The wise choice.

Film photography & digital imaging. Wedding photography by Simon Edward Smith.

What to L@@k out for?

See my must know Tips below

before you commission your



" We will capture your day on film "

This is a very frequently used phrase. Make sure the photographer does use film? Film photography and digital imaging are two entirely different processes. A person concern or any other organization who uses this phrase that do not use film are in BREACH of TRADING STANDARDS?

" So called Professionals "

There is many wedding photographers in the UK advertising there services as professional. For the general consumer it is often hard to spot a enthusiast until it is to late. Professional qualifications are not given away they have to be earnt. Many enthusiasts who say they are professional are not qualified or do not even own a professional camera? Be very aware when searching for your wedding photographer and if you are not sure take a second opinion or simply don't commission them.

" Reportage / Candid Photography "

Be very careful if this style of photography is your wish when choosing your photographer. Any body can discreetly float around taking amateur snaps of no interest of brides and grooms when they are not looking at the camera. Many inexperienced offer this type of style because they shoot hundreds of images and select only the exceptable images for the client after disregarding all the images of no interest. In my professional opinion all wedding couples require some formal portraits so make sure your chosen photographer can supply you with the basic professional standard / formal image.

It takes many years and many weddings to master a unique reportage style of photography and produce images of natural un-posed and meaning-full content. { interesting subject matter }

Many of my past brides and grooms have commissioned me because my reportage work is second to none and completely natural and of interest. The art of this style of imaging is knowing when to press the button and capture the interesting moment and being in the right place at the right time. { correct exposure settings are vital }

" Catchlights "

Catchlight is the light visable in a persons eye. It is probably the most important criteria required for a professional portrait? Without a catchlight the image is not a professional standard portrait and at the very worst the white of the eye should be clearly visable. A good example of a catchlight is my eye image / logo on this site at the top left of the screen on the film strip.

" Image manipulation and editing "

Digital editing of images is ok and is only carried out to improve visual quality. Manipulation and editing of images is clearly visable once it has been done ie/ Touching in the whites of eyes or teeth. This is ok while the image is presented in a small format / size but once the image is enlarged it can result in a poor appearance and look un-natural. NOTE > digital pixels are square so colour editing as a flat straight side and can not be made to bend / curve 100 % truly like paint on a brush ie/ around the edge of a eye. Digital images are made up of many different coloured squares.

" Retouching / Editing "

The retouching of images is the same as editing. It is done to improve visual quality and correct POORLY documented images. Retouching is not the same as restoration. If a image as to be retouched to remove a braclet / necklace for example this maybe a indication that the creator is inexperienced has the braclet should have been removed before the shoot or made to look more exceptable in the first place. { visualization }

Digital image creators who offer a retouching service for red eye removal are totally incompetent and inexperienced. No professional photographer or image creator will ever record / document a image that as red eye as this is a very basic rule of imaging and can and should always be avoided by simply applying basic photographic rules. My professional advice is > NEVER commission a photographer or image creator who offers a retouching service for RED-EYE REMOVAL of there material { it will end in tears }

Video professional editing is entirely a different process { film makers }

Film photographers can apply certain finishes or effects to there photographs professionally in the darkroom or by the use of filters in the first instance.

" The Group Photograph "

This is a photograph for a expert. If you want to remember your guests, friends and family and is a must have shot. Organisation of the group is a art within it's self. Groups can be from 50 to several hundred heads. If you want to have a big enlargement of your guests this shot must be set-up correctly and more importantly recorded professionally to allow flawless enlargements.

If you do not see a group shot on a photographers website that is sharpe in detail and large in size be aware. Ask to see group shots of at least 20x16 inches.

" Image Quality "

There is basically 3 image qualities >

1/ Medium Format Cameras produce the ultimate image quality.

2/ 35mm Pro Film Cameras produce a very close to medium format quality and the same quality if slide film is used.

3/ Digital Cameras produce a exceptable pro image quality but only if photographer and camera are professional.

Note : > Not many wedding photographers use medium format cameras as they are heavy and usually need support. Medium format cameras are usually used for studio and quality landscape work.

The majority of top class glossy magazines and image libraries still only except medium format and 35mm film camera images. These two cameras produce the ultimate in image quality through using Slide Film.

Hand printed images in the darkroom are the very ultimate in quality and can not be produced from Digital Files.

" Photographers starting out "

When wedding photographers start out they will offer cheap packages to gain experience and to help build there folios. This is a common practice as they are inexperienced so the costs for your commission should reflect this.

If a photographer is offering special discounts to gain wedding commissions there costs will obviously not be the same as a experienced professional. Look at how many grooms and brides pictures are displayed on there websites. This is usually a good way to tel if they have lots of experience. More couples displayed indicates many commissions and more experience. If only several wedding couples pictures are displayed this may be a indication of few commissions and lack of experience.

" The Wedding Cake "

Regarded as a difficult subject to record especially by the inexperienced.In most cases i record wedding cakes with studio lights which results in all the little details being shown that have been crafted for your theme by skilled makers. If you do not see a quality image of a wedding cake on a photographers website be aware. Ask to see wedding cake shots.

On this site and sites linked to this site I have several photographs of wedding cakes check them out. I'am sure you will agree the quality of my cake shots are the ultimate. See at the bottom of this page a photograph of a WEDDING CAKE  that actually was not recorded with the use of studio lighting.

" Image quality, clarity and detail.

A photographer who displays large images to view usually as good image qualities. If small images are displayed so you can not see close-up details ie/ hairs on skin, dress detail or daylight in eyes be aware and ask to see enlargements of at least 12x18 inches.

Digital images can be sharpened and manipulated to increase visual quality. So if a digital image is displayed that as been manipulated at say 6x8 inches in size ask to see the same image at 20x16 inches in size at least in print format.

" Artistic Flair "

A wedding photographer without artistic flair is like a bear with a sore head. To create images that are unique and different takes skill and experience. This will result in great memories of your day. I Have many images in my folios and websites that i have created for my brides ie/ flowers arranged in artistic ways and documented with flattering light. My experience in still photography and product photography has helped me to perfect this type of work on-location. My style as been imitated by many, but it can never be copied.

" Mixed print sizes "

True photographic formats are as follows > 5x4 , 6x4 , 7x5 , 8x6 , 10x8 , 24x16 and so on. Sizes of > 3x1 , 3x2 , 4x2 and so on are usually digital images that have been cropped from the original image recorded.

If your photographer uses film all there images will be of a correct photographic format. If you wanted a certain area of a image blown up and cropped say to 8x8 inches this can be professionally done and is known as a selective enlargement.

" Wedding Commission Costs "

Film photography is far more costly than digital imaging. Your commission costs should reflect this. How ever it is the photographers choice on how much they charge. I offer my clients digital & film packages at great rates, thus allowing all reproductions that are available in the industry.

As a guide to produce a pro lab film print it would cost approx twice as much than a digital print and sometimes more. Film images and digital images are printed on two different types of paper ? Film images being printed on heavier and more superior materials.

" Table Settings "

You and your partner have probably gone to lots of trouble to create beautiful table settings ie/ name cards, flowers, glass wear etc. Without your photographer recording these articles you would not have any memories of them. This type of photography is really specialized and only the most experienced create top results. Ask to see this type of work especially if you want photographic records to remember them by. Not being able to read a place sitting card because the photograph is not sharpe is so disappointing.

You will find many examples of this type of work on this and other websites of mine.

If you need more information or wish to discuss any issues relating to this page send your enquiry by email to >>

I hope you found this page contents of use to you in the planning of your special day.