Wedding: Instant Gratification

Rubina Batt, a recent Philadelphia bride, is the first to admit she didn’t know much about digital photography — just that she liked the idea of being able to see her wedding photos during the reception. “Our photographer was recommended by the venue, the Ballroom at the Ben,” says Batt. “He had an 18-by-20-inch screen where he showed pictures of the day. People would see the


Rubina Batt, a recent Philadelphia bride, is the first to admit she didn’t know much about digital photography — just that she liked the idea of being able to see her wedding photos during the reception. “Our photographer was recommended by the venue, the Ballroom at the Ben,” says Batt. “He had an 18-by-20-inch screen where he showed pictures of the day. People would see the wedding photos as they were getting dessert. The guests loved it.”

Once Batt and her husband, Sam, had settled on Gerard Tomko Photography in Hatboro, they decided to be photographed — pre-ceremony — with their wedding party throughout Center City. Those, of course, were the shots being displayed during dessert hour, and not only that: “The day after the wedding, he sent out a slideshow to us. It was very emotional,” she says.

Enjoying your images immediately — in some cases, while still enjoying your Big Day — is becoming one of the most popular advantages of using digital photography for your wedding. “You can see what you’re photographing right there,” says Tomko. “If you don’t like the lighting in a composition, you can always change it.” In the end, he says, happy couples end up with more creative, candid pictures from their wedding. With digital technology, photographers can take the chances and get all the right shots.

Quantity and Quality

Sofia Negron, a wedding photographer based in Chestnut Hill, has been shooting weddings in digital for three years. Many brides, she says, want to take advantage of their photographers having the images immediately accessible. “[It’s] the instant gratification of seeing the image and not having to wait a week to get all of your pictures back. You know what you have right then and there, which is a huge stress saver.”

Negron says many of her clients like the idea of being able to doctor photos professionally with digital film, which includes being able to bump up the contrast by playing with color or “remove something or someone from a photo, like an exit sign or a chair.” And she, like Tomko, will pull the best images of the wedding and create a slideshow for guests to enjoy at the reception. She provides this service as a gift to her clients. “I’ll pull some of the images and put them on my laptop,” she says. While guests wait for cocktails at the bar, they enjoy a slideshow of about 25 to 40 images from the wedding. Lately, some clients have been requesting this service thanks to word of mouth.

Marie Labbancz, a photographer who works in Philadelphia, Princeton and New York, treats digital images more like raw files and doesn’t show slideshows until the images are, well, picture-perfect. (“The bride doesn’t have to worry that her makeup might be smudging,” she says.) However, digital does afford her the opportunity to deliver the images just as they were meant to be seen: She spends as many as 20 hours in postproduction, making enhancements, converting color shots to black-and-white, and doing touch-ups — for group shots, she’ll even switch out a face if someone’s blinking.

Seeing is Believing

While many digital photographers showcase photos on their own equipment, many conference-friendly venues can set up tasteful multimedia screens during the reception. Projection screens and plasmas can be used to stream slideshows from earlier in the day, thanks to technology that lets photographers hook up their laptops and USB storage devices to monitors of any size. Much like a CEO sits and watches a PowerPoint presentation, so can wedding guests enjoy a taste of what the wedding album has in store without intruding upon the music, entertainment or toasts.

“By the time I get home [from an affair],” says Negron, “pretty much everything is downloaded.” She creates an online slideshow and sends it to the bride and groom, who can proof their own wedding album online. Not only do the clients receive digital images, they also receive a hard copy of the album and the option to order prints — and most clients, says Negron, forward a link to family and friends. “They might have an elderly relative who couldn’t make it to the wedding.”

Negron says some brides even make thank-you cards featuring an image from their wedding. She also can help clients create small 5-by-5-inch and 7-by-7-inch albums that look like small magazines, which make great bridal-party gifts. “In the end, I try to create what I call ‘the experience,’” says Tomko. “[Couples] aren’t just hiring a photographer, but also an album designer and wedding planner.”

Shortly after Batt’s wedding, she and her husband received hard copies of photos. “We also had photos online,” says Batt, who sent links to friends and family so they could order prints. “One of the shots was of the entire party holding hands when we were walking down the street. You could see the skyline and City Hall. We also ended up with a couple of pictures at the Septa train station, which may sound weird, but they turned out amazing. They were more like art.”

“Everyone says the same thing: ‘I want candid photojournalism,’” says Tomko. “It’s based on what they read in magazines. But when it comes down to it, they’re more concerned about enjoying the day.” Because digital is now so prevalent, he says, “There are thousands of photographers out there. You have to find someone with experience who’ll put the fun back in wedding photography.”

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