The recent wedding photo saga involving a disgruntled bride and her photographer had me thinking who was to blame in this situation. Most would naturally just side with the bride and leave a few to argue on behalf of the photographer. To begin, this really is a case of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." You might think that by making that statement, I'm trying not to take sides. However, I'm really taking both sides.
Sure, the bride could have shopped around for the best photographers, the best bridal studios or even the best hotels or restaurants herself, but who is to guarantee that even after research and high recommendations, bridal studios won’t go bust and restaurants won't serve up bad food? In fact, we have all heard some horror story or other, about how certain well-known bridal studios have treated their customers after the deposits are placed or how some hotels charged exorbitant prices for food that turned out to be not quite on-par with expectations. So no amount of careful preparation is going to exactly guarantee a smooth-sailing wedding experience, as there is only so much you can do to protect yourself.
As for the photographer, perhaps his skills weren't good enough or professional enough to warrant pursuing this as a professional job. In actuality, a lot of photographers in the market are not full-time photographers, as they have day jobs just like you and me. Photography is perhaps just a hobby of theirs or an opportunity to freelance or earn a few quick bucks during the weekends and public holidays. But regardless, the standard for "good photography" often boils down to one's personal taste. As a wedding photographer in Malaysia told me, a good photographer is never just all about the equipment or even specific skillsets but more about having an artistic eye.
Has anyone thought to critique the bridal studio which the bride was unfortunate enough to sign up with? Bridal packages often focus on the bridal gowns first, giving a lower priority to the wedding photography. And even then, when it comes to the photography, many of them do not allow you to choose your photographer and may even require you to top-up cash to engage their in-house photographer. Sure, maybe the couple in question could have checked with the bridal studio or even amended the clause to allow them to change photographers before they signed on the dotted line; however, in that moment, being wrapped up in the entirely new experience, the stressful wedding planning and the pressure of the sales talk, it turns out the couple unwittingly placed themselves in the wrong hands.
In fact, in my opinion, a good part of the responsibility should be placed on the bridal studio for failing to ensure that the photographer they provided was up to industry standards, perhaps by checking his work before engaging him and then checking the completed work before handing it over to the couple. The couple did not directly engage the photographer--the bridal studio did, and since they offered his services as part of their bridal package, they should take responsibility.
Written by Kally Tay Edited by Priscilla Lai
* Kally Tay is a writer who used to be a bride from Annabel Law Productions and a friendship blossomed with Bel after her wedding. She loves to share her knowledge of being a mum and her corporate experiences though her blog at Middle Me.