PetaPixel

Facebook to Brides: Why Have One Photog When You Can Have a Hundred?

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Dear Facebook,

I saw a video you posted a short while ago regarding wedding photography. You know the one: a 21-second long video containing a montage of wedding snapshots. At the end of the video, you zoom out to show that all those images were on a Facebook user’s wall and the user was so thrilled that she updated her status with “Thanks everyone! Amazing pics!”

I was okay with it up until that point. After all, everyone attends weddings and we all tend to take snapshots and share them on Facebook. Nothing wrong with that. But then, you included something at the end of the video that surprised me. You wrote the words: “Why have ONE photographer when you can have a hundred?”

And then you added that cute little blue thumbs-up icon, you know, just to “like” it further.

Now, I have been an ardent defender of you, Facebook. With all your money-generating options, you are still free. No one makes us use you. And, let’s face it, a page on your site is one of the first things to be secured after opening a photography business… or any business for that matter.

I think you are smart and fun and easy to use. And you introduced us to Candy Crush — that alone is grounds for lifelong devotion. But Facebook, oh, my Facebook, you had to know this video would not go over well.

I like to think that maybe you made this as a joke. Maybe you all had had one too many at lunch and so you created this video disparaging an industry that you never actually intended to post. Only nobody told Bobby the Intern and, well, it was just a giant misunderstanding.

I like to think that, but somehow, I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

Well, you asked a question, Facebook, and you deserve an answer. So allow me and those who comment on this article to enlighten you.

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Weddings come in all shapes and sizes. Hey, I don’t have to tell you that, Facebook; your site is filled with them. I know you’ve seen them. And while no two weddings are identical, they all have one thing in common: They are important. This isn’t a trip to the grocery store or dinner with friends — it’s a commitment between two people who pledge before family and friends to love each other for always.

Now, here’s where you need to listen up, Facebook, because it’s imperative you understand this … when an event is important enough to be photographed, it’s usually not best to leave it in the hands of the attendees and their cell phones. What is that you said? Well, of course I understand that wedding guests take photos and want to share them with the bride and groom and you provide the means for that to happen; however, while those guest snapshots are the proverbial icing-on-the-cake, you still need the cake.

Does this make sense? You still seemed puzzled. Oh boy, this is going to be harder than I thought. Okay, dear Facebook, let me try one more time by putting this in terms you will understand.

When you need to implement changes with Facebook, do you employ professionals or just leave it to up to some friends and acquaintances? When it’s important to you, do you trust your friends to make the updates and design changes to your site, or do you feel better putting the task in the trusted hands of a professional, someone who knows what they are doing?

Exactly. And so it is with professional wedding photography.

So, why don’t you just take down that silly video and replace it with something that makes more sense, preferably a video with cats. Or, you can replace it with one of Mark Zuckerberg’s wedding photographs. I’m pretty sure he had a couple professional wedding photographers there.


 
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  • Matt

    This should be good.

  • Clayton Finley

    Seeing as my previous comment got deleted, I’ll edit it to play nice.

    This is just obvious sensationalist posting, nothing about the advert was remotely aimed at discrediting professional photographers, and instead showed the benifits of using their product for social networking and media sharing. The author is taking things out of context, attempting to blow it out of control, all in hopes of getting a nice paycheck from ad-clicks.

    Maybe certain petapixel authors should stop spending all their time on craigslist and facebook and maybe actually go take pictures. If you just want to write sensationalist articles without any actual photographic relevance, maybe take a job at the Chicago Sun Times?

  • http://johngoldsmithphotography.com/ John Goldsmith

    Indeed. The “Zucks” did have two professional (and talented!) wedding photographers. (http://petapixel.com/2012/05/23/the-zuckerberg-wedding-a-tale-of-two-photographers/)

    *Claps slowly*

  • KevinNewsome

    Why? You read it, didn’t you?

  • Renato Murakami

    Why have one photographer when you can have a hundred?

    Because (flashes from other cameras get in the way of photos in key moments):

    http://coreyann.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/unplugged-wedding2(pp_w897_h596).jpg

    And because (if guests are going to be taking photos of the wedding for you, that’s how it’s going to look):

    http://media.offbeatbride.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/6/files/2011/06/Lapislazuliphoto-500×299.jpg

    And also because people would rather have beautiful photos in an album taken professionaly and not a digital collection of crap smartphone pics with lots of noise, under and overexposed photos and bad framing from fixed positions.

    But you know, to each it’s own.

  • http://www.sin3rgy-creative.com/ David Liang

    I agree. I’m a full-time photographer and I didn’t take it as Facebook is downplaying the importance of professional wedding photographers. Why would a bride not like images from her wedding, taken by her guests, posted on her wall?
    There is a clear difference in composition, quality and even context between images taken by professional photographers and smartphone using guests. One doesn’t replace the other but I personally think it supports each other, giving the bride a complete documenting of her wedding. Guest point of view shots are lots of fun, and so ar professionally shot images that are mount worthy.

