The apparent idiocy, ridiculous arguments, personalized assassinations and so forth occurs at many wedding sites.  Many are  vendor pretend sites, or shills, should be taken in context, take things with a grain of salt two shots of vodka and a twist.   But you can learn a lot from idiots and how to avoid them, there are telltale signs, give them a chance and you’ll figure it out.

Those signs of things you might run into are all over the forums, its sort of the magic light that attracts a whole bunch of butterflies with insecurity, sometimes stupidity and sometimes undue influence which results in a catastrophe.  Two of the most popular sites that I recommend that have decorum and are healthy are:  The KNOT and the Wedding Wire.  They cover just about anything and the more you know and recognize the better off you will be, and be prepared for ridiculousness.  

My favorite expression is when dancing through a minefield, no one gives a crap about what shoes you were wearing.  Most times they’ll never be found, neither will you.    When something goes wrong at a wedding you might have to be the one who “Saves the day", so put your Mighty Mouse cape on and learn from these websites. You will be surprised.

One time I was asked to answer questions about Wedding Photography on a forum.  Some forums have self-declared experts, a few resident nutcases, those celebrating their wedding which took place literally five to eight years ago and who are still offering advice to the lovelorn on how it should be done.  Get a frickin life lady!   Quit banging the keys and spend the effort banging your husband.

One was already divorced but loved her Wedding so much and was on every day telling others how it should be done.  And the idiot is divorced now.  I had to have some fun with her.  I politely suggested maybe had she offered more sex to her husband he might have stayed around longer.  I believe I termed it "spread legs not stories…”  Did I get slammed, ouch!  Obviously, she had sympathy from the other losers.

After reading some of these heart and hard wrenching stories of emotion trauma, your Bride will seem normal.  Even if she comes complete with tears and a few borderline major breakdowns. At times these groups are funnier than anything you will ever read.  One site is so hip you will need the secret decoder ring so you will know who they are talking about.  It’s below. 

They are reliving their wedding ceremony years after its over, day after day, week after week, ad nauseam as the champion accomplishment of their lives.  They keep telling their “story” to the future Brides who crank in thinking if it’s in print on the web its real. 


G = Groom
GWR = Groom /Regrets     
BM = Best Man     
BM1 = Best Man who had banged her just before the Wedding.

FH = Future Husband     
FIL = Father-in-Law     
FFIL = Future Father-in-Law

B = Bride
BB= Bitcher Bride or Ball Buster
DAARB = Dumb as A Rock Bride
MIL = Mother-in-Law
BMD = Bridesmaid
FG = Flower Girl
MOH = Maid/Matron of Honor
PNODL = Phone Number of Divorce Lawyer


MOB = Mother of the Bride
MOBITCH = Mother of the Bride You wished were Dead
MIL = Future Mother-in-Law

FSIL = Future Sister/Son-in-Law
TLOTH = The Lady of The Hour
SLOTH = Tree Climbing SA Animal aka MOB


HC = The Happy Couple
UHC = Unhappy Couple
SO = Significant Other
SOL = Significant Other’s Lover 
SOLW/OB = Significant Other Lover Without Balls (By Female Only)     
BRIDEZILLA = Devil in a White Dress


Wedding specific boards, aka discussion groups, address common, sometimes frivolous subjects, many times over, ad nauseam.  There are two kinds of boards.  

Boards for the Bride discussing her plans.  And there are Boards for the shooter discussing mostly equipment rather than technique.  A thinker would suggest they should read both.  The shooter will understand the Bride better and the Bride will know what to look for. 

In many cases on these boards the answers given to the Bride have no bearing whatsoever to the specific question as it had been posed and/or how it might help the person asking it.  These boards are havens for what we call “The Mountains from Molehill Theology" and home to a few Celebrity Wedding Planners who are bored brides reliving their own story, repeatedly as I explained earlier.  

To most Brides I recommend a good professional local wedding planner.   Make sure you have  a deal with her, or a stranger will sell your job to someone who has he or she in the  $$ Pocket.     They know the area, the culture and the best locations.If your Bride is already involved with forums, be cautious she is going to change her mind daily, this is caused by insecurity, hers.  And the ever-changing reality TV market and forums who follow them.  The answer for you is questions.

Always ask nicely who suggested the theme idea?   Perhaps something like, "That’s interesting did you attend a Wedding where that was done, did you see it on TV or did a friend suggest it?   Careful here, because you do not wish to become a wedding planner nor does your opinion count.

If it's totally screwy and off the wall, you should suggest she check with the Priest and see if he has objections to them slaughtering the live sheep in the aisle as a sacrifice like from the days of Moses.  Then mention your competitors name and tell her he was a former sheepherder and knows how to do it.  

Dump it on him or her for a referral fee.    For the shooter, think before you change your game plan for life and / or sign up for that all day $500 seminar given by some yahoo who has one year in the business.We all suffer from Demographic Dyslexia. Differing opinions and responses formed because of differences in tradition, ethnicity, location, experience, education, training, etc.  We get answers on different subjects to our perceived problems and then we act upon them upon the advice of someone who… is not us… Two hours attending a REDNECK WEDDING will clear any thoughts about all weddings are the same.

You see with so many newbies on forums, with three weddings and they self-proclaim themselves a PRO. Maybe. Got to respect that word PRO. 

It’s popular, it’s on every cheap Chinese knockoff imported piece of crap gadget made. 

They copy all the things a pro does, and officially that makes them a pro. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, thus you might be a duck.  Or learn to duck. 
It just happens that this isn’t your bother in laws freebie and her Daddy is an Attorney. 

