Recently I had the pleasure of documenting Sam & Lynn's wedding at The Bear in Hungerford. It was a relatively small affair with a very laid back atmosphere and consequently very satisfying to cover as the entire wedding party was completely at ease. During the five hours I spent with them, I recalled an email I'd had the previous week. The enquirer had checked my availability and package details for a very similarly sized and scheduled wedding. They stated that they'd already been quoted for at least 500 images and that the coverage would need to be between four and six hours - they had forty people, including the bride and groom.
Now, those within the industry will know that 500 images with that criteria is an absurd request. However the reason it's concerning me is that many couples researching photographers are completely unaware that it's simply impossible and that it's a sales technique. That's around 100 significant shots per hour, every hour - continuously circling the room, becoming more than a little annoying.
The alternative is that the couple could be getting an unedited disc of ALL images - warts 'n' all. Job done. I really don't think this method is right either.
A good photographer should also be a good editor and should want to provide their client with the best possible selection they can achieve. Post production should be complementary - it's in the photographer's interests after all.
As soon as photographers start throwing silly numbers at you, start worrying, alarm bells should ring and you should question whether there would be enough good images amongst the 500 to document your wedding celebrations effectively.
I do not quote image quantities because it takes the emphasis away from what's important and that is making strong, emotive images. Correct photographic coverage will result in true, honest quantities that reflect your wedding schedule together with the number of guests attending the day.
This is not a plea for more work but a call to photographers offering blanket coverage to seriously assess the quality of their product.
I'm not that grumpy old man, honest.