The arrival of digital photography has created something of a dilemma for wedding photographers and, although things are changing rapidly, photographers tend to have their feet firmly in either the traditional camp or the new digital camp, but not both. This is something that couples need to bear in mind and to think about carefully when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.
There are two main issues to be considered and the first is somewhat technical. Traditional wedding photography has employed color negative film and, for many photographers, this remains the best option as it is felt in some quarters that negative film can capture more information than is possible with digital photography. It is also said that there is less margin for error in exposure with negative film. However, while this is certainly true in some situations, current advancements in film developing are narrowing this gap between negative film and digital imaging markedly.
The second consideration revolves around the manner in which photographs are delivered to the customer – in this case the bride and groom.
Using traditional methods the photographer produces a series of proof books for the bride and groom to inspect and then creates the finished album from the chosen proofs. Relatives and guests are also able to order copies of the wedding pictures from the photographer once they have been approved by the bride and groom.
With digital photography the proofs are often uploaded to a website (usually a section of the photographic studio’s own website set aside for each wedding) and prints can be ordered online by credit card.
One important question to ask, whether you are considering traditional negative film photography or modern digital imaging, is who holds the copyright to the negatives.
In both cases it is normal practice for the photographer to retain copyright, which means that you will have to purchase all of your photographs, including any reprints, from him. This will be clearly specified in the terms of the contract that you will be asked to sign when you engage the photographer, but may well be buried somewhere is the small print. As with any contract, you should read through it thoroughly before you sign as you may find that there are a few surprises, such as what happens in the event of bad weather.
In cases where a photographer does not retain copyright he will often charge more for his services and it will be a question of deciding in your own particular circumstances whether or not this will benefit you and your guests in the longer term.
Whether you choose traditional film photography or modern digital imaging the most important thing to bear in mind is that you should choose a reputable and experienced photographer who understands exactly what you want and with whom you feel relaxed and at ease. What’s really important to you is that you get a great set of photographs and a wedding album that you can treasure.