Wedding Photography Safety
Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Congratulations! You are engaged, and you are now starting to interview your wedding vendors. If you are here reading this, you are probably looking for a wedding photographer. There are many questions that you might have for potential wedding photographers, but there are some that maybe you never thought of, and the answers to these questions can have a huge impact on how your wedding day goes.
How Does Wedding PHotography work? Where do the pictures go?
Good question. This is something that brides and grooms never think about. Your photographer shows up, takes pictures, and some time later you magically get a set of beautiful wedding photos. How did they get from start to finish? There are actually many steps along the way, and there can be problems at each step. It is important that your wedding photographer have the right equipment and take the right steps to keep your photos safe.
There are some big differences between hobbyist cameras and the cameras used by professionals. Some of them (such as sensor size and other technical things) I won't get into as part of this article. One of the most important differences is that a professional camera will have multiple slots of memory cards. This isn't to save us the trouble of swapping memory cards. Instead, the camera writes to both memory cards at the same time for every picture that is taken. Why? What happens if one of the memory cards fails? Like all electronics and machines, sometimes things go wrong. If you only have a single memory card and something happens to it, your precious wedding photos may be gone forever!
This is why I (and any other true professional photographer) will use a camera with dual memory card slots when photographing a wedding. We want to make sure that those photos are safe. I have used a wide variety of cameras over the years, including the Sony A7R series, but these days I'm a Canon guy. Any of the cameras in the 5D series (I have a 5D Mark IV) support dual memory cards. I also have a Canon R6, which again, has dual slots. Nikon also makes cameras with dual memory slots, such as the Z9, Z6, D750, and so on. Be sure to ask your photographer about this.
You may have also noticed that I own more than one camera. For every wedding, I am there with two full-frame cameras (both of which have the dual memory slots). This allows me to keep two lenses equipped at all times so that I can take a wider variety of pictures. It also has the added advantage of guaranteeing that I can continue to photograph your wedding if something happens to one of the other cameras. It is also why I bring a wide variety of lenses and not just one or two.
Keeping Your Photographs Safe While Editing
After your wedding is done, the photos need to be edited. This involves transferring the files from the camera's memory cards to a computer where they can be processed. What happens if the computer fails? Your wedding photos are never deleted from the original memory cards until your wedding is completed. Worst-case scenario, I can go back to the cards and start again on a new computer. It is important that you make sure that your photographers follow a similar policy.
My own computer setup not only preserves copies of your photos on the original memory cards while editing, but also makes additional local and off-site copies during the editing process. If my home was wiped out by a hurricane, your wedding photos are still safe on a server in the cloud.
Online Wedding Photo Gallery
When I have finished editing your photos, I upload the final, high-resolution images to an online wedding photo gallery, where you can download them and share with your friends, print them, etc. At that point, the responsibility for keeping them safe is yours. I maintain the galleries for a minimum of one year, but they are often up much longer than that. I have started keeping offline copies of all weddings so that, if in the future you have lost them and need them again, I can make sure you still have a copy.
Things to Ask Your Wedding Photographer
- Are they using full-frame professional digital cameras?
- Do they have backup gear?
- Do they record to multiple memory cards?
- How do they keep your wedding photos safe?
If they stumble when answering any of these questions, maybe you might want to reconsider who you are choosing to photograph your special (and irreplaceable) wedding day.