Oh, how some people think being redundant is such a negative thing. I mean, repeat, repeat, repeat…and then start over again. But it can be a good thing, folks, and in one particular area I’d say it’s almost paramount.
Where, you ask? Well, Wedding Photography! I mean, you why not have a digital copy made of each and every photo taken at your wedding at the time of the wedding? Seems like too much to you?
As many of you know I am the mother of the groom right now, and watching my son and his fiance try to find vendors – and wedding photography is tops on their list right now. So it’s come to my attention the number of wedding photographers that have NOT made shooting weddings a redundant thing. And that makes me crazy for all the potential brides and grooms out there. I mean, why not?
Ok…let’s start with what it is I’m riled up about today, ok? Shooting redundant means that your camera has two memory cards in it – and you’ve set the function of the camera to automatically put each image you take on both cards. Why, you ask? Hmm…if you ask then I’ll assume you’ve never experienced a memory card failure and the disappointment that comes with that. But it happens. Hey, they are small pieces of plastic that we put the most precious of memories on…over and over again. And they do fail. And chances are they will fail when you least expect it – like possibly, a wedding.
But if you are a wedding photographer, what’s you plan? One photographer said her plan was to never shoot a card bigger than 8 gig – so at worst you would only lose a hundred or so images. And of course, she’d refund the time there. But do you want a refund? I don’t.
Maybe it’s the cost of the camera – after all, cameras are expensive. And although there are consumer level cameras that shoot to two cards, the Pro Series cameras in all the popular lines are quite a chunk of change to put down. But wait, you hired a professional right? Wouldn’t you expect them to have the PROFESSIONAL equipment to document your wedding necessary? Oh yeah…
So let’s talk about the way I do it…just because I hate to rant and not have a plan. I shoot with a Nikon D4 and a Nikon D3s. Both have redundant shooting and yes, I shoot redundant with 16 gig cards in each at a wedding. The file sizes are larger, so 16 gig means I don’t have to miss anything to change a card too often – although we will change cards approximately every hour. And I rent a back up camera – the Nikon D800 – so IF something happens to either main camera, I have another to grab.
Now the memory cards. What happens there? Well, we take both cards out of each camera and they go into a numbered and labeled envelope. The main card is downloaded on site, and at the time of download it is put onto the hard drive of a computer AND a second copy of the image is put onto an external hard drive at the same time – as another backup. So if my main hard drive fails, I have a back up drive. If both of those drives fail, I have the back up original memory card to go back to. AND if that card fails, I can grab the second memory card – the redundant one I stored for safe keeping.
Too much? I don’t think you’d say that if it was your wedding I was photographing. Was it a lot of investment on my part? Yup. Pro series cameras are the best of the best – but they also cost more. And I have a LOT of memory cards as you can imagine. The investments I make in my business are to be the best, and I make sure that if something goes wrong – and it sometimes will, the chance of it affecting a client are minimal. Putting the contingency plan into practice was an investment….but if a wedding client doesn’t see the value in that, they probably aren’t my client.
I meant it when I said I took this business very seriously, folks. I did not enter the wedding photography market lightly, and I will not stay in it as a cheap alternative by cutting corners. I’m priced more than fairly for what I offer, and although I know it’s a personal choice, I just sincerely hope all the questions are being asked of your choice in a photographer. And what a photographer will shoot your wedding with is a valid question. Do not accept the answer – “a pro camera and a bag full of lenses and stuff” – OK? Even if you have no clue what they answer the question with – take notes and look it up later if you have to. But be SURE your photographer not only will shoot your wedding, but that they CAN shoot your wedding. And that they can come up with a contingency plan should anything go wrong on YOUR day.
Maybe even be redundant…ask more than once….
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