This seems to go against the spirit here, but...

Hyubie

Top Veteran
Jun 8, 2011
103
Massachusetts
does he have a point?

... she remarked that her first wedding camera was a Canon Rebel. What stunned me was that half the audience applauded the remark. I did a blog post the next day entitled "How Much of a Professional Are You?" and raised the issue of professional-grade gear for wedding photography. I also included a Judge Joe Brown YouTube video which was cruising the Internet. Judge Joe Brown found for the plaintiff, a bride who hired a photographer that produced less-than-professional images. In that video, Judge Joe Brown made it clear—once he found out that the photographer was using the Canon Rebel—that that was not the type of gear a wedding professional should be using—him being quite a photographer himself.

Anyway, in my post I continue to raise the question of professionalism if you're shooting a Canon Rebel as your primary wedding camera. The bottom line for me was—not really! My post was flooded with over 100 comments within 24 hours! Half the commenters wanted to hang me from the highest yardarm, and the other half came to my defense because they felt the same way I did. Hey, a Canon Rebel can take a great photograph, but it's sure not the gear a wedding professional should be using if they want to do the best job for their clients. If you're shooting a wedding with the same gear that a lot of the wedding guests are using, how can you call yourself a professional? That isn’t to say that I can't take great photographs with the Canon Rebel—I'm sure I can. But I also want my gear to help me stand out from the crowd, distinguishing myself as a wedding professional shooting a job.
(Highlight by me.)

A common theme in our forum is that "it's not the gear, but the person behind it." But thinking about it (especially from point of view of bride/groom), does he make a big point? I remember my wedding day, I was concerned with a lot more other things, and didn't even notice what my photographer's gear were. I just knew they were big, black, and long. And they didn't produce astounding images, now that I look back at the pictures. They even look like straight from camera JPEGs (not to disparage OOCs - I use them too - but it felt like "here are the images I took, now choose").

Discuss. :)
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
123
I'd say that in the field of wedding photography equipment perception does matter. People are paying a lot of money and it's (in theory) a once in a lifetime event. If I were a wedding photographer I would look the part, and that would mean having "professional" looking equipment. By the same token, I'd show up dressed in a suit and not in jeans and a t-shirt.

That a good photographer can get the shot with just about anything is beside the point.

I doubt anyone who interviews potential wedding photographers asks about their equipment, and by the time they show up on the wedding day with a Rebel it's too late to change.
 

Chris2500dk

Top Veteran
Dec 22, 2011
104
Copenhagen, Denmark
I think there are several factors in it.

One is realiability, pros want their stuff to work when they need it and the expensive "pro" gear tends to do that more than entry level stuff. Now you could probably pack 3 or 4 entry level bodies and that would cover the reliability issue, but it would also be quite a bother I imagine.

Another is image, not as in "pictures" but as in "you're a pro, you're supposed to have big expensive pro looking stuff", which is a very common opinion from people in general when they hire professionals to do something. They don't expect to see the same gear they play around with for fun.
And I imagine it's a way for photographers to cover their own rear end, if a customer isn't completely satisfied with the photos and they know the photographer used "cheap kit" it's very easy to label them as unprofessional, whereas if they were using a Nikon D3 or a Canon 1D people are probably more inclined to think "oh well, I guess it's as good as it could be".

And of course a full frame top level camera does have advantages when it comes to technical image quality compared to a cheaper crop camera. But as we've all seen time and again, the photographer (and whoever's doing the post processing) makes a much bigger difference to the output than the camera.
 

Hyubie

Top Veteran
Jun 8, 2011
103
Massachusetts
I guess my beef is how elitist it all sounds? I know good gear really ups the keepers - I've had much more keepers even with just the upgrade from P&S to m43 and the system's outstanding lens lineup. But to carry pro gear for the sake of looking like a pro sounds to me like BS. Again, maybe it's just me. :)
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
My thumb is held well and truly in the downward position on this one.

Issue each of your wedding guests with a single digit series Canon or Nikon (with more flash-ware than they can carry) and you'll still get rubbish. Much like I have some better tools than a mate of mine whose a carpenter and cabinet-maker and he would still turn out superior work to me every time.

You pay for the craft!
 

Chris2500dk

Top Veteran
Dec 22, 2011
104
Copenhagen, Denmark
Well it's all about being perceived as a professional. Yes it's elitist, but people tend to be assured by expensive looking gear (or maybe being nervous about cheap looking gear). If you were considering two carpenters for a job and one showed up with the cheapest set of tools available and the other had a top end toolkit wouldn't you, everything else aside, feel more confident about that guy?
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
I remember my wedding day, I was concerned with a lot more other things, and didn't even notice what my photographer's gear were. I just knew they were big, black, and long. And they didn't produce astounding images, now that I look back at the pictures. They even look like straight from camera JPEGs (not to disparage OOCs - I use them too - but it felt like "here are the images I took, now choose").
Demand your money back!!! :)
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
I doubt anyone who interviews potential wedding photographers asks about their equipment, and by the time they show up on the wedding day with a Rebel it's too late to change.
I definitely will be asking ... if and when that day comes. I'll be grilling the photographer about the camera, number of bodies, lenses, any front or back focus issues he or she has with the lens, PP software, JPG or RAW, Nikon vs. Canon, Republican or Democrat ... ok ... maybe not the last one. :)
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
But to carry pro gear for the sake of looking like a pro sounds to me like BS.
How about carring pro gear for the sake of being a pro, as opposed to look like one? :)

I'd definitely "feel" better seeing a pro shooting my wedding who uses a D4 or D3s as opposed to a D3100. Or a Rebel T3i.
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
123
Houston, Texas
Jack
Well it's all about being perceived as a professional. Yes it's elitist, but people tend to be assured by expensive looking gear (or maybe being nervous about cheap looking gear). If you were considering two carpenters for a job and one showed up with the cheapest set of tools available and the other had a top end toolkit wouldn't you, everything else aside, feel more confident about that guy?
I'm with you. I think the ability/skill/talent trumps the equipment. But I would want someone with the ability/skill/talent + the "pro" gear.
 
