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Wedding Photographer – Amateur or Professional by Dominic Lee, AMPA

In days of film, many would-be photographers couldn’t cope with the long sleepless weekend waiting to see if the “Photos came out” and gave up on the career before they even got started.

The Digital camera was probably invented by a wedding photographer. Seeing the results instantly he or she can head home knowing they’ve got the job covered.

Suddenly there are thousands of wedding photographers where there used to be dozens.

As a result, a whole new style of wedding photography has emerged. I’m not talking about fancy words like “Reportage” which in fact has been around for decades, in the 70s & 80s it was called “Off the Cuff”.

And I’m not referring to the photographer turning the camera at an angle to make the image look “artistic”. Nor does taking thousands of photographs on motor drive constitute a job well done if they are just a bunch of “happy snaps” taken by a photographer who thinks your wedding is a fashion shoot.

I’m referring to a style which makes your jaw drop, takes your breath away, captures passion, love, emotion and includes the surroundings like it was all put together by a designer with you in the frame. And yet the photographer remains a subsidiary as opposed to the centre of attention on the wedding day.

It’s the kind of photography which makes couples who got married previously but messed up on their photography, want to do it all again.

So how do you find such a photographer?

Study several websites on wedding photography- American, Russian, British, Irish, everywhere & anywhere..  You will eventually find a style that excites you and then narrow your search to a local supplier who has that style.

Be prepared to pay for Experience, a keen amateur may cope well on a nice warm day with all the guests enjoying Champagne on the lawn but a true Pro will still produce stunning images even if your wedding is visited by a Hurricane. So ask your photographer to produce samples of work taken on dreadful days as well as gorgeous sunny ones.

The Recession:

Don’t be fooled by offers of a DVD with all the images so you can print them yourself. Any photographer who lets their work out to be “home printed” is more interested in Quick Cash than Quality Control. And while couples have great intensions of making their own album, they usually get as far as uploading their top 10 photos on Facebook, giving a few dreadfully printed copies to their parents and the rest end up lost amongst their CD collection.


Your parents wedding album probably looks as beautiful today as it did 30 years ago. And this proves that “simple” is the key.

Digital Magazine Style Albums have been around for over 10 years now and while many are spoiled by tacky special effects and cheap photography. This style of album really suits Digital; it can look absolutely amazing if it’s loaded with high quality photographs which are skillfully designed in a simple layout.

So if you are excited about photography, put the time into your choice and don’t skimp on the price. Remember when you wake up the next morning, your wedding album is the only thing you will have to show for all the money you spent on the big day, everything else will have been eaten, died, returned to the hire shop or destined for eBay.

Dominic Lee, AMPA

Women Photographers by Dominic Lee

Women Photographers by Dominic Lee

The Ladies have arrived!

A few years ago, if you met a girl at a Photography Trade Show, you would be safe in assuming that she was the Studio Receptionist and that THE PHOTOGRAPHER was the man next to her.

This years ‘WPPI photographers convention’ in Las Vegas, ‘Focus on Imaging’ in Birmingham and the ‘Pro Photo Show’ in Dublin has shown very strong evidence that the portrait & wedding photographer is no longer a middle aged man in a suit & tie. Now these shows are attended by an overwhelming number of young Lady photographers and the sales pitch from the suppliers is clearly targeting that new female audience, (Canon wont have to work hard, we all know that’s a girls camera!). Balding salesmen have been replaced by stunning ladies in fishnet tights selling elegant albums boxed in fancy ribbon & lace and portraits mounted in jewelry. Black studio seats are now covered in Polka Dots. Prettily designed backgrounds replace the old plain ones. Even many of the speakers are women as are most of the audience with their multi coloured camera straps matching their designer camera bags.

So where did it all go wrong? Clearly digital played a part because girls just couldn’t be trusted to load film! And teaching them to drive was another mistake!

Just kidding, actually it’s down to the fact that women are the ones who do most of the purchasing. I recently had a Bride book me for her wedding but insisted that I do not contact the Groom till after the New Year as she was making plans based on “a rumour” that he had bought the ring!

Women also tend to have a better understanding of children and are generally more emotional about photos of their family than men are.

We all know that Parent Albums are really for the Mammy and the Granny. And extra portraits of babies are ordered for the Godmother and Auntie Betty. The Dad, the Godfather or Uncle Tom rarely get a look-in. Of course there have been plenty of female photographers all along from Julia Margaret Cameron who in 1865 held her 1st photo exhibition in Ireland right up to my own daughter Shakira who at the age of 20 is already making waves at Priory Studios.

Girls have been nibbling away at this sector for long enough, it’s about time they made their mark. So move over Gentlemen, time to don your Receptionist Hat, the Ladies have arrived and they are taking the photographs!