If your anything like me, when you first hear what a wedding costs to be professionally photographed, you were taken aback. “Do I get to keep the camera, too?” One might ask. While many can easily envision that delivering a wedding album, disk of images, and prints takes many, many hours of editing and retouching, as well as other administrative business duties, what is easy to leave out of the equation is the need to have backups of, well, everything.
Herein lies today’s sad newsstory: A photographer out on the East Coast had left a wedding and made a quick stop after leaving the venue. In just a few minutes, she came back to her car, and was greeted by shattered glass, and empty seat where her gear once sat. While insurance can replace the gear that was stolen, what it cannot get back are the images on the memory cards that were taken along with them. I hope there was a second shooter and he or she has a good amount of images for the couple.
There are no second chances when it comes to a wedding. There’s a common saying: “two is one, one is none.” If its important, it needs a backup. So far I have been fortunate to keep Murphy at bay by having two of everything that is important for the weddings I’ve shot. That goes for cameras, lenses, lights, all the way down to memory cards. When I make an image, it is instantly written to two cards. One stays in the camera, and periodically throughout the day I swap out the other into a water resistant backup carrier on my belt. I don’t tend to stop on the way home from a wedding but if I did, all the images would have been securely attached to my belt in addition to existing in the camera bag.
On this discussion, a wedding day doesn’t stop when I get home from the venue. Before I call it a night, I upload all images, then duplicate to second drive, and within 12 hours have a copy at a secure off site location. Further, I like to edit and publish at least a few great images from the day to email to you by the time you wake up in the morning.
Owning quality gear does not make an artist. With a talented vision, great results can come from the most rudimentary of tools. Nevertheless, take caution in a streamlined approach to your event photography. Having a friend or a relative who occasionally shoots a great photo is a temptation in the new digital age, as seemingly professional looking cameras become more and more affordable. But, do they have a second camera/lens/flash, in case the first goes for a swim in a fountain? Yes, I’ve seen it happen. Do they have extra OEM batteries for a long day of shooting? A professional will spare no expense in making sure their gear has plenty of redundancy for both your peace of mind and theirs.