AT LARGE: Say stiff cheese

AT LARGE: Say stiff cheese

Okay, we've got the church, we've got the priest, we've got the caterers, we've got a cake (more or less) and we've even got the venue for the reception (and we found a venue with nice enough chairs, so we don't need to book chair covers - whew!). We're still in the process of swapping MP3s with the musicians, but basically all's going well as far as wedding planning online is concerned.

Now for a photographer. Yes, I know, we've left this a little late in the process (by the time you read this, it will be just over a month until the Big Day). One of the wedding magazines (please don't ask me which) says that booking the photographer is the second thing you should do after deciding on a date. Like, before you tell your family and friends you've decided to commit to each other for life, you should tell a photographer.

By that standard, we're running very late. The thing is, it should be easy to find a good photographer without leaving the comfort of your home. Photography is a visual art, photographers are visual artists, and anyone serious about the photography business is going to have a pretty flash Web site to promote their wares, right?

If that were right, would I be writing this column?

On the basis of their Web sites, I'd have to say there are no decent photographers in Sydney. For a start, almost all of them open with stupid Flash animations that take ages to load, give no information and end with a button that says "click to enter". Why can they not assume that I want to enter the site? Why else would I have typed in the URL? Good sites don't have these intros.

Once you're looking at the site, you see why the photographer wanted you to wait a minute. None of the photographers knows how to use a scanner, so every photo looks bad - colour is murky, focus is nowhere. And they all choose the funky photos with jaunty angles and hideous poses, preferably with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. One site "morphed" between hideous jaunty bridge photos using an animated GIF. That's right, GIF.

Maybe it's because they're still using film, and all this digital technology's a bit much. Maybe it's a badge of honour - if they're this incompetent as Web designers, they must be good at photography. One hopes they're good at something.

Matthew JC. Powell might not select a photographer online. Suggestions to

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