Angry, defensive, bitter.

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by ricardovaste, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Why do I see this whenever I visit this part of Is this a "professionals only" forum, or is a place for everyone to share and learn? I visit other areas of (Minolta, Pentax, Medium Format, Film) and don't see it there. Shame.
  2. Countless people here are helpful and supportive of others which appears to contribute to the success of the site as far as I can tell. Perhaps there is a perception issue after viewing certain posts. I wouldn't let it bother you. Its easy to ignore posts that seem unhelpful and utilize those that are.
  3. What are you referring to, Richard? If you are talking about the "Gear Setup" thread, the fact that established photographers don't think it is wise for someone with no real wedding experience (not only real, but evidenced by the kind of questions asked) to shoot a wedding for pay, isn't exactly new or just formed in this forum.
    It also isn't just because these established pros want to be mean. It is a genuine warning, because we have all heard of horror stories about the new photographer who got not only grief from clients, but got into legal trouble.
    Yes, some of the responses in the thread are a bit harsh, but most are reasonable. We also express opinions on forums--all kinds of opinions. As long as one does not attack another, these opinions can co-exist. As always, the OP can take what he chooses to take, and leave the rest.
    I would also point out that the other forums you mentioned are not endeavors connected to running a business. This is not a 'professionals only' forum, obviously, and I don't see the responses given being weighted toward professionals only. Look at the numerous past threads in the "Newcomers' section. Much information has been offered freely by those professionals.
  4. It may sound harsh, but it's only tough love. Sometimes someone with too little knowledge and experience NEEDS to be
    told that taking on a wedding assignment is really not a good idea. The questions being asked make it clear who is and
    who isn't ready. A wedding is not the same as, say, product photography which can simply be redone until its right. There
    is the saying that if you don't have anything nice to say, to say nothing, but in the case of ill advised wedding
    photography, saying nothing would promote a possible crash and burn, which isn't any good for either the wedding couple
    or the photographer.
  5. Richard, I agree some posts on here can be a I am of the mindset you catch more flies with honey, and
    so it always makes sense to be fairly nice,especially because it is hard to get the right tone online. But sometimes people
    only have limited time and tire of seeing the same types of posts over and over. I think that sometimes leads to
    responses that are more of a knee jerk reaction. This can be tough on newbs to pnet, but it is tough LOVE. While some
    people have said harsh things to me on here, I keep coming back because I learned from those comments. Sometimes
    because they had very valid points, and sometimes just learning that not everyone is going to love what you do. I don't
    think the "if you don't have something nice to say then don't say anything at all" really applies in a forum like this.
    Constructive criticism is very helpful. If everyone told me my stuff was perfect then I would never learn or get better. The
    voice of those who have been there before who can point out possible follies before they happen is so important. Some
    of it is given with kid gloves on, and others just let it rip. I try to give reasoning behind my advice. That advice sometimes
    is, don't take this job. That shouldn't be taken as a huge insult. I wrote mine as frank posted. Apparently we were of like minds ;)
  6. See what?
  7. See what, what?
  8. First of all, you neglected to reference a specific thread or comment so we had some idea of why you said this. Second of all, everyone above me is right, and is bevaving professionally! I've not liked some comments/criticism, and later found out that the information was correct, and had to acquiese to a lack of knowledge in that area. I learned from aforementioned comments, and everyone else can do the same thing.
  9. "this", Frank....that's what.
  10. I'm not a pro and have nothing to do with wedding photography, but I drop in to read the postings because some of the best and most honest advice is dished out here for free. Some people would surely benefit by swallowing their pride and taking high-quality feedback to heart.
  11. Ah yes, this tough love / frank advice.
  12. I answer as I see it. And I've seen a lot of it...
  13. Ah, yes Vail.....but why do you want to attract flies in the first place...?
  14. Richard,
    Please let us know what is/has caused yor pain? I am not making fun of you, but unless we know what the problem(s) are, we can not help you.
