Without all three you may not be getting the most out of your wedding photographer. This is my philosophy on wedding photography.
The artistic part of wedding photography is the fun part. Many engaged couples choose their wedding photographer based on their artistic style. Having the intuition to know what looks good and what doesn’t is important; it’s called being creative. It can’t be taught, (very well at least) but can be learned. Learning to be creative means taking risks and failing most of the time (cliché, I know). You learn when and which way to tilt the camera, what to put in focus and what to make blurry, and what to include in the frame and what to crop out.
An artistic photographer understands composition and knows not always placing your subject in the middle of the frame is important. It is something all photographers know, but when it actually comes time to start shooting frames many photographers take the safe route and plop the subject, in focus, in the middle of their viewfinder and snap away. That’s a safe way to take photos, but it isn’t artistic.
An artistic photographer knows how to incorporate props into photo shoots and how to look at things from a different perspective. Again, you have to take risks if you want artistic shots. You may have to climb a ladder or lie on the ground to get that perfect sunset silhouette picture. I have a vision for many of photographs before the wedding even happens, but many shots I discover along the way.
Being artistic can be difficult if you don’t know how to use your tools. The “scientific” part of this equation consists of knowing your equipment really, really, well. A good photographer understands f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO numbers, RAW file formats, exposure compensation, continuous frame shooting, and many other terms and techniques. You can take artistic photos without knowing your camera equipment, but can you replicate them a week later? Probably not if you are using your camera in Auto mode.
You can have the artistic vision and understand you camera really well but if it is a point-and-shoot you’re not going to reach your full potential. Good equipment is expensive, but sometimes it is the only way to achieve the necessary results. Dark churches that ban flash photography during the ceremony present a serious problem if you don’t have equipment that can handle the situation. Fast lenses, noise-reducing camera bodies, and image stabilization technology help you get the sharp, clear photos in tough situations. They also give the photographer flexibility
Cameras, lenses, and flashes are the obvious equipment for this part of the equation, but I’m also sticking computer and software into the mix. I use a iMac computer along with the Adobe Creative Suite 5 to edit photos. I have developed a workflow that pushes my computer equipment to its limits. The faster I can retouch photos equals less time I am sitting in front of my computer and that lowers my costs to my customers. Why spend 80 hours retouching photos if you can get the same job done in half the time using a faster computer?
Owning Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom doesn’t necessarily make you any good at using them. Not only do you have to have own the software and equipment, you have to spend the time to master them.