I Used to Think :: Part 2 :: The DJ
If you missed the intro & part 1 of this series about wedding vendors, you can find them here: Intro // Part 1 (by Dallas wedding photographer Ryan O’Dowd)
How hard can being a DJ be? Seriously…this isn’t 1980 where you need to own thousands of CD’s and know how to mix on the spot. Can’t you just plug in your iPod to the mix you created and save thousands?
Yep. That is what I used to think. But then my eyes were opened. What separates a good and bad DJ isn’t just how many people are on the dance floor…in fact, the quality of the reception pictures can often be attributed to the DJ as much as the wedding photographer. Here are some actual experiences I have had in Dallas that will help explain:
- The Bad DJ: Announced the couple’s first dance while I was still setting up lighting. Announced the bouquet toss when I was in the other room taking detail shots. Announced the bride and groom are about to leave while I was on the dance floor capturing the wedding reception. The Result: rushed photos that turned out good instead of great.
- The Good DJ: Before anything is done on the mic, they asked if I was ready. When I said “no, give me a few minutes,” they didn’t make me feel bad. They knew that the photographer being ready is vital for the best wedding photos.
- The Bad DJ: Saw an empty dance floor and turned to me and said “this crowd doesn’t want to dance,” and just left it at that.
- The Good DJ: Is not afraid to stray from the preplanned music if it is not working. A good DJ reads the crowd and can get the dance floor packed. They see an empty dance floor as their problem not the crowds personality. The result: fun party, amazing pictures.
- The Bad DJ: Stopped the dancing every 10 minutes to make an announcement or play some “wedding reception game”
- The Good DJ: Keeps everyone informed, but understands the momentum that happens when dancing starts. They seek to fuel the dancing, not stop it…which in turn makes wedding photography turn out amazing.
- The Bad DJ: had all kinds of lights, some of which would point directly at my camera causing my camera to miss exposure, miss focus, or completely blow out the photos. (its like looking into a spotlight…you can’t see anything)
- The Good DJ: uses lights to create a mood, but is mindful that a light pointing into the lens of a photographer will not make for the sharpest wedding photos. Their lights are angled up or down, instead of at lens (or eye) level.
I could go on and on, as could many of my wedding vendor friends. The DJ sets the tone for the reception…the reception that a bride pays a lot of money for. Saving a little bit of money on a DJ could actually make for a terrible party and sub-par pictures (which as a photographer…matters a ton). When you think about your hopes and dreams for your wedding reception, know that the DJ matters more than you can ever imagine: it matters to the experience, the pictures, & the flow. Their mic and turntable are literally the key to a good or bad reception.
Featured DJs from the weddings pictured in post (which would all be in the AMAZING DJ category):