    So again, please tell us what is bothering you.
    I have been a member of Pnet since 2007, and have had a very few posters that were, well lets just say were not very helpful. On the other hand, I have received much help from many posters on this forum as well as all the other forums I check into regularly.
  15. Perhaps an example would help?
    At the start of the wedding season of 2010, I was contacted by a photographer/enthusiasts who had volunteered to shoot a family member's wedding because of economic need. He heeded the warnings here on the wedding forum. Didn't matter if it was vinegar or honey in delivery ... he got the point.
    While somewhat accomplished, he recognized the need to become proficient and comfortable regarding a wedding shoot before the fact, not after. A family member in tears was not the goal.
    So he asked to assist me that summer to prep him for his end of summer wedding. He handled my off camera lighting, and did all sorts of helpful things ... and I explained why I was doing something ... often in the car going there or coming back.
    Net result was he even devised an off camera beauty dish which he built himself for next to nothing, and pulled off a professional level job for his relative ... then showed me the work so I could further comment and teach him some post processing techniques.
    He refused payment when offered. It was a win-win for both of us.
    BTW, I am photographing his daughter's wedding in 2012 : -)
  16. Robert, it's comments like these:
    Ah, yes Vail.....but why do you want to attract flies in the first place...?​
    that I think Richard has problems with. I get that you are trying to be funny. But when it's typed out as a post, it can come across as mean spirited rather than funny. Also, I don't find comments like that to be particularly constructive. Now in the pnet bylaws there's nothing that says you have to limit your comments to being constructive, you should be able to express your opinion, but don't be surprised when others then respond with, "ignore what Robert had to say." I think you are an excellent photographer who likely has a great deal of knowledge to share, but people might write off what you have to say because your comments are often snippy. That's my 2 cents at least. Hopefully you are one of the flies my honey has caught ;) Maybe it was tasty food for thought. Ok this metaphor has been beaten to death.
  17. Angry, defensive and bitter is a reasonable description for all the full time wedding photographers I personally know. I mostly second shoot / assist. When it's meal break I prefer to sit with the musicians, because they are generally cheerful people who enjoy what they're doing. Eating with a photographer is listening to an endless litany of complaints about clients, competitors at their price point taking their clients, competitors who started shooting 15 minutes ago and charge next to nothing taking their clients, it's too hot, it's too cold, the food is rotten, their back hurts, why can't life be simple like it was when we shot film (I'm old and generally work with other old folks.)...after 5 minutes you want to go off and shoot still lifes of stacked glasses at the bar. Seriously, of all the shooters I know, who have been doing this for 10 +years and don't have a day job, almost of them are doing this only because they don't know how to do anything else.
  18. Richard, I know what you mean about getting weird reactions on some forums...all around the internet. Personally, I'm upset at the "medical" forums on another website. Long-story-short, I have a bit of experience cooking and also hunting, so a friend asked me to perform a minor surgery on her older dog. So I go on a forum to ask a few "professional" vets some simple advice and POW....everyone is jumping all over me. Go figure some people.
  19. You may also check
    as the business forum is kind of related to making money with your photography gear.
  20. Bruce Rubenstein: "Angry, defensive and bitter is a reasonable description for all the full time wedding photographers I personally know. I mostly second shoot / assist. When it's meal break I prefer to sit with the musicians, because they are generally cheerful people who enjoy what they're doing."
    I wonder how many photographers you second shoot for or assist, because you seem to feel that they represent the norm. Perhaps if you ever rely on wedding photography as your sole source of income you will have a better understanding of why some practitioners feel how they do, though I think this is a feature of the lower end of the market. Still, the photographers you have so much contempt for are at least proving useful to you, in that they're giving you opportunities and experience upon which you can build your own future.
    My experience has been the complete opposite, I know a great many wedding and portrait photographers and they are the most talented, generous, positive people I could wish to meet. Many of them exist in this forum and I find the OP's comments to be nonsensical (though I will concede that other areas of can be unsavoury).
