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Will "Stylized Wedding Sessions" Destroy Your Wedding?

Best Wedding Photographers Albany NY

By Jeffrey House Photography


Will "what" ruin my wedding?

What is a "stylized wedding session?"

These sessions have been getting a lot of attention in the news lately and whether you've heard about them or not, it's a trend you need to be aware of!

Imagine for a moment.  

You're looking to find what you consider to be the best wedding photographers in Albany, NY.  How would you feel if you discovered their wedding portfolios were fake?

In this article we are going to take a closer look at these stylized wedding sessions and show you 3 reasons why stylized wedding sessions don't make you a wedding photographer.   

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what is a stylized wedding session?

A stylized wedding session consists of a group of photographers (generally 5-10) that pay $150-$300 to photograph manufactured wedding details and professional models pretending to be the "happy couple" on their wedding day.  These sessions usually take place at a local wedding venue or park.  The group of photographers will spend a few hours photographing table settings, wedding rings, the "couple", etc. 

After the session has ended, the photographers edit (maybe) the photos and voila - instant wedding portfolio!

3 reasons why stylized wedding sessions don't make you a wedding photographer

If a photographer wants to participate in a stylized wedding session for learning purposes, that's awesome!  But, for those photographers using these photos and promoting themselves as professional wedding photographers, that's not so awesome.  Unfortunately, these stylized photo sessions don't make you a wedding photographer and here's why!

1.  Creative Sharing

We can all appreciate the importance and significance of a wedding.  A wedding may not be the most important day in a person's life, but it's certainly one of the most important days. 

When it comes to photographing a wedding, it's extremely demanding and stressful.  Knowing how momentous this day is and knowing you only get one chance to get it all right - it's a lot of pressure!  Imagine you're a wedding photographer for a moment and imagine you have the responsibility of creating memories for this couple that will last a lifetime.  As you're photographing the couple, your creative mind suddenly goes blank.  It happens - it's like a writer that experiences writer's block.  What do you do?

How about stylized sessions?  If your creative juices suddenly stop flowing - no worries - just look at what the other photographer's around you are doing.  You can certainly share ideas, copy their approach or use it to spark your own ideas.  However, you don't have this luxury at a real wedding!  At a real wedding, the only person that you can rely on, is you!  There's no "creative sharing."

Stylized wedding sessions can provide a false sense of ability because they provide you with security.  You can step back and think about your shot for a moment.  On a real wedding day, you can't be that deliberate.  You better be prepared for any and all possible situations.  If you're not, it's sure to rear it's ugly head. 

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2.  Models Know What To Do & How To Do It

Stylized wedding sessions use professional models acting as a newly married couple.  

This may not seem like a bid deal, but consider this.  99% of real couples have no formal model training; therefore, the majority of couples have very little, if any, comfort being in front of the camera.  

A critical part to being a great wedding photographer is connecting with your clients and guiding them into natural and comfortable poses that make them look, and feel beautiful.  

Most couples are surprised to learn that a wedding photographer's photos have very little to do with hiring them.  A lot of photographer's take beautiful photos.  What really matters is their personality and how well it melds with yours.  I use this analogy all the time with couples, but it really helps to understand my point.  

I want you to envision a conversation you're having with a really close friend compared to a discussion with a complete stranger.  What do those two conversations look like?  What do they sound like?  With your close friend, everything about the tone of your voice and your body language demonstrates you're deeply engaged in the conversation.  However, when speaking with the stranger, the one of your voice and body language will appear much more guarded. 

What about the information you communicate with your friend versus the stranger?  Would you share the intimate details of your life with the stranger?  It's very unlikely.  The same holds true with your wedding photographer too.  When you're comfortable and trust your wedding photographer, your true essence is revealed in the photographs.   If you don't feel this way about them, your hesitancy and reluctance will be evident.  

When photographing models, the only direction they require is the type of pose you want for the photo.  They need very little direction, if any, to produce the look you're trying to achieve.  Obviously, this is not the case with the everyday couple.  The minute they step in front of the camera they're nervous and anxious.  They require much more interaction with the photographer to gain a comfort level and look relaxed.    

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3.  Time & Pressure

Real weddings run on very strict time schedules.  This can often make the job of a photographer brutally difficult.  

Let me explain.

When the wedding schedule gets off track - any they always get off track - everyone looks at the photographer to fix it.  Why?  Because everyone knows the photographer has time built into the wedding schedule for photos.  This can become a very challenging situation.   While the wedding planner may need you to cut your photo time in 1/2, the couple doesn't expect to get 1/2 the photos.  They still expect the same quantity and quality you promised them.  However, it's now your job as the photographer to quickly adapt to the situation and figure out a way to deliver on your promise.  This means you have to remain composed while working very quickly and efficiently to meet everyone's needs.  

This is just a quick glimpse at what it's like to be a wedding photographer.  These situations arise at almost every wedding and usually several times throughout the day.  You might have to adjust pre-ceremony photo times, post-ceremony photo times, etc.  One quality that is essential for all successful wedding photographers is being an extraordinary problem solver!  Weddings are fast paced, high-stress events that require swift and accurate problem solving abilities.  When it comes to stylized weddings sessions, there's on critical point to remember - 

 Stylized wedding sessions do nothing to prepare you for the time constraints and pressures of a real wedding. 


Would you hire a wedding photographer that only has experience photographing "stylized wedding sessions?"


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