Ming Thein having a go (again) at wedding photographers

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by rossi46, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Though this time not through the main posts, it was done several times through his comments sections when he was conversing with his fans. Just scroll down to near the bottom of the comments section.
    Photoessay: Vignettes from a Sudanese wedding – Ming Thein | Photographer

    In his own words, he was the guest of a Sudanese family friend's daughter, I think it is abit unkind to post such comments on a public blog, it was sort of criticizing the family friend's wedding photographer publicly.

    quote -
    "Yes, the stabilizer rig is from the ‘pros’. You can see another one of the ‘pros’ looking clueless and missing an important ritual toss in one of the top-down images…"

    "Actually, not that often. Most of the time they look clueless. A photographer must be working and in the thick of things to look important, i.e. like they should be there…"

    "Pros should be unobtrusive: the wedding isn’t staged for them, though they seem to think so. You might enjoy this article I wrote some time back on wedding photography…"

    This one was from his first criticism of wedding photographers, I think he is generalising it, making it sound as if 99% of the wedding photographers fits into the stereotype / category he mentioned.
    Thoughts on modern wedding photography: the wrong way, and the right way – Ming Thein | Photographer

    Well I beg to differ, I have seen many professional wedding photographers from Asia and Europe who had stellar and spectacular portfolio, be it pre-wedding staged potraits or wedding dinner events, I do see alot of real candid moments, and great spectacular shots from not just one, but plenty and plenty of the photographers.

    In fact I look for wedding photographers website portfolio as a source of inspirations for my potrait travel photography. I thought they give me many ideas and inspirations on how to shoot environmental potraits, so that I can shift away from the dead-styled traditional environmental potraits.

    Honestly, is it necessary for professional photographers to criticize and put other fellas down to make themselves look good? My thoughts is that if you are good, people will naturally recognize you for it. Or, if you know how to market yourself intelligently, you will also gain recognition without needing to put others down.
  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    I think he has a nice set of images here that capture the flavour/culture of the ceremony.

    I am a little confused by the lady on the right hand side of man (as we look at the image) in the first photo - she has 2 right hands!!
  3. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA

    Haha, that one is for the man behind them. That's funny.
  4. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Hi ..
    I think we are over reacting . I didn't find anything which criticises wedding photographer. I won't comment on FF or DLSR or Or MFT . In my option use the tool you are comfortable with . I can shoot any thing confidently with MFT as I am comfortable . Now give me a high end FF or medium format , I won't be able to do the justice .There is nothing wrong with any camera as long as you know what you are doing . But having said that I am totally amused when I watch new coverage these days. Those big monster cameras have no place in a 10 second clipping . Some sensible photographers were using DSLR and even light handycams to shoot and they look so relaxed.
  5. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I think wedding photography is a tough bit of business to be in. My sister recently got married and did not want to pay any real money for a wedding photographer. I begged her to get a good profession, but she didn't listen. A 'friend' of a 'friend' did it who normally does studio work and has done many weddings beside a professional photographer according to the friend. I saw her studio work and it was pretty good. This was going ot be her second wedding by herself. I have yet to see the photos so I can't comment.

    Aside from the ceremony pictuers, my sister wanted some 'posed' shots after the ceremony before the reception. The photographer also took photos during the reception. A good friend of hers was there with a Nikon FF of some sorts to do all the candids during the entire celelbration. I had my e-pl2 and 20mm there just to get what photos I could. Even a month later I'm still PPing the photos because the lighting was just aweful. I'm afraid the candids taken by the profesional aren't going to be that much better.

    Getting to the point after all the ramblings, I've concluded that the people attending the wedding were more put off getting their picture taken by the professional than they were by me or her good friend. All the friends and family know me and her good friend, so getting impromtu pictures was easy.

    The other big issue was when my sister and her husband were getting their picture taken together in some of the posed shots, they were not looking at the professional there. My sister would be looking at her friend while her husband looking at the professional. In these cases, the professional has to have some presence and command to get the couple in the posed shots to look at him or her.

    I know when I get married, I'm not going to mind dropping some coin on a pro who knows what they are doing. I'm also going to get a friend to do all the candids and impromptu shots with the guests.
  6. The Internet has provided a platform for complaining that has been unparralled. If one were to add them all up, I am sure that criticisms would outweigh praise on any subject talked about on the web. I agree with some of what he said but his harping about the pro missing the important shots seems short sighted. As a "guest" he is not trying to capture the shots that might be part of a legal contract. Many times when I have been shooting a wedding I have heard some one say "Oh, you just missed that perfect shot of... It was great and you missed it" while i was busy making sure I got a shot that was requested by the bride. I often catch better emotional shots when I have the luxury of being a guest or working for a bride who hasn't provided a lengthy list fo "must have" shots.
  7. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Ming Thein is a legend in his own mind. Almost every wedding photographer I know is absolutely passionate about what they do. After all it's easier to make a living almost anywhere else than as a full time shooter. I dont doubt that there are many dull lifeless photographers, but unless he has actually seen the images takes by the real photographers at this event he should keep his mouth firmly shut.