You are a duck all right, a dead duck.What you can learn from the pro who is willing to teach you, is the art of CONTROL at the Wedding. Doing what others do is the tip of the iceberg; handling years of mistakes and problems that arise separates the wheat from the chaff. And a good pro will teach you how to work with lighting, working on putting the Wedding books together.  Most forums don’t get down to the basics of good business and those tools.  Sometimes you must endure dumb stuff.

What do you do when someone asks for a critique of their photo? Maybe, just maybe, the answer to this quandary is quite simple but being mortal,  we look to our parents and at our upbringing. We were always told to "tell the truth even if it hurts".

The problem doesn't lie with the pictures, nor the critique, it lies with US. We don't want to paint ourselves as being the bad guy in front of others. We don't want to criticize someone else’s pleasure, dream, world, creation, inspiration, manipulation or imagination but we have the choices to make. Follow what our parents taught us or just lie…of course it’s a little white lie and not perjury.  

The compliments are understandable. Almost every picture is wonderful and possibly a small correction would make it perfect but that is the usual extent of the stranger’s critique. It’s a religious thing…The Twelfth Commandment. "Thou shalt not bust another’s bubble". The Eleventh?  “Learn to laugh at thyself, you might just be hilarious”.  Maybe the best bet is to respond with the following before or preclude your opinion with something like this.

It's only professional to respond with the truth about the work you presented to this group". Photography is about as diverse as the universe. You ask to be judged by those with differing opinions as to concept, quality, artisticness reality, message, lighting, composition, subject matter, position, and movement.

Compliments may be either positive or negative and it is nothing personal. It is just one person’s opinion.  Thus, opinions and estimations will differ even those that are semi-conscious.  If they didn't this would be an awful dull place. Like most large families, squabbles and beliefs run hand in hand, sometimes right off the end of a cliff. But the next day all is forgotten because no one really gives a shit.

The negativity on some forums is so bad; I find it emotionally disconcerting.  Cowards like to hide behind anonymous names. Some folks will never grow up and some folks embarking on something new get discouraged too easily. Just an aberration of the web, sites turn that way.   

But with that said, the failure of some of the Usenet photo sites if any of you remember the battles, threats, a few actual law-suits and black-eyes when some egos followed up on things they threatened with.   

One thing I will say about the contributors is while there are raging debates concerning equipment, everyone seems positive when they make comments about other people's posted photography. There are certainly criticisms, but they are all well-intentioned and respectful.  


•   I saw your work, I guess doing portrait work for the Mongolian Police Department really was good experience. 

•  You’ll have to work on getting nicer smiles though in your shot and a few wooden teeth painted gloss white might help a few of them.

•   I saw your work hanging in the Louvre in Paris. Nice touch, stapling it to the body of the guy who hung himself….

•   I just received some of your pictures, just wondering if they were meant for me or if you missed the delete key?

•  Your work is outstanding. It’s raining heavy here and I have it OUT standing in the rain.

•  Your work is a breath of fresh air... in a garlic factory near Chernobyl.

•   The workers in the salt mines at the Gulag really appreciated the contribution of photographs you made. 

•   Gosh, why did you wait so long, the magazine that prints this stuff went out of business?

•   It's not what you say, it's how you say it!  But few understand Klingon.

•   Work like this is an inspiration to everyone who thought of cutting their ear off.

•   What colors in your photos!  You were serious about that job offer at CRAYOLA

•   Your work exemplifies the meaning of “starving artist”.  With work like this you will stay starving.



Whereas Digital Photography has changed the "mechanical technique" of shooting Wedding Photography, Photo Journalism changes the style of Wedding Photography.  It appears there are two processes, we can discuss and there are two approaches to the Wedding stylization best served not by a decision but a compromise of the two.

The Traditional Style includes all the wedding images found in a traditional wedding album.  The usual Bride and Groom, wedding party, attendants, ushers, children, family and extended family as well as the traditional happenings at most weddings.  

These include but are not limited to the music and dancing, garter throwing, cake cutting, limo shots, soft romantic scenes around the reception, staircase pictures and so forth. 

The Photojournalistic style relates more to the portrayal and emotional look of the Wedding as a news event.  It is more story telling than anything else and when done by a professional, they can be stunning and capture the moment.  Oblique angle, shadows and uncommon imagery.  Basically, free un-posed pictures of the affair which means many of the pictures will be just as they happened, no posing or setting up of the participants.   It also can be very romantically portrayed using techniques in lighting and blurs, effects created by Photoshop. 

Many of those professing Photojournalistic qualities never worked for a paper, or even did any kind of this work before.  They will simply offer two to three thousand boring out of focus, unencumbered photos with little or no quality in the hopes that if you throw enough of something against the wall something will stick. 

The first type may be carefully orchestrated to produce a traditional Wedding Album following the boundaries set forth by millions of Weddings beforehand. The PJ style provides a more freeware version of the wedding and may get more personal.  It is the photographers job to establish the clients wants and needs. 

I like it down the middle. Get the money shots in the bag, then play reporter. You'll sell twice as many pictures with a minimum of effort. 

Film really doesn’t play as a factor anymore financially or technique wise, frankly it’s quite dead in the industry.   However, it was film that created initially the PJ approach to weddings.  Black and White had returned as an add-on and some shots do lend well to a little Photoshop.   Combine natural, soft and a little artistic impression and you hold the viewer's eye for quite a while, enough to allow black and white and its inherent detail to capture their attention. 

It also covers a slew of errors for those who can't work light and color.  That was probably the most attractive part of digital.   Again, PJ is a STYLE and B&W is another way to deliver the goods, or technique. It's not just clicking on a plug-in in Photoshop and making Black and White pictures.