  21. @Bruce: “Angry, defensive and bitter is a reasonable description for all the full time wedding photographers I personally know.” Made me laugh :)
    @John: “Countless people here are helpful and supportive of others which appears to contribute to the success of the site as far as I can tell” Completely agree. I don’t want it to seem like I’m ignoring that, I just think things could be better, from the odd time that I stop by.
    @Vail: “Salty”, perhaps :). I think you’re a good example, from what I’ve seen in a handful of occasions. You always seem positive, cheerful, polite. And that’s all I’m really getting at here, I’m not talking about taking constructive criticism, far from it.
    It’s just the little remarks that seem to pop up (perhaps I’ve just been unlucky to see them). I won’t point out any specific examples as it’s not particularly fair, and those that read any more frequently than me (I imagine you all do) should know what I mean. It just seems spiteful, almost childish and petty – not how you’d speak to someone first hand, which is partly what I’m getting at.
    Yes, this is the internet and not reality, no one will argue that, but it doesn’t give one the excuse to be openly rude in how you talk to someone. Someone mentioned perception, and perhaps that is part of it, I might be more sensitive to such things, but I don’t think being polite really costs one anything, so I see no need to tolerate anything otherwise.
    I guess the other part is that some mention “they read the same thing over and over again”. I can understand that. I’m part of another forum and if I read about noise at 100% from those who have never printed an image I will probably be pretty angry, defensive and bitter myself ;-). But I don’t read them, I just move on if I can’t be bothered to put things informatively and politely. Better to be blunt that nothing at all? I agree to an extent, nothing wrong with being blunt and honest, as long as it’s polite… “IMHO”….
  22. Thanks for the response, Vail.....let me see if I can explain without upsetting anyone...
    PhotoNet is a wonderful place from a number of perspectives. Many come with a true desire to learn about the artform we all love so much.....and it is very good that they should. respect of the site itself, and the people here who have put the time and effort into becoming proficient in their work, there should be respect shown by the poser of questions as well as those who reply.
    An increasing number of questions are so m*****c that it's pretty plain the OP has put no thought whatever into searching for an answer of some sort before coming here. And that's disrespectful to us and to the forum.
    How can a person take seriously, and respect, questions that border on imbecility?
    I have just become ....saturated.....I guess with the number of such posts that I see here. And, while I have really great respect for the patience and integrity of the many who try to help these op's, I have come to to see much of it as throwing Pearls before Swine.
    Yet, I don't like to just avoid some of the forums either.....There is much of interest to me in the wedding forum, and I hate to just turn it off. Wedding forums are not the place for many of the questions we get......Beginners forum would be more appropriate.
    I have become a wee bit cynical of how much help any of us can be to so many of the posters I refer to. It's like trying to teach your cat how to do algebra!
    So....that's my rant for today. Respects to everyone...Robert
  23. Richard, if you mean the occasional "childish, spiteful and petty" remark, IMHO, that is not limited to this forum. This kind of remark is all over the forums--any online forum. Not everyone is grown up enough to move on rather than respond 'with ego'. That's life. I don't think this forum has any more of this kind of remark than others.
    The issue of established wedding photographers responding in anger and bitterness toward new wedding photographers is a whole different ball of wax.
  24. If I may step in and clarify a few things from "'s" point of view.
    An increasing number of questions are so m*****c that it's pretty plain the OP has put no thought whatever into searching for an answer of some sort before coming here. And that's disrespectful to us and to the forum.
    How can a person take seriously, and respect, questions that border on imbecility?​
    The solution here is to simply not respond to those questions if you do not think them worthy of response. If someone wants to take the time to answer them, then more power to them. If nobody wants to help, perhaps they will rethink their approach. There is no "this question has already been answered so your post has been deleted" rule on I know that many regular members of forums get tired of seeing basic questions come up over and over, but that is simply the way of internet forums. And really, if we deleted everything that had already been discussed once before, what would there be to talk about?