  8. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012
    Yeah, the basic thing, let the photo do the talking.

    I have seen guys who's demanour and actions looked awesome and gives impression of some super pro when he is in action shooting photos, yet the photos turn out bland and nothing to shout about, and don't do justice to FF camera.

    I had seen some other guys who looked abit clueless when taking pictures, yet their photos look actually quite good.

    Coming back to topic of wedding photographers, my general view is this, for my country M'sia at least. There are two main types of wedding photographers -

    Group A - the company that owns a bridal house, has huge range of wedding gowns, has 2 or 3 photographers, a team of make up artist, a team of sales girls, even some tailor to do gown adjustments...
    Usually these are the ones with the most business, most well known to general public (those non-photographers). And many girls chose based on the gowns available rather than photographic quality.

    I personally consider this of lower standard, it is too business minded and commercialized, and you can get many same types of shots. Though, to be honest, there are some bridal houses who produced quite good results. And they are cheaper ones as well.
    But their pricing approach is very sneaky and dishonest, any time you approach them, they are always talking about promotion 30% off until end of the week only. And they have plenty of hidden costs, different dress different cost, wearing their chains different cost, and the list goes on and on.
    When I got my wedding shoot from them, I prepared a list of agreement terms and make them sign it so that there is no disputes later.

    Group B - individual freelance wedding photographers who travel to anywhere you want to shoot. These groups usually have generally much better portfolio, but they come at a much higher price as well, only those wealthy people who are willing to pay premium rates gets to enjoy such exclusive service.

    My wedding before I got into photography was Group A, in general, I was not satisfied in a number of ways -
    - they lack creativity especially in their album design and layout, it looks the same as all the others from their shop. Instead of them giving me a few good proposed layout, I ended directing them what I want, how to arrange every single photo and so on.

    - their photoshop editing skill is very basic, I took the photo back in 2009 (believe the photoshop version must have most of the functions of today's CS5). What they did was just Gaussian blur for smooth pleasing skin, it looks fake and plasticky. Some people love that.
    And for one of the outdoor shoot, I did request them to remove one of the small road signage, they can't do it. I mean its just Fill content + healing brush + content aware. The road signage is in a place in the photo you can easily do cloning with minimal effort.

    Maybe I was expecting too much from a budget shoot.
  9. rossi46

    rossi46 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 1, 2012

    I agree that its much easier to criticize as someone observing. Its very easy to jump into conclusion such as you missed the shot and so on without really understanding the real situation. Its always much easier being a guest shooter to capture some unique and special shots, because the main photographer will always be required to be there to shoot main traditional moments and always has limited choice of shots then.

    Even though I am just an amatuer and hobbyist photographer, I fully understand and recognize that its bloody tough to be a wedding photographer on a wedding day / reception etc.., they just need to be on their feet all the time, need to be able to focus quickly, and so on.

    Do most of the professionaly wedding photographer has a team of 2 shooters to avoid missing out key moments?
  10. It is very common for pro's to have a second shooter and sometimes a third. Generally, one handles the candids while the pro handles the set up shots. Also good to have a second shooter so you can have a photographer with the groom before and one with the bride before. Unfortunately that means a higher price tag if you want to earn a living and in my area people are looking for quality at a lower price. I guess I shouldn't use the term "second shooter"... second camera man...er, camera person.:rolleyes:
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I agree with Mr. Thein. Fewer quality images, is better than more crappy images. There was a thread the other day on µ4/3, of a wedding party being attacked by a photoshopped T. Rex ... I agree with Mr. Thein on wedding photography and weddings being more competitive and weddings focusing on one-upmanship (weddings running amuck), rather than focusing on the celebration of the union of two families and an expression of mutual love.

    I used an expensive photog for my wedding and I'm glad I did. He got the shots and every single image looked, felt and even smelled "professional". Wedding, (at least the first one), are "assumed" to be a once in a lifetime experience. As such, I strongly recommend not to skimp on the memory maker. The only person there that can make that day permanent. The dress will fall apart, the flowers will die, the cake will be eaten ... but the images are permanent and allow you to remember all the details you otherwise would have forgotten.


    PS- In my opinion good taste and exhibitionism, do not mix. Are people that needy that they feel it important to include a T. Rex in their wedding album? You cannot buy class.
  12. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    I believe we hired the 2nd or 3rd best photographer (couldn't afford the best one) back in the Philippines for our wedding; nowadays since picking up photography as a hobby, I look back at our photos and while I can still say they're very good, they're not as wonderful as I initially thought. Like Gary, if I could go back in time I would've paid top dollar and cut back a bit on other things like the cake and fondue. :p

    I did like the idea of having a photo enthusiast friend take candids as well. In fact, I personally am itching to hire myself out for free as a second or third shooter at wedding events since I'm technically working only half the year. Any takers? Hehe..