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    The concept that you can’t read and respond to something without simultaneously validating its existence is ridiculous.

  • peaceetc

    Good points. I would hope Facebook doesn’t mean to imply professional photographers are necessary, but you wouldn’t know it by that video. I’d rather have one or two good pro photographers at my wedding than a hundred guests taking blurry, poorly lit cell phone photos. Having some candid shots are nice, but it’s not the same as having true professional photographers.

  • Clayton Finley

    You ever see someone say or do something very dumb, and you just sit back and smile and wait for the next ignorant thing they say? Same reason.

  • Fra Lippi

    You don’t *have* to interpret this ad as saying you should ditch the pro photog. It could mean, “Why have 1 pro photog when you can have 1 pro + 99 guests”. Assuming the guests don’t all block the pro’s shots during the ceremony they can easily add to the mix and come up with a few cool shots the pro might have missed.

  • Pernille Scheele

    Where in the video does it say one should NOT have a pro photographer?

  • James

    That’s a bingo!

  • ISO640

    Is it just me or are wedding photographer’s a touchy bunch?

  • James

    Maybe he’s disappointed by the lackluster results… Let’s be honest I’ve seen better wedding photographs.

  • Jim Macias

    Wait, you mean the sky isn’t falling?

  • w3rdsmyth

    Where do they say that means it excludes having a professional photographer as one of the one hundred? Where on that does it say “don’t hire a professional photographer”? Nowhere. Everyone is going to be snapping and sharing their snapshots, that is what happens at weddings unless it is one of the “unplugged” weddings that happens from time to time. What you are viewing as a personal attack on yourself as a wedding photographer, reads to me as an “in addition to” having a pro, have 99 more. You can choose to view it in whatever way you like, and it appears you have decided to view it as a personal affront to yourself and all other wedding photographers. I don’t read it as such at all.

  • Adrian S

    From a statistically view point 100 photographers X 50-100 pictures / person, you should get around 5k – 10k images. From this many you should be able to find at least a good one for your profile picture and one for your cover. Who needs more?

  • Kirsten

    Because some people just don’t care about having a professional photographer! Did I? Yes! Did one of my best ever friends? No, and guess what, she is possibly more thrilled with her photos than I am with mine, and I’m the one who had to pay for them! Would I do it my way again? I think so, but I know my friend would do it her way again too! I think it’s time for some of to take a deep breath and learn to realize that not everything is an affront, in particular when it doesn’t even say that you shouldn’t have a professional!

  • sirfucious

    They can be. However, given the fact that it may be a primary source of income/their livelihood etc…it seems justified. Facebook could very well just be another competitor, which means the pro photographer would have to adapt. However, the immense popularity/reach and the general trend of casual photography by many, including for weddings (I just did one recently where the bride loved my work, but was just as happy with her guests’ camera pics)…this seems to be an appropriate response.

  • Clayton Finley

    I do see the argument that the author tries to segway to for the poor quality cellphone shots during the actual wedding ( no one wants to see a glowing square in photos/videos ) but at the reception? go for it. People dance, people drink, people have a good time, and its usually not often peoples families gather together in such numbers., Be happy, have fun, take photos.
    Note most of the pics in the video seem to be the guest, family, etc before and after the wedding.

  • Daniel

    In my (limited) experience as a wedding photographer, I have found the few people that do try to take their own photos during the ceremony very disruptive.
    Having other people’s cameras flashing away at key moments has ruined many shots of mine, not to mention, people standing up when they shouldn’t be, physically blocking my shot, our at least cluttering it.

    I can’t imagine a wedding ceremony where a majority of the guests are raising their arms and leaning back and forth trying to get a shot.

    I’m not against people snapping a quick shot during the ceremony as long as they are careful not to block other people’s view (including myself).

  • p.rock

    Par for the course with this author.

  • http://www.sin3rgy-creative.com/ David Liang

    LOL…not like some would have us believe

  • sirfucious

    Actually, I’ll add to that…I doubt this will put wedding photographers out of business immediately, though it MIGHT have an impact. But from a different (optmistic) viewpoint…I think this would be a great tool if the official photographer jumped on it and took the initiative to paint the Facebook feature as a “icing on the cake” by mentioning it themselves to the bride/groom. Just like any sale, you have to lead the client and be proactive versus reactive, because tbh…not every bride and groom know the intricacies of professional wedding photography. They just want their special moment to be captured. If you’re in charge of capturing it, take charge and do what needs to be done to make it happen. Simple as that.