    Wedding forums are not the place for many of the questions we get......Beginners forum would be more appropriate.​
    The wedding forum is for questions about wedding photography. Any wedding photography, basic or complex, is welcome here and should be considered on-topic. The beginners forum should be viewed as an optional location for those who do not wish to subject themselves to some of the more "blunt" talk that tends to come out of the other forums. From the Beginner Questions forum's description:
    About This Forum

    This forum is intended to be used by beginners who have basic photographic questions. For the most part, these should be about photographic technique or theory. "What should I buy" type questions stand a good chance of being sent to a forum dealing with that specific sort of equipment. Critique requests should be made in the Photo Critique forum.
    Rude or unhelpful posts will be deleted, and rude and unhelpful posters will be suspended from the forum. Threads that don't fit the "beginner" designation will be moved to a more appropriate forum. In short, this forum is much more tightly moderated than other forums.​
    It is not required that beginners ask beginner questions in the beginner forum. As long as they are on-topic, beginner questions can and should be asked in any forum. The beginner forum just exists as an option for those who would like to have their question handled in a slightly more...shall we say..."gentle" way.
  25. @Robert: "Yet, I don't like to just avoid some of the forums either.....There is much of interest to me in the wedding forum, and I hate to just turn it off." A good question in itself... How does one find the balance between being blut, polite, contructive, whilst trying to improve the value of the environment? I certainly don't know.
    @Nadine: So very true. Again, perhaps I'm just overly sensitive, as it's common place I guess. I'm not one to dwell on the negatives, I'm a very positive person in day-to-day, and I acknowledge that the positives well out weight the negatives here. Some things just seem unnecessary, and I thought well... you always want things to improve, so why can't we discuss it? It's been interesting to read your thoughts, so I hope it's been of some value to others, if anything just to contemplate the suggestion.
  26. there have been many of a time I wanted to be Direct but chose not to ,But once I was and flames and smoke flew , So I just ignore them now :
  27. "How does one find the balance between being blut, polite, contructive, whilst trying to improve the value of the environment? I certainly don't know."
    By merely exercising a little judgement and common sense.
    I have seen posts from some newcomers who clearly aren't prepared to do a little research and who expect direct, detailed tutoring via the forum. I'm inclined not to respond, but I can think of several cases where an OP has become disenchanted with the advice given because it doesn't align with their agenda - at this point I feel any educated adviser is well entitled to react bluntly. On such occasions there is nothing 'spiteful' about the reaction of the respondents, they're just fed up with being argued with, especially if an OP has little or no knowledge of the industry.
  28. Richard, post an example or 2.

    I can tell you this, wedding photography is perhaps the hardest form of photography and lots of people that post here may be beginners, have issues about gear,where to stand whatever the situation holds.Even the very advanced wedding photographers have questions and issue about lots of things such as contracts, camera gear to stuff like how to do an action in Photoshop. Anyway, something must have angered you and I, along with many others would love to know.

    After all we all can learn from your comments as well as other people that post.

    So try to be somewhat expressive so some of us, both pro's and non pro's can reply to your comments, which may be very good observations.
  29. I've been in the business since 1989 or so, if anything perhaps a year or 2 earlier but I count this as my learning curve. There are others on this site that have been shooting weddings much longer then me.

    Anyway, give us a good solid example or examples. Us long time shooters have nerves of steel so you surely won't bother our spirit and put us in a remote sadness forever, requiring therapy for the rest of our lives! Yes I'm kidding.

    I'm pretty much joking here, but the old timers have pretty much been in every type of weding situation, good and bad, rain and snow, so I for one would like to see an exact example of your issues or complaints. I look forward to hearing from you.
