniques that highlight certain aspects of a scene or cast a cold blue morning as a more warn and sunny one. The best editing in my opinion is the kind you can’t detect.
If you want to add a filter on your photos you’re always welcome to do so but as I started out saying, look at your images with filters and effects from a year or two ago.. cringe. :) Imagine your parents wedding photos and imagine what it would look like with correct color or your grandparents images if it wasn’t shot in black and white (yes, I know that may have been all that was available at the time).
I shoot weddings and would love to shoot your wedding.
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