From PetaPixel: Why Your Wedding Photographer Won't Give You Unedited Photos

This is an article that appeared on Petapixel, by Daniela Bowker.

Oh dear. That was a bit awkward. Sitting on the floor at my nephew’s birthday party, trying to capture pass-the-parcel photos that weren’t anything other than wadges of wrapping paper thrust towards me in a multi-coloured de-forested haze, I encountered a fairly recently married and really rather belligerent woman who wanted to berate me for the fees charged by photographers.

In particular, she was infuriated that her wedding photographer wouldn’t just hand over a DVD of all the original images from her big day and couldn’t understand why they needed to be edited and why she couldn’t have them straight away. Yes, oh dear.

Despite being focused on my attempts to capture my nephew smiling and my niece not resembling a demonic, sugar-crazed monster, I did try to offer a reasonable explanation for why her wedding photographer wouldn’t just hand over raw images for a flat fee.


Naturally, I coined what I think is the perfect analogy when it was too late and I was on my way home. Thus for the benefit of everyone who might yet face this scenario, here it is:

Asking a photographer to hand over a memory card, USB, or DVD of raw images is akin to asking an author to present you with their book in manuscript format: unedited, unformatted, and including the paragraphs and chapters that didn’t make it.

For any brides, grooms, or parents of the soon-to-be- or just-marrieds out there who might be wondering the same thing, I hope this helps.

A bundle of unedited, unprocessed images isn’t the whole story, the right story, or the finished story. You have to trust the photographer to produce a final version that’s just right, as right as a book is on publication, as a painting on hanging in a gallery, or as a sculpture upon exhibition. What you’re paying for is the complete product, finished by the photographer and making use of all of her or his skills.


While any photo needs to be properly exposed and well composed, there are adjustments and edits that need to be made in post-production. And sometimes, they look better in black and white, too. This is all a part of what a photographer does; it is an integral part of the process of creating images.

To continue with the book/author analogy, when you purchase a book, you don’t get to choose the words on the page, or the images that might illustrate it; what you do get to choose is the format in which it comes, whether that’s a signed hardback copy or a digital download. When your wedding photographer has done her or his job to tell the story of your wedding day, you can select from luxury albums or USB transfer.

If you’re still not sure why photography is so expensive, there are plenty of photographers who’ve done their best to break down their costs and explain why wedding photography starts at around £1,500. (Yes, there are people who do start cheaper, and some more expensive. It’s an average figure.) There’s also an article covering it here on Photocritic. However, hoping that you’ll be able to reduce your costs by asking for unedited images in digital format is a misrepresentation of your wedding photographer’s job.

Image by Haje Jan Kamps

I don’t especially want to launch into a ‘you get what you pay for’ tirade about the perils of hiring an inexperienced photographer and the images from your wedding day being an unmitigated disaster. I understand that some people have very restricted budgets and finding the fees requested by some photographers is beyond them.

There are photographers to suit every budget; you need to be certain of what they can provide and if it meets your expectations, but you must let them do their jobs. And that job is a finished product, just like an author’s book.

About the author: Daniela Bowker started taking photos when she was about five years old and composing stories a little bit before that. After studying ancient history and then training as a teacher, she realized what she really wanted to do was write. So now that’s what she does.

You can find her almost-daily commentary on the photography world over at Photocritic and her books in your preferred booksellers. Daniela’s latest book is called Social Photography, and you might also want to take a look at Surreal Photography: Creating the Impossible and Composition, which she co-authored with Michael Freeman. She still teaches, too, as she is the Senior Mistress of the Photocritic Photography School. And if you’re the tweeting kind, you can follow her @SmallAperture.

This article originally appeared on Photocritic.

Use Thumbtack to Find Wedding Professionals in Your Area

As a videographer, I get many of my gigs through Thumbtack.  As a client, it's a fairly simple way to post your service needs and then receive quotes from multiple providers.  Professional providers must pay to submit quotes so it's important to post gigs for which you are actually hiring.  I have seen people submit gigs to "test the waters" which is unfair to service providers.  But overall, Thumbtack is an effective way to find service providers to meet your needs and that offers better credibility than craig's list.  You can see my Thumbtack profile here.

