October 05, 2012

When You Hate Your Wedding Pictures

I'm going to just come out and say it, even though it pains me to do so. Because then it means it's really true and I can't take it back.

I hate our wedding pictures.

And before I give you several reasons why, let me just start out with a visual see?

Because who doesn't want a beautiful black and white picture of yourself at your wedding....stuffing your face with pasta.

If this picture were one of several hundred, then I would feel differently. But this picture is one of about 50 that we got from our photographer. Yes, you heard me correctly. He took pictures for about 3 hours and we got 50 pictures. How do I emphasize this? I'm not exaggerating.

Here's why I hate our wedding pictures and had an awful experience with our photographer:

1. He was very rude and uninterested. I still chose to go with him though because he was a friend of a friend and this friend raved about his skill so I thought good pictures would trump bad personality. Wrong.

2. We have ZERO pictures of the ceremony. Zero. You know, the important part where we stand surrounded by the people who love us and have flown and driven great distances to celebrate with us as we make life-altering vows before God and friends? Zero. His reason for this once I saw the pictures was that ceremonies are too quick to capture photos.


Did he just say what I thought he said? So you mean all those millions upon millions of ceremony pictures that are in existence today actually don't exist? Oh my, would I have known. I would've lowered my expectations.

3. Of the few pictures we do have, 97% are lame, 2% are straight out of Cheeseville, and 1% I actually like. When you have 50 pictures, 1% is a very small number of your wedding pictures to like. Here are some examples, divided by category. (Aren't I so organized?)


I"m sorry, but what's the fascination with stuffing our faces?

My face! Frameable, for sure.

Hey Laura, how about one with you stuffing your face?

Umm, awkward. And weird.
 (That's my father-in-law by the way. He's not awkward and weird. This photo is.)


Seriously, it hardly needs a caption.

I thought I was 10 the year 1993, but apparently I was getting married.

As one person described this photo, it looks like the cover of a soap opera.

Bad lighting, bad posing, bad background, bad, bad, bad. Bad everything. 
(Except the people. They are very, very good.)

The 1% that are just ok:

My mom is so beautiful.

So my math is off. But my point still stands. I hate our wedding pictures. And that makes me very, very sad. And I keep it in mind as I think about how I want to photograph others and the kind of experience I want them to have. If this were a scale, our wedding would be a negative 739. I'd like others to be somewhere in the vicinity of the positives.

And then here are a few just for nostalgia's sake.

My nephews and my niece in her mama's belly (born 5 days later!).

My beautiful mama and Matt's best friend, Shep. 

This one isn't by the photographer but it's so cute, I had to include it.

So there you have it. I think I've made my point. Or rather the pictures have. So what are our takeaways?

1. Make sure you see LOTS of photos your photographer has taken, specifically from weddings they've shot.

2. Make sure you connect with them, because they are going to have a very important role on one of the most important days of your life.

3. Be clear in advance about what you would like pictures of. And what you do not want pictures of. Stuffing your face? I think we could scratch that off the list.

4. Have a contract that includes exactly when you'll get your pictures. We didn't get ours for FOUR months after the fact.

5. I can't think of anything else.

Have a happy weekend.


  1. Ugh Sara how frustrating!!!! Let's all be honest here...some of those pictures were really BAD! You looked good but what the heck was the photographer thinking?

    I'm sorry such an important day wasn't well captured. I think your advice is solid to brides-find a good and skilled photographer who is invested in your day too!

    1. I know! Yours are beautiful though, I'm so glad you have them!

  2. awww sarah, this was a beautiful day! you will remember it as such no matter what the pics portray. i, too, hate my wedding pics... so much. you can't go back and it becomes part of "the story".

    1. Leah, you should post yours! Then I'll feel better about myself...

  3. sara i loved the captions you had for some of the photos...i laughed...i wish you had a better photographer...we choose our photographer b/c I saw a photo of an evening wedding at the venue and fell in love with the pose/lighting and knew I wanted that photographer...we our photos...so sorry yours did not turn out:(

  4. Aw. I’m so sorry to hear that. Thank you for the tips though. I think couples should bear these pointers in mind when they talk to their wedding photographer. I do agree with your tip about being clear of what kind of photos you like. It is good to tell them in advance the kind of photos you want and the style. The two of you may have different opinions on the look of the photos, but as a client you have the last say.

  5. I recently did my sisters wedding (flickr.com/photos/zenzenn/sets/72157632186319703/). I also only produced 50 photos, took a few months on turn around [I worked for free, battled a heavy work load and major PC malfunctions] and even managed to get some fun face stuffing in.

    So I am appalled that this bloke miffed it up so bad! Seeing his results really makes me even more nervous to explore wedding photography and get paid for it. I would hate to deliver a product and a service that makes someone hate their own wedding photos.

    On a more positive note, don't be afraid to recreate your wedding day! It may not be ideal but I assisted a friend on such a shoot. Her client was also displeased with their wedding photos and opted to do a sort of recreation shoot. It won't fix your crappy wedding photos, but it might give you something more lovely to think about when you look at a "wedding" photo done right!

    1. I would love to have ours redone! Maybe when I'm all done having kids (i.e. being pregnant). :)
      Thanks for taking the time to respond!

