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I’d like to say I’m amazed at what I have just found out – but sadly I’m not. But it does make me feel both sad and angry.

For the sum of £295 + VAT I “could” if I wished attend a training course as follows:

“Photographic Course Overview:

Not enough images in your wedding portfolio to secure that crucial client? But without that client, how can you build it? We have the answer!

You need to know your way around your camera (this seminar is not suitable for beginners).

Two trainers; a stunning location and numerous brides and grooms and pre-wedding couples to model all in one day! Away from the traditional church setting, we focus on the happy couple both before and on the big day to provide you with a new set of images that will sell themselves! If your wedding portfolio is in need of some attention this is the seminar for you.”

Ok – so here is my issue with this course. The course organisers are looking for attendees who want to book themselves on for exactly the reasons stated – that they don’t have enough material of their own to form a portfolio.

The two trainers for the course are well established photographers who run successful businesses of their own. They are competent in posing, lighting and all the basic skills necessary to successfully photograph a wedding day. Their students however may not be so skilled. So what do they do? Book themselves on a course like this which enables them to photograph what appear to be “real” wedding couples in a flattering and competent way.

Along comes an unsuspecting couple who look at these images and naturally assume that the photographer whose website it is has created these images all by themselves.

Jump ahead to the unsuspecting couples big day and the horror as they realise that under the pressures of a real wedding day, their photographer can deliver neither. What do they do? Sit and cry would be one answer which springs to mind.

So how do you, as a bride/groom or someone shopping for a wedding photographer avoid falling into the trap of booking someone who has created their portfolio like this? View complete weddings and more than one wedding album. With the best will in the world £295 training courses such as these cannot provide a room full of wedding guests or a father of the bride giving a speech across a lavishly decorated table such as you would find at a wedding.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of training courses and photographers putting in the effort to realise their full potential – but showing a portfolio of pictures created on a training day and then passing them off as a “real wedding” is just plain wrong. Add to this portfolio one of the sample albums of photographs you can buy from a well-known Italian album manufacturer which are shot by a very accomplished Italian photographer and look amazing and you have a recipe only for disappointment.

So ladies (& gentlemen of course!) put your mind at rest by doing your homework and viewing at least 2 or 3 complete weddings and albums. Make sure they are of the standard you expect before yo part with your deposit.

You have been warned!

Rod Pascoe – Wedding photographer Hampshire