  30. Robert, while I am not a cat person, that shot definitely made me smile. =)
  31. Bob, since Richard is being polite about this, I'll say that what he wrote with this post struck little bit of a chord with me as
    well. Robert I believe has a fairly thick skin so I don't think he will mind me calling this one post out as an example of why
    I think a post like richard's is a good one for us all to participate in.
    '"Robert Cossar , Nov 05, 2011; 03:48 a.m. I shake my head. Posts like this make me wish i hadn't renewed in
    I read that and went, oh, OUCH! BURN! With a capital B!
    But after reading Robert's post here I see his view a bit too, and frankly felt it a little after the op in the same post that
    infuriated Robert seemed to challenge my suggestion and Nadine's that he very much needs a back up flash before he
    does a wedding. I wanted to snap back at the op, but realized what good would that do. Instead I just cooled my jets and
    came back later to the thread and figured I'd make one more comment back, just so any future readers searching past
    threads would see a logical response back with an explanation rather than just a snippy remark back.
    Saying to a comment something like, if you are asking this question you have no business doing this job, is not likely
    helpful unless it is tied to an explanation of that comment because as I've learned from Dale Carnegie and experience, it
    will majorly put the person on the defensive. Sometimes comments like that can result in the "well I'll show you" response
    and I don't think we want to encourage that type of behavior, especially in connection to anyone's wedding. But in the
    end, it may just be the nature of the Internet forum beast. If you don't have an actual person standing right in front of you,
    it is a lot easier to say things a bit more bluntly than we might ever say to their face. So I try to remember that on the
    other side of the screen is a real person reading our posts back, who probably isn't all too different from myself at one
    point or another. And to those on the forum who have given me constructive criticism, with kid gloves or none, I thank
    you from the bottom of my heart for taking that time. It has made me a much better photographer and business woman. I
    continue to regularly learn through this forum and I will continue to come back for more. You guys rock my socks!
  32. Thanks for your posts Vail....You rock OUR socks too!!
  33. This has been a good read. I am satisfied that the regular contributors are experience wedding shooters and we all learn from what they post, and those who are beginning their journey should heed all that is written.
    Any so-called "bitterness" seems to stem from the fact that those excited enthusiasts who feel all they need to shoot weddings is a camera, one flash and a wide-to-short tele zoom are not classed as professionals while they often feel they should be included in such a camp. We all need to earn our stripes and DSLR ownership does not give anyone a license to be a so-called wedding pro. I constantly run into this; many of my younger acquaintances are getting married or are planning on doing so, they feel quite content with asking a "freind" to do the honours although they know I have the experience (150 weddings +) but prefer to put the pressure on someone who barely knows how to operate their equipment let alone any flash intricacies.
    I find it hilarious that these fresh wedding images are soon uploaded to FaceBook for all to see....
    The world seems to think that camera ownership means you can do any kind of photography, you can always fix it with PP and make it look perfect. "If I had your gear, I could get the same photos you get." Or, "if I was there I could have got the same light and my pictures would be just as good." I have heard all the rhetoric by newbie photogs who feel they don't have to work or learn how to do this craft.
    I have made the corporate decision to gracefully decline to shoot weddings, I will never be appreciated the way I used to be back in he days of film. I am not missing much, typical modern wedding "pros" charge $200 for their efforts and give the B/G a CD of all the JPEG's; the time and cost involved for me is at least double that, so why bother?
  34. In 1997 long before I joined PN I formed a wedding business when I stepped in at the last minute to cover a wedding when the hired photographer copped out. Not having the benefit of PN I made some significant mistakes that could have been avoided had I had the benefit of this forum in growing that business. I survived those mistakes to become moderately successful doing weddings, events, newspaper work etc. It's been some time since doing a wedding but I take a strong interest in this forum. I try in my posts to explain myself and qualify my experience. What I do not like in PN are dismissive one liners like Vail cited above. We all had to learn somewhere and had I had this forum earlier I would have saved money and avoided some of my more blatant screw ups. What i see even somewhat in this thread is a disdain for the unwashed which is, in my opinion, counter to what PN is about.

