Wedding photography is about capturing moments. Freezing time onto a photograph and potentially save it for eternity. However if you don’t take care the pictures are always at risks.
Failure is not an option
When you hire a professional photographer it is because you expect him to deliver the images regardless of conditions and difficulty.
Because of the volatility of the digital medium, any errors in the files could jeopardize the fondation of my work : preserve unique and unrepeatable moments. This is why I have developed a workflow ensuring I put all the chances on my side to provide a fail safe photography service.
Use professional cameras
“Gear don’t matter” is a reality for any capable photographer. Consumer-level cameras have gotten really good recently and are able to deliver great images. I even know people who second-shoot weddings with iphones. But beside the image quality, the photographer should be using pro cameras in order to ensure the reliability and security of his workflow.
Pro cameras are tough
A professional camera will be able to withstand the hard and extended use. A typical 10 hours weddings will yield thousands of photographs. The camera must be able to shoot all day and don’t budge.
A weather sealing will also help shoot under light rain and other unfriendly conditions.
Pro cameras make it easier for the photographer
They usually have more fonctions such as more reliable focus, more optons and features that help the photographer in the technical aspect and by the same token help the capture of fleeting moments.
Pro cameras have two memory card slots
This is the most important aspect of having professional gear is the ability to shoot on two different memory cards. As a result you can protect the images from failure on one of the cards.
Data corruption is very rare and unlikely, but the more you shoot the more probability this will happen. This is why it is paramount for the photographer to ensure the images are safe.
Use a second camera
A second camera is a must in case the main camera fails. There is nothing worst than having the camera break down at a crucial moment such as the first kiss. Hense a second camera at hand is absolutely critical to ensure security of the workflow.
The second camera should be used a the same time. So if anything happen, the back up camera is not burried in our backpack. The camera should be ready to go at any time.
This will also give us the ability to use two lenses at the same time. Ideally we would use two complementary lenses such as a standard or wide angle lens (50mm, 35mm, 24mm) on one camera and a telephoto (85mm, 105mm, etc.) on the other one. This gives great flexibility and saves from switching lenses during the event.
Memory cards galore
Beside the fact that we use two memory cards at a time, we need an abundance of memory cards to ensure we can have the files at hand the longest time possible.
We use a stack of memory cards and a “first in first out” strategy. After we back up the pictures from a wedding we put the cards at the bottom of the stack and pick the ones on top for the next wedding.
If we have a lot of cards we can go through several other weddings before needing to format the cards. As a result if anything happens to our computer back-up we still have the files on the cards.
Back it up 3 times
“If you pictures are not backed up on three separate copies they do no exist”
The computer backups must be done as follows:
- Copy the datas 3 times
- On 3 different media: hard drive, second hard drive, DVD, USB key, cloud storage, etc.
- In 3 different location: Shall any disaster hit your house or studio, the images would be safe in another place.
- Check Backup and replace them regularly following new technology standards.
Warm up : fail-proof the gear before the wedding
I use warm up for two important reasons. First, I want to warm up my eyes, my composition reflexes. I want to wake my fingers up for them to quickly change setting. Just like an athlete, a musician or a singer I go through exercices in order to perform at my best from the get go.
The second benefits of warming up is that it helps detect any problem with the cameras before it is too late. In my experience electronics tend to fail when you wake them up or after a small peak in usage. By shooting pictures before the coverage time I push my gear to fail. Well, I don’t intentionally make them fail but if they are to fail I want it to happen now, before I start my coverage. As a result I can start the day with peace of mind knowing I have done my best to tip the odds in my favor.