To me the Pro Wedding photographer should take along a trainee and give him the Pro gear to learn his trade while he gets in there with an X100 and comes up with some shots that make him stand out from your usual wedding photos. Between the two of them I think they could satisfy everyone's expectations.
 

Hyubie

Top Veteran
Jun 8, 2011
103
Massachusetts
Demand your money back!!! :)
I wish I could! :) At that time I never knew much about photography. Back then I think I had one of those Kodak Easyshare P&S cameras. It was only recently that I went back to the "master" copy in CD, and saw that the image sizes were only in the lower hundreds kBs! Maybe he shot not even with L/Super Fine JPEGs. :(

I'm with you. I think the ability/skill/talent trumps the equipment. But I would want someone with the ability/skill/talent + the "pro" gear.
If I were to hire a photographer today, I'd be one of the more irritating clients I think. :) I would be asking about the gear, too - and have more understanding of how much (or how little) he/she made use of them. I would want "pro" gear too of course, but personally I don't think that will be a major factor in the decision-making.
 

Andrewteee

All-Pro
Jul 8, 2010
123
One more thing to consider is that people who shop around for such photographers have already seen their work, and that should speak for itself. If their style fits what the customer wants and they are good photos then who really cares what the gear is. The customer just wants the pictures.

I've seen the work of wedding photographers who shoot with film only or Leica only. I imagine most use the typical Can 5D or Nikon D700, but really anything can go.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
I definitely will be asking ... if and when that day comes. I'll be grilling the photographer about the camera, number of bodies, lenses, any front or back focus issues he or she has with the lens, PP software, JPG or RAW, Nikon vs. Canon, Republican or Democrat ... ok ... maybe not the last one. :)
Yes Armando but then I fear that you'll spend more time on your big day talking gear with the photog you chose than the guests, bridal party, or the bride's family :wink: Well at least you got a say in the photog :laugh1:
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Dec 24, 2010
123
Brisbane, Australia
Nic
Having recently had to go through the process of choosing a wedding photographer, I have to say that the expectations around wedding photography are a self-propogating cycle. The customer has big expectations, so the photographer delivers big and charges big. The photographer charges big, so the customer expects big...

I obviously wanted some decent photos, but I'm not going to be hanging life size prints on the wall. However, when you are paying a couple of thousand dollars at a minimum, they damn well better be bringing equipment capable of said prints. Now I know a Rebel is no less capable than a much more professional looking 7D, if not perhaps a 5DII as our photog had, but for the money being spent it would have raised an eyebrow or two if she'd had a 600D and 17-85mm. I don't think that's being elitist, I think that's adjusting your expectations to the price that you're being asked to pay.
 

flash

Veteran
May 6, 2011
103
Gordon
What exactly is "pro gear". Honestly that term is pure BS. Mr Ziser may want to look at his own kit. He's got an 18-200 über zoom on his 40d/50d. Harldly "pro" gear. Not going to get any "pro" DOF with that amateur combo. He loves his Sigma 12-24 f4-5.6. If he was a "pro" he'd be using the 16-35 f2.8L. Then there's the 70-300DO lens. David, come on. The barrel extends during zooming. And then there's his total lack of "pro" bodies. No weather sealing. No dual card slots. No multiple cross focusing points. Not even a vertical shutter release. Geez, David. Judge Joe Brown has a better set of camera bodies than that. And they're all certainly current models.

Strongly suggest, David, that until you get you kit in order that you stop taking people's money and misrepresenting yourself as a pro.

[/sarchasm]

Here's a tip folks. If you want to be treated like the pro, act like the pro. My clients have never even heard of the cameras I use at a wedding and I don't have any "pro" issues. Maybe it's the "my other camera is a Nikon" t-shirt I wear at weddings that gives me my cudos.

You don't buy a painting based on the brushes, choose a mechanic based on the scanners he uses or a surgeon based on what scalpel they buy. You choose them based on their work, reputation and experience.

Gordon
 

flysurfer

Hall of Famer
Aug 31, 2011
123
Didn't Fuji say at CES that the X-Pro1 was created with wedding photographer's in mind? Wedding photography really must be a big thing in the U.S., because 80% of Europeans hearing this statement were immediately turned away from the X-Pro1 by this statement and will now look for a NEX 7 or sumthin. :)
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
This all tempts me to shoot an event with my GF1 hidden within Camera Armour made for the Canon 1Ds Mark IV with 24-70/2.8L and then see the faces at the wedding and the image viewing. I mean really!!!!!
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
123
betwixt and between
BB
Just two things - Andrew, I burst out with a big fat guffaw at your remarks:
I'm trying to imagine the reaction of the mother of the bride if I showed up to photograph a wedding with my Ricoh GRD4 :drama:
and Armando, I pity the poor photographer that shoots your wedding, or at least the ones you interview!:rofl:
 

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