    Having been one who was thrust into the wedding business by events and a more open field of competition then than now, I wish I had had someone to tell me what to put into my first wedding contract and to not do business on a handshake rather than tell me I don't belong in the business or some other terse rejoinder. I eventually made money and had a significant referral base when I stopped due to my advancing age and the hard work I made for myself.
    I learned in the aviation business after picking pieces of my colleagues in aircraft accidents that "there but for the grace of God go I. " Please have a little empathy for those of us who came and will come into the business as members of the unwashed.
  35. My experience is the Internet, like alcohol, often allows people to feel free to say things that they wouldn't say in other circumstances. While this can on occasion be constructive in person (though often not), it is rarely constructive over the anonymity of the web.
    Think about it - does the receiver of such unfettered essentially anonymous commentary go, "Oh, wait, maybe they're right - I am a stupid dolt," or do they go, "What a jerk - I'm not going to ignore them" (or worse, "I'm going to burn them back!")?
    In the mean time the world just became a little bit of a worse place.
    That's not to say there isn't place to call a "spade a spade", but it doesn't have to be done without a modicum of empathy to the recipient.
    I'm dubious of those who tout how they say it like it is and are proud of it. I'm not so sure the same would be true should it be face to face (nor necessarily should it be true). Some of it seems lazy (yes, it's work to properly candy coat), some of seems cowardly (hiding behind anonymity), and some of it seems just plain mean (there is a certain glee that sometimes comes through). It's the later that concerns me the most, as it seems to cater to the worst in us - after all sadly there is a sort of guilty pleasure in trashing your neighbor, but again it does not make the world a better place.
    In any case, it's not clear that I would have said the above without the semi-anonymity of the Internet, so I probably should not talk.
  36. I would not call this anonymous or even semi-anonymous when you post to a well indexed forum as is, with your real name. I was able to find Robert's physical address and phone number (home or business I don't know, and I won't push that far) with a few clicks of a mouse in public search engines.
    As a policy, I am always writing on the internet as I would speak to the person.
    Another thing to point out is that sometimes the person is not a native to the english language, as I am, and may misunderstand or write something that is midly offensive without knowing it. (my first language is French)
    To return to this thread subject, I think you need to start on the goals you are trying to achieve, and in what context you will be shooting. For example, you need to capture the kiss, to be in the proper place to catch it. It will probably be in a church. What kind of light is possible in that church? Can I find out before hand? Can I use flashes in that church?
    I think to capture a wedding you need to understand the beats of it, kiss, rings, dance, eyes of the father of the bride, in accordance with the B&G's wishes, and be at the right place at the right time with the right equipment to capture it.
    In other words, knowing the workflow (getting information from B&G as much as possible) and context (scouting the locations), and thinking of the things that can go wrong (backups for everything if you can, even a second car...), you will be able to choose the equipment you need. For most people getting married, what is in the shot is what counts, not which lens or camera you are using.
    my 2¢.
  37. Bruno, you might want to post your response about the thread in that post about gear or else that original poster might not read your well thought out response.
  38. when I started on PN several years ago the wedding forum was where professionals got together to give other professionals feedback and advise. At that time the forum was very active with lots of great pros - many of those people have left and moved onto forums where you pay an annual fee. I am one of those - I stop by occassionally and yes I am sharp - frank and to the point - I don't consider myself bitter. I do however, have major issues with individuals with ZERO experience saying they are going to shoot the most important day of a persons life and want to know what equipment they should use. I have a serious problem with photographers going along with this and giving them information.
    I have spoken with more than a dozen brides in the past 3 years asking me if I can help them FIX their wedding photos - and non of them I could help... you cannot teach someone who has never shot a wedding how to shoot a wedding in a forum like this and to think that you can give them some sage wisdom that will make them okay is unprofessional in my opinion.
