Mike’s Muse: Spare A Thought For Uncle Bob

Well it’s been a while since I last “mused” in the old blog (so much for me aiming to do one every Friday!!!), but an article that’s been posted today on the Rock n’ Roll Bride blog prompted me to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard as we’re no longer living in medieval times). I’ve put the link to the article below and would encourage you to take a look at your leisure as it makes a number of important points. It’s worth a look if nothing else but for a peek at the Rock n’ Roll Bride blog itself, which always makes interesting reading (and viewing).


For those of you who’ve not clicked the link and just jumped on ahead, the point that the article makes is about not scrimping on your wedding photography; about hiring a professional and not just asking a friend (or Uncle Bob as they’re often referred to in the industry) to take the pictures for you, even if they own what on the surface appears to be a decent camera – I have quite a nice acoustic guitar sitting in my garage but I can’t play it like Eric Clapton!  The author of the article is quick to point out that, despite the fact that they are a photographer themselves, the article was not written in order to boost their own sales and, for this reason, they have chosen to remain anonymous.

So, there’s always been a lot of debate about wedding photography – the professional versus Uncle Bob, and I’m certainly not going to dictate to anyone what’s right or wrong as, at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of personal choice and budget will always play a big part in any decision made. All I would say is that if I had a pound for every article I read (and the one referred to above is a classic example) about how couples regretted not getting a professional photographer for their wedding day, then I’d be a rich man.

But one point that is often missed in the pro versus Uncle Bob debate is the actual pressure on Uncle Bob, should he be the chosen one. Consider this, I’ve shot numerous weddings both as an assistant and on my own and I still feel the weight of responsibility each time I step out on a wedding day. For me, that’s a good thing, as it helps to keep me focused on the job in hand. But how does Uncle Bob feel? He’s at the wedding as a guest; how on earth can he enjoy himself knowing that everyone’s relying on him to capture the day in images. Is he familiar with the running order of weddings? Will he know where to stand to get the best viewpoint? Can he pose a large group of people correctly? Or even just the bride & groom?

Then there’s the technical aspect. Uncle Bob may have a decent SLR camera, but, as many a pro photographer knows, it’s not so much about the camera as the lens you have attached to it. Unless Uncle Bob has invested in a few lenses costing upwards of £1000 each, the standard one that comes with the camera just won’t cut the mustard when the light starts to fade. And I’m afraid that little pop-up flash on the top of the camera won’t save the day either. And what would happen if his camera fails – will he be able to lay his hands on a back-up?

And when the weddings done and dusted, what’s Uncle Bob going to do with your images. Can he lays his hands on the latest version of Photoshop (about £500 the last time I looked) to finish off and present the images as best as possible?

Perhaps Uncle Bob can tick all the above boxes, but it’s probably unlikely. So, if you’re thinking of going ahead and dispensing with the services of a professional photographer at your wedding, spare a thought for Uncle Bob – he’s going to have a bumpy ride!


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