  • Molly26

    I find it funny: Every couple of months somebody bitches about wedding photography (no it’s not too expensive, no you cannot buy somebody else’s pics for your website, no your friends pics are all bad etc. etc.). Probably because wedding gigs are the *only* business left for non-star photographers?

  • Ron Clifford

    You know what usually happens, really?? The bride and groom are wondering how fast the pictures will be because after 2 weeks, not one of their friends has given them any of those Hundreds. True Story. Very very few people share the pictures they take, not even with the Bride and groom. Hire a pro, or two or three if images matter to you.

  • Clive Rowland

    but this is exactly the point of the video, the new sharing function in facebook which allows multiple people to pool their own photos into one gallery everyone can see. Wedding photographers (at least busy ones) take a week or 2 to return the shots to the B&G, and in today’s instant posting to facebook blog culture, people want to see the results instantly, not posted to the brides timeline a fortnight later.

  • SiriusPhotog

    What do you guys/gals expect from someone that thinks CANDY CRUSH is reason enough to love Facebook.

  • Pat Dooley

    I’m an amateur and I take my DSLR to friend’s weddings. I stay out of the professional’s way and focus on taking pictures of my friends enjoying the wedding. Staying out of the way of the pros includes turning off your flash while they are trying to get their shots.

    I give the happy couple a DVD of my shots to share as they please. The pros focus on the couple and produce photos that no amateur equipped with an entry level DSLR, let alone an iPhone, can match.

    If you are relying on your guests for your wedding pictures, good luck with that.

  • Facepalm

    Ahem, get used to it unfortunately. I’m hearing 18″ tablets with 14mp cameras are coming out.

  • James

    As a wedding photographer this honestly doesn’t bother me that much. Most photos that guests take at weddings aren’t the best creative compositions, and aren’t really apt for printing. I’ve embraced the fact that the general population are is getting worse at photography. In the 80′s, 90′s, 00′s there would be amateurs in the crowd with great 35mm cameras and glass, and these people often knew how to make a stunning photograph. Nowadays most people outside of photo-enthusiasts at a wedding are taking mediocre snapshots with a phone that is likely not flattering. What does concern me, is that these days some couples are happier getting 5,000 atrocious photographs with 3 Instagram filters on them, versus 100 perfect film photographs that are stunning, as it was in the past. Luckily in the DSLR age I can provide them with several hundred photographs that are pleasing. I have a lot I am trying to explain, but I guess my bottom line is that people are coming to expect a lot less quality than they used to, and expect quantity, but that quality work of a professional sticks out light-years compared to what guests turn out these days. I do wish people these days would just enjoy the events, and stop being so caught up in making their lives into a recording, instead of actually living in the moment.

  • Martin Nilsson

    Well, if you were to agree with Facebook here I would still say that Google+ and “Party Mode” is a better way to crowdsource images from a wedding. Add to that the fact that Google+ will even handle your RAW-files and Facebook is pretty dead in the water!

  • http://ateoriadokaos.blogspot.com Sérgio Pontes

    I agreed :)

  • Tobias W.

    I agree with you. She’s pretty obsessed with this topic.

    I don’t get this self-obsession wedding photographers have. They constantly feel like everybody is stepping on their turf, overreacting to every one and everything. If you’re doing something relevant and important that is not easily replaceable – relax! If you produce irrelevant work that is short lived and only has meaning to a small number of (paying) people and can easily be produced by the next best photographer who knows the difference between an f/stop and bus stop… yeah… you need to panic and overreact.

    Geez. I am so tired of wedding photographers acting like they ARE the photography industry. Here’s a message: a very tiny percentage of people actually cares about wedding photographers and their images! The majority doesn’t care.

    Personally, I see no artistic relevance in wedding photography. The work is only relevant to the couple getting married and their family. I don’t care about photos of anybody’s wedding no matter how creative or good they are. Who would buy an art book with wedding photographs of someone else’s wedding? Yeah, right. The focus of wedding photography is so narrow and 100% commercial, more craft than art that I have to say for my self: I just don’t care. Not at all. Wedding photography is irrelevant in the same way as that H&M billboard commercial that is plastering any western city at any given time that everybody has seen but nobody can remember and that will disappear in a couple of weeks time to be forgotten forever.

  • Tobias W.

    It must suck to offer a service that so many others offer at a comparable level. Apart from being a paid photo journalist or established fine artist with a good portfolio in galleries for sale, the only branch in photography where money is made for a large number of photographers is wedding photography. But let’s face it. Anybody who knows how to work a camera, lighting and has good people skills can pick this up quickly without a large invest of money and time up front.

    Yeah, if I did something that is easy enough to get into, that can be easily done by someone else, I’d be touchy too.