    2. I just checked out your album! Great job!!

    3. Those are great photos Allen. I am a professional wedding photographer and even my first wedding was not that good.

    4. Those are great photos Allen. I am a professional wedding photographer and even my first wedding was not that good.

  6. I know exactly how you feel, just picked my proofs up and i haven't stopped crying/wanting to cry since then. I just hope that the photographers are willing to do something to rectify this situation, but in the end all i have to show of our day are amateur photos and many missed pics of details and moments. I feel your pain, you are definitely not alone! Reading these blogs are helping me cope hahaha since i am in need of some serious advice on how to deal with all this too...

  7. Hey, your photos are still better than mine! Add gale force winds and 100% humidity on a blazing hot day, resulting in very fuzzy hair as well as the Rudolph the red-nosed (and red-faced) reindeer look, then you will get some idea of what mine look like! I also have negative emotional memories associated with my wedding due to very hurtful family drama, which of course does not help. Recently one my aunts requested wedding photos from all the family members to be published in a book about the family history, which resulted in me suffering quite a relapse of PTSD! Which resulted in me frantically googling the topic and as a result I stumbled upon your website.

    More importantly though, I truly wish you all the best for the upcoming birth of your precious daughter. May the Lord Jesus cover you and your family with His grace and love.

  8. I'm sorry. :( I have photographed 3 weddings and I've gotten the ceremony each time. Blah. What a horrible photographer! You are much better! That's why it kind of sucks to be so good at it because you can't photograph your own wedding.

  9. Oooh... The sad part is you cannot redo the whole event just to take better pictures. You can tell that the photographer was unskilled and unprofessional for being rude. Even if he was a friend of a friend, if I were in your place, I wouldn't have chosen him to be our photographer. Besides, it's not him (the photographer) who I should please on my wedding day. I hope you'll get another photographer for the next occasions to come.

    Isabelle Galindo

  10. Four months, and they gave you face-stuffing pics? Yeah, I hate those awkward eating shots. I mean, the cake one is okay, but why would you want to take a picture of me mid-bite anywhere else? There is no way that that will come out as a decent shot. >_<

    Wouldn’t “a cover of a soap opera” be a compliment? But yeah. Definitely looks like it. Or a cover of a romance novel. Just teasin’. :)
    Garrett Crumbley

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  12. I too hate my wedding photos. Our photographer got sick halfway through the ceremony, so we literally have only 5 or 6 professional shots. The rest were taken by guests. I made my own veil and it fell apart as I was walking down the aisle. The dress shop altered my dress, putting cups in against my permission and I didn't realize it until 45 minutes before the wedding. So the bust was crooked and uncomfortable all night. I had a great time nonetheless, but I understand how you feel. I just wanted a few good pictures of my husband and me that we could show our grandchildren without cringing. I liked the comment that suggested a reshoot on a later date. I'm going to cut the cups out of my dress and buy a veil.

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  14. Reading this made me feel better... thank you. My wedding pictures honestly made me a bit depressed. I honestly put a lot of pressure on myself to look beautiful and the night before my wedding I was so nervous I probably slept 5 hours so I looked like a total zombie. It makes me depressed because it seemed like a holy day since it was in a church where I was supposed to look my most beautiful and everyone leading up to the wedding told me I was just going to look so great... and I look FUGLY. I'll say it. I don't look good. The humidty made my hair frizz up, my face has no color due to lack of sleep, I had not actually tried on my wedding jewelry with my dress which was stupid and it did not flatter me.... Just such a HUGE MESS! And I've beat myself up over this like crazy! I know I'm writing a lot now, I'm just tired of carrying this burden with me. I'm not sure how to even move on I just beat myself up so bad. I wish there was a way I could look back on the wedding and feel happy instead of stressed.. it was a stressful day. I also don't like that acquaintances on social media probably judge my appearance because the wedding photos are online... HEEEELP MEEEEEEE how can I feel better???? :/

  15. While not ALL bad wedding photos can be fixed, you could try and find a wedding photo retoucher to take a look at what images you DO have. You would be amazed at what a little post processing can do. I have had great success with http://www.ProPhotoDoc.com. They are amazing, and guarantee customer satisfaction. Check them out if you have a chance ;)

  16. I looked this up on the web because I didn't have a photographer at all, photos were taken by my husband's kids and they are just awful !!!! Squinting in front of the sun, husband unsmiling - I feel really depressed and haven't really found one that is any good. We were presented with an album made from the shots done by mobile phone which I looked at once and refuse to show anyone.

  17. I understand your frustration, wedding photos are some of the most important, cherished memories you will want to preserve, and when they suck it kind of takes away from the beauty of the day. Luckily, though, you don't have to live with sucky pictures. Well, some of them, like the stuffing your face ones, you can't do much about. But bad lighting, a weird expression here or there or awkwardly placed guests, can be fixed by a photo editor. We, at Epixel Imaging, specialize in that kind of stuff, and while we may not be able to eliminate that forkful of pasta from the shot (or maybe we can, depends on the angle), we can probably salvage some of those photos. Visit our site, http://epixelimaging.zohosites.com/
    Maybe we can help -- Jessica

  18. I love that this thread is still going after 4 years. I looked up this thread because I hated the photography company we choose for our wedding. Thankfully, the owners did not shoot our wedding, but instead had an Associate capture our day. Pictures came out really nice, but I'm thrilled to never have to interact with the owners again. They were stuck up, dismissive, and unkind, not just to me, but many brides so I've heard. Such a shame. Don't go into the industry if you're not compassionate -- brides come in all colors, shapes, sizes and walks of life.