Why Birdman Will Sweep the Oscars and Golden Globes

This article is a repost from the Huffington Post.  I have long been a fan of Alejandro Innaritu and Alfonso Cuaron and it is likely they will win best director in consecutive years.

Alejandro Iñárritu's "Birdman" is a ballet cum emotional and visual rollercoaster. If you enjoy sitting at the edge of your seat with your mouth agape watching dramatic pyrotechnics then this is your movie.

The first awards will go to Emmanuel Lubezki for his soaring and searing cinematography. How he was able to dance so fluidly with the actors, careen through intricate mazes, and move from exteriors to interiors via windows will remain a mystery to me. The choreography of the interaction between the cameraperson and the actors must have resembled the architectural plans for a small city. Mr. Lubezki has taken cinematography to an entirely new level and you will be bedazzled by the fruits of his labors and artistry.

The next award will go to Emma Stone for Best Supporting Actress. The breadth of her character is wide and Ms. Stone's profundity is apparently inexhaustible. Watch her destroy it in this scene: Emma Stone, "Relevant."

It is possible that both Edward Norton and Zach Galifianakis are nominated for Best Supporting Actor awards but I imagine Mr. Norton will win because nobody will believe that a comedian - the fat guy between two ferns - could deliver such a mesmerizing performance.

Unfortunately Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione will be overlooked in the category of Best Editing because it appears as if they have done so little actual work - meaning that the film is the most seamless adventure you will be taken on in a movie theater and it feels as if there are less cuts than I have fingers. The enthralling dynamic between camera and actors will be to blame for Mr. Crise and Mr. Mirrione not receiving Best Editing award. A shame. Similarly, although the primal music and sound editing of "Birdman" are integral parts to what make this film akin to riding a raft through a tempest, "Birdman" will probably be robbed in these categories by bombastic summer tent-pole movies.

Michael Keaton will win awards for Best Actor for the sheer bravery he exhibits in plumbing the depths of the fruitless and bootless American Dream, of a man who has everything on the outside and nothing on the inside save despair, regrets, dashed hopes and a modicum of talent. That the role may somewhat resemble Mr. Keaton's own career is immaterial. This is a stunning, stellar performance. Period.

Alejandro Iñárritu will win the award for Best Director because of the comprehensive scope of his artistic vision and his flawless execution. Subtle details and nuances speak volumes in "Birdman" and it is easy to see how his grandiose portrayal of common characters and themes raises the bar on storytelling in what remains of Western civilization. The only possible deficit of this film is that the final scene echoes the final scene of the French version of Luc Besson's "Le Grand Bleu," but given the options of the often tragic, hollow trophy of commercial/financial success à la Gatsby and the often comedic, pursuant quest for spiritual/artistic redemption, the Birdman's leap into our fantasyland is the only viable ending.

"Birdman" encapsulates almost every classic male protagonist from Icarus through Faust, Charles Foster Kane, Willy Loman, Stanley Kowalski, Jake Gittes, Tony Montana... every man's dire quest to ultimately to be heard, be appreciated, and to be not just admired but loved. The film is a masterpiece. Easily Best Film of 2014. And if you love literature and painting and music and ballet and theater then you should not miss it.

Written by Ira Israel

In Continuing Honor of the Long Take - FKA Twigs - 2 Weeks

The internet is atwitter with top 10 lists of great one shot pieces of cinema in anticipation for the upcoming Birdman.  So, today I have another piece of single take action by singer FKA Twigs.  It is a unique video featuring a slow zoom out similar to the opening shot of A Clockwork Orange.  Check it out below. 

Exclusive Clip from Birdman

Birdman is this year's Gravity.  A technical achievement that is sure to wow audiences while also winning awards during Oscar season.  Here is a clip showcasing the one take style that Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu uses throughout the film, much like Alfonso Cuaron did with the aforementioned Gravity.