    At the same time, I find the term “wedding photographer” to turn into a joke or even insult – both for their touchiness on sites like this as well as for the lack of relevance of their work in a wider sense offset against their self-obsession. I don’t really care about wedding photography.

  • Tobias W.

    Yepp, that is so true. The whiny, touchy attitude of paid wedding photographers is based on the fact that they are standing with their back to the wall as the service they do is all they do in most cases as their single source of income and it’s easy to get into that market, there is almost no barrier.

  • Tobias W.

    Pat, you nailed it: “…that no amateur equipped with an entry level DSLR, let alone an iPhone, can match.” You’re implying that the difference of a pro and an amateur is access to pro equipment. I’d have to say that is one part of the story, the other is to know how to use it in the various situations that come up at a wedding, right? Well, that is a very low barrier to get into the business of wedding photography.

  • Mark

    In your analogy regarding the guest’s photos being the icing on the cake, you imply the wedding photos are the cake. Have you lost site of the main objective of the wedding? Marrying someone you love. Being married is the cake. The photos, amateur or professional, are the icing.

  • sirfucious

    I don’t see it as any different than any other profession/job where your skill set is pretty much in direct correlation with the rates you charge. Just like I can walk into any mechanic and pay $50 for an oil change, or go to my local auto store, get some oil, a wrench and a drip pan and do it myself for maybe a third of that, any pro photographer…wedding or not…can consider the amateur with a kit from Costco as their competition. But the difference isn’t in the hardware or whether anyone can pick up a camera, light up the place and press the shutter button while smiling. A monkey could probably be trained to do that. There is a reason some wedding photographers get paid a few hundred bucks, while others can make a full time career out of it. I did a friend’s wedding recently and got $600 out of it. I also shot a wedding back in November that was a referral (I don’t advertise or proactively market myself…) and charged $7000 for it, plus another $11k for video.

    I wasn’t using anything not available to the general public…just a Nikon D7100 and an older D3, some Profoto lights and a “pro” videocamera (Sony XDCam PMW series) with tripod and boom mic. So, if anyone with just some nice gear and people skills, without having invested the time to build a portfolio and a list of satisfied clients who provide referrals, can go up to a bride/wedding planner and ask $6k for photos alone, then more power to them. I started out with an open box D80 with used 24-120 lens and an SB900, all for under $1500. I don’t do photography full time or even as a career, especially wedding photography. I don’t even have an online portfolio anymore. Every once in a while I’ll do some commercial photography (which can pay VERY well), on film sets or for bands. I do much more with local press as a journalist, actually, and get paid next to nothing…when I do.

    However, I AM passionate about it. Even if I’m just walking at the local park or going out at night, I’ll take my small Olympus M4/3 camera. And being able to make what I would in a month at my typical 9-5 corporate job in 3 days doing something I truly enjoy is certainly satisfying. So you don’t have to care about wedding photography. And sure, anyone can do the same thing. I personally don’t care to do oil changes (though I do work on cars as a hobby). But that doesn’t make it less of a profession or a passion for many others out there who live and breathe it, whether you’re a professional photographer, mechanic, or anything else.

  • Ron

    Actually I can emphasize with the idea of using your friends for wedding photos. When I was married in 1964 we did not have enough money to hire a photographer.
    My wife and I (still married) were both college students without rich parents. All we have were what pictures our friends took. They actually did a good job for us and we are pleased with the pictures to this day.

  • http://withnoble.com Aaron Patterson

    I’m now offering professional Facebook wedding photography. I will come to your wedding equipped with an iPhone 5S in a sturdy case. All photos will be given to you via tagging on Facebook.

    For an additional $50/per, I can add additional photographers with their own phones and Facebook accounts.
    For an additional $2,300, I will run your photos through a photo app on my phone to edit them.
    For an additional $300, I will post your photos to instagram and pinterest.

    For an additional $900, I will print a photo book off with iphoto.

    Thank you for your interest, you can only contact me via twitter @withnoble because my services are highly requested and email is so 2007.

    **This is obviously a joke. I tend to joke.**

  • Olive

    Wow what an over the top reaction, and written in a horribly patronising manner. The advert was for Facebook. Not a campaign to put photographers out of business.

  • Tobias W.

    You’re proving my point if you’re saying that you’re not a full time professional wedding photographer but you did a wedding shoot for someone and charged that much money. Somewhere, a professional, full time wedding photographer is hyperventilating now and preparing another rant for Petapixel to publish and bore us with. Thank you.

  • http://www.studio-616.com/ Taylor Venus

    There is nothing and I mean nothing anyone can say, write or do that will discredit my work as a photographer (wedding photographer that is), There is no competition on the spiritual plain, what is rightfully yours is giving to you under God’s grace. Brush off what Facebook may or may not have intended to say. don’t sweat it.