It’s kinda fun looking through the old school photos of my parents and grandparents. Sometimes they’d haul out these sepia monstrosities from the depths of a long-forgotten cupboard of junk, displayed in an album so yellow I thought the pages would crack. I’d spend ages looking through their class photos: lines of miserable kids in pinafores and long shorts, forcing smiles because they knew they were about to get the cane if they didn’t. Then there were the individual shots, from snot-nosed toddlers all the way up to metal-mouthed high school kids. That’s where I found out where I got my red hair, and my ability to never take a photo with my mouth closed.
I’m glad they kept those pictures. They’re the type of thing you want to cherish forever. But that’s because they’re super old, from a time when people didn’t have cameras in their pockets. When somebody took a photo back in 1930-something, that was the photo; it wasn’t like you could take fifty shots and pick your favourite, then delete the rest. That was ‘it’.
Now that we’re in the 21st century and my youngest knows how to take a selfie, post it to Facebook and write a kick ass caption, do we still need to keep up the tradition of the school photo? Absolutely heckin’ not. But try to tell a school this, and they’ll look at you like you just kicked a disabled kid.
See, they don’t want to lose out on easy money. Let’s face it, they hire someone’s brother’s uncle’s dog’s mother’s husband who happens to have a DSLR, spending as little as possible and receiving £40 or £50 per student in return. They get you by the balls with these ugly-ass photos of your kid, who’s just been playing in the mud - is that a worm in his hair? - and you’re blindsided because HE’S YOUR KID and you must have a ‘professional’ photo of him each year (because you don’t see him every single freaking day, right?).
So you buy the photos and cry a little because you’re now poor, and they arrive and look like your cat has edited them. The colour’s way too cold, the lighting makes your child look like they’re on meth, and the background is one of those weird blue marble sheets that belong in the 90s.
Years pass and your photos have faded even though you kept them away from sunlight, as instructed. The copies you gave to your parents are sitting on their mantelpiece, gathering dust. You’ve spent your life savings on school photos that seem to increase in price each year. And then all of a sudden you realise that the time you argued with your wedding photographer about the price of his photos was seriously misguided.
Yes, this is a scenario which plays in a wedding photographer’s head each time they get a query about their ‘expensive’ pricing. Why pay ridiculous sums for awful school pictures, but pinch pennies when it comes to a high quality photographer who pours his heart and soul into your wedding photos?
The initial part of photographing a single wedding takes an entire day. From the shots of the bride getting ready, to the Champagne-fuelled dancing at the reception, I’m constantly on alert ready to take that perfect shot. However, my work doesn’t stop at the end of your big day. Hours are spent curating and editing your shots to provide you with a dreamy wedding album. Oh, and my photos don’t fade, either.
I get it. We want pictures of our kids so that we can look back and remember what it was like when they weren’t shitty teens trying to steal a fiver out of our wallets for vodka. But why, when we can take higher quality photos on our phones for free, and put that extra cash towards a wedding photographer who knows what the hell he’s doing?