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Wedding Photography

photographers highly event camera

Wedding photography evolved from formal studio portraits of the bride, groom, and their families to what at times might seem like a major media event, involving teams of photographers, videographers, and their assistants. Although the degree of production and number of images made varies by region, religion, and the budget of the bride and groom, the use of highly portable equipment and self-contained flash and continuous light sources has made a more candid and personal approach possible.

Wedding photographers themselves range from highly stylized professionals who work out of their own studios (usually portrait studios) or as part of a stable of photographers in a larger studio operation, to so-called weekend warriors, people who come from all walks of life and use their hobby of photography as a way of making extra income. The training for wedding photographers is usually based on an apprenticeship program, with beginners assisting more-experienced photographers. More formalized training is also available through workshops, how-to books, and videotapes. In the United States, organizations such as the Professional Photographers of America (PPofA) help set standards and give regular classes and seminars on wedding photography.

Typical wedding equipment recently included a medium-format camera; a self-contained, camera-mounted, electronic-flash unit; a separate battery pack; a host of filters; perhaps a compendium matte box for special effects; and even a second stand-mounted flash to create better lighting effects. However, almost all wedding work is now being produced used high-end DSLR cameras. To this end, some manufacturers make cameras that are focused specifically to this market, such as FujiFilm’s S3.

The end result of wedding work is the wedding album and, more recently, the wedding video. The album contains a sprinkling of more formalized portraits combined with a chronological coverage of the day’s events. In most cases, the album is a predetermined package with certain important shots, such as the cutting of the cake, the tossing of the bouquet, and formal portraits of the wedding party. The video follows basically the same script, though special effects and music may be added during editing. In addition, the video generally takes a more candid, cinema-verité look at the event and may contain interviews, speeches, and other sound bites that bring the viewer a real sense of being present.

Although wedding photography and the wedding photographer are not always held in high regard, a true practitioner must be a photographic jack-of-all-trades. A typical wedding day includes elements of formalized portraiture, photojournalism, candid work, and still-life photography. The photographer must be a diplomat, friend, advisor, mediator, and technical expert, as well as on-the-spot repairperson and stylist. The pressure of getting the job done right is enormous—it is not an event that can be easily replayed for the camera.

Wedding photographers take part in a wide range of cultural, economic, and emotional experiences. Most of their clientele are in a highly charged state of mind, and the photographers share one of the most important days of their subjects’ lives. As such, it can be a highly rewarding activity and a wonderful training and proving ground for other areas of the photographic profession. With the advent of digital technologies, the much-revered wedding proof book has evolved into a Web gallery where viewing can be accomplished using Internet browsers by all members of the wedding party almost immediately after the event. This feature has improved print sales for wedding photographers.

Wedgwood, Thomas [next] [back] Webster, Milton P.(1887–1965) - Labor leader, Chronology, The Pullman Company Develops

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