So, as a wedding photographer, I always want to get better! There is no point at which a serious wedding photographer (or ANY type of photographer) should say “Yep, I’m as good as I need to get, I don’t need to learn anything else.” That should NEVER happen! There are always new things to learn – there are always skills that can be refined and improved…there’s always SOMETHING! So, one of the things I do to learn new things is watch YouTube tutorials and related videos.
But sometimes you learn something that you wish you didn’t – or maybe it would be more accurate in this case to say that sometimes you are reminded of something you wish you didn’t know. I was watching a tutorial and the photographer talked about taking pictures for “filler.” His quote was something along the lines of “you have to deliver like 300-400 pictures, so take filler shots so you can have that many to deliver.” He sounded so blasé and downright bored while he said it! I couldn’t believe it – filler shots?!?!?!?
The concept of filler (in this context) is simply things to fill empty space. In other words, this photographer was suggesting that people should take shots no one is going to want JUST so he got the number of pictures he felt he needed to deliver. Now, think about that – imagine this photographer at YOUR wedding! Wedding photography is expensive – there is no way around it, no sugar coating it. It’s expensive. Now, it’s actually justifiably expensive, wedding photographers work HARD, and they work LONG hours – and the work that goes into photographing a single wedding goes FAR beyond the actual wedding day. So yes, there are reasons for the high cost – but “filler” shots are not among those reasons! So, imagine this is your wedding – you have paid a lot of money to have the photographer show up and take pictures… how many filler shots did you want to pay for? Don’t you want your photographer to try to take shots YOU want EVERY TIME HE TAKES A PICTURE?? The goal of most wedding photographers is to make every shot as amazing as possible. But yes, some shots are just fairly mundane by nature. We need to get shots of the center pieces on the tables, for example. We usually don’t have much time to do it, either – and, let’s be honest – it’s a center piece! It’s not going to be an incredible shot by default (how many pictures of center pieces have you just been blown away by?) But, as a wedding photographer, I want each shot to be as incredible as it can be. So for a centerpiece, I will find the best light, find the best angle and make the shot the best possible shot. The concept of “filler” just shouldn’t exist to a wedding photographer. Each shot should be deliberate – each shot should matter!
If your wedding photographer is doing filler shots – he doesn’t like weddings. Period. He is there for a paycheck, and NOTHING more. Your wedding doesn’t matter to him – your money does. Now, thankfully, most wedding photographers LOVE weddings! But the “filler photographers” ARE out there, and a lot of them take very nice pictures. But you are never getting 100% of their effort, because they don’t care about weddings. I LOVE weddings! They are magical, they are special – they are AMAZING! The thought of two people deciding to commit the rest of their lives to each other, and wanting friends and family to see them do it – I LOVE THAT! All the amazing and incredible moments that happen during a wedding? All the beautiful details? There’s just too much magic going on during a wedding to even have time for a concept like “filler!”
For my weddings, I have a target amount – I aim to get 1000 shots for the bride. But it’s just a goal. Sometimes I go WELL above that number, sometimes I actually come in under that number. But each and every shot I deliver will be a shot I put thought and effort into – they will ALL be shots I am proud of – they will ALL be shots I think the bride and groom will love! I don’t think “well, I better take that picture just to make sure I have enough.” And your photographer shouldn’t either! You pay too much money to get filler!
Make sure your wedding photographer actually likes what they do. Make sure they actually like weddings. Make sure your wedding photographer actually wants to be at your wedding!
Your wedding is special to you, it should be special to your photographer as well!