Wabash Senior and Wedding Pictures and the Digital Camera Phenomenon
When I shot with film, I remember the heaps of canisters that would develop in my pocket. When we'd shoot weddings, they were all over the table at the reception. There was a limit to what could be shot based on what I brought with me. There was a cost for that product, carrying it in empty. There was a mystery about how I'd done, and what I was getting since I had to see it, measure it, shoot it and hand it over to someone else to develop. (Talk about feeling vulnerable.) A huge historic church burned down in Ft Wayne during my film years. It was brick, with three story windows. By the time I arrived downtown, the windows and their protection had been destroyed and what was left was smoke, steam and a brick carcas of an amazing structure. (Can you see it in your mind's eye? I still can all these years later.) I stood on the sidewalk across the street and shot four rolls of 36 exposures, walking around that night, feeling sad, and in awe. I KNEW that these photos would be incredible. I KNEW I was lucky to have the equipment I did, to shoot this. The next morning, I turned them in to my nearby pharmacy and waited. This was before one hour photo labs. I came back three days later, and asked for my prints. It was like waiting for someone's wedding pictures... the anticipation...but better. These were MINE. I told the person my name, he hunted and hunted and searched, and called the manager. They were gone. They had the form I had signed when I turned them in. The manager knew who I was because she had dealt with me often. They apologized profusely, offered to give me new film, told me my next processing would be free. None of it made any difference to me. My photos were gone. The art I was certain I had created on that sidewalk late that night, the history I had recorded. Gone. My heart was broken.
There have been a few times over the many years of working with clients that I have completely screwed up. Once I fell in a pond with all my film. Once my camera freaked and did not record to my cards as it should have. Once my computer failed and everything on it was gone. I spent over $1000 paying companies to try to recover my photos. Nothing could be done. I shot a wedding a few years ago, the night before I left an abusive relationship, and did such mediocre work that I gave back every cent I'd been paid, and lost a client I really loved. Stuff happens. Memories are burned into your mind, but sometimes never make it to photo paper. It hurts. It's devastating. No one is immune to technical failures.
All that being said, as consumers we do what we can to ward against these situations. I'm not sure why people are so surprised and contact me so often to tell me stories about their son's senior pictures, and how dark they were. I cannot tell you how many times I have redone bridal portraits and formal portraits for brides and grooms, because the person they had hired to save money couldn't deal with the rain on their wedding day, and didn't have adequate lighting to shoot indoors. (REALLY?!) Enough can go wrong that we cannot control. As a professional photographer, there is plenty I CAN and WILL control, because I have the right equipment. I have extra of everything. I have screwed up more than the beginners who SAY they are pros have even photographed, up to now.
If you're going to spend any money at all on an artist to capture the most precious moments in your life, do your homework. INVEST in your memories. If you think that's an un-necessary stretch, ask your friends to use their IPhones. That may go just as well!
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