The Orphan Bride

I was just having a conversation with the owner of a wedding chapel and the subject of orphan brides came up. It is the subject of concern among professional photographers who care about their craft and their clients. An orphan bride is someone who got married and had a photographer who turned over a disc of files to her and said, "Bye! It was nice but it's time to move on!" All of a sudden this bride is armed with a disc of files and absolutely no idea what to do with it. The result is she never gets any prints made of her wedding - never gets an album done.

I have had many such orphan brides contact me with a disc of their files (we didn't do the photography) and hire us to design the wedding album for them, which we gladly do. Having done so, I've learned that the quality of files turned over to these brides is sometimes, well, not the best.

However, I also know from experience that virtually every bride who contacts me to do her wedding insists on getting a disc of the files. Here is my opportunity to educate her. The last thing I want is to have contributed to the hoard of orphan brides, so we talk about exactly what having a disc of the files entails.

Sometimes I discover in the course of the conversation that my bride has asked for the files simply because all the magazines are telling brides to do so. She doesn't really understand the ramifications. She doesn't understand that there is a HUGE difference between a print made from a pro lab and a print made at the one hour place down the street, or even a print made on her ink jet printer at home. She doesn't understand what retouching entails. She doesn't understand what art work can do for an image. She doesn't understand copyright law. So we talk about all this, and more.

And by the end of the conversation, she is able to make an intelligent, informed decision as to whether or not she really wants to spend the extra money for the files.

If you are a bride searching for a photographer, I hope that your photographer will take the time to help you understand what it is you are getting. I consider it all part of the service that we provide to our brides and grooms and are happy to answer any questions you may have, even if you haven't hired us as your wedding photographer.

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text by:
Karen Linsley