    I believe we as professionals should encourage these people not to do the wedding. And if they are interested in wedding photography to intern and find a mentor - then second shoot then go for it. And yes I am very frank with these individuals because I care more about the brides and grooms out there than I do an inexperienced photographer. In the last year I have seen some real disater images out there - if you google "my wedding photos are terrible"
    one photographer actually had a contest to see who would submit the worst photos here is a link
    I laugh and cringe at this kind of thing and I do not want to encourage anyone to just go shoot a wedding because they have a bunch of equipment.
    So call it what you like - I love to encourage others and I love being in this profession and I love brides and grooms and they all deserve to have beautiful images of their wedding
  39. one photographer actually had a contest to see who would submit the worst photos here is a link
    I find it hard to believe that the bride actually saw an album before making her decision. How can the final product and the sample differ so much? My gut tells me that the album wasn't the work of the photog in question.
    The last picture where the groom's head casts an extremely dark shadow on the bride's face. I mean it could happen but I find it hard to believe that the shadow could be this dark and big.
  40. What Bruno said. Wherever you are posting on the internet, it is important to remember that there are real people on the receiving end and, wherever possible, I think there is benefit in tying what you say to your real-world identity and thereby keep it civil and honest.
  41. Actually, I like all of the advice given here on the weddings and social events forum. It always reminds me that I never, ever want to shoot a wedding for as long as I live and I can tell you all that this forum has provided with no end of excuses of getting out of this sort of thing. I mostly shoot street stuff and convincing people, especially family and friends, that I am not an inexpensive alternative to a professional is something of a problem for me; for family and friends, the fact that I have more cameras than fingers is proof that I must be a "real" photographer. In reading some of the posts here, I'd say that a good many wedding photographers have every right to be angry, defensive, and bitter.
  42. After all of these posts it's pretty clear what the issue is ... not so much a newbie being told the facts, but the manner in which it is done.
    I believe that a good deal of the issue stems from not just one factor, but many factors ...
    the economic downturn which has increased the glut of those who want to shoot weddings for badly needed money, coupled with an increased number of clients that are price shopping. That math is pretty simple and has been discussed to death.
    Added to that is the shift in consumer attitudes regarding photography, where an increasing amount of wedding work is destined for social sites and cell phone/iPad sharing as a primary outlet.
    Plus, this specific site is huge, has a number of good contributors, and it is free. It doesn't segment the inexperienced from the experienced like a paid site such as the DWF does ... so there are a lot of very repetitive newbie questions here, mostly because anyone that's new is going to ask the same basic questions over and over and over ... and we must remember that the newbie doesn't know they are being so repetitive, they are a newbie.
    This is how the wedding forum is set up ... either learn to live with it or opt out ... but doing a beat-down on every newbie that posts is a waste of time.
    On the other hand, I also agree that it is somewhat unprofessional to coddle and encourage some newbie posters that are clearly unqualified to shoot something as important as a wedding. Most of us are client centric in our approach to this work and wince at the prospect. However, clients ARE getting what they pay for, and often have a naive view of wedding photography ... thinking ANY photographer can match the tear sheet of a Vera Wang magazine ad, or the like, if she just shows it to her photographer ... and some less experienced shooters actually think they can match it.
    The industry has done a poor job of educating clients, and the frequently utilized wedding sites haven't helped in this regard very much.
  43. Good analysis Marc. There is another factor that I consider, and that is the specific newbie him or herself. While difficult to assess level of capability over the internet, I try to get some idea, since some newbies can shoot a wedding successfully without prior wedding specific experience, others can't, and it isn't always related to photographic knowledge.
    It also depends on the specific expectations of the wedding couple. Sometimes, they really don't expect much, and wedding photography isn't much of a priority.
    Stories such as the one in Francie's link are horrible of course, and factors such as the one in the 'Gear Setup' thread (photographer does not know the couple and is getting paid) are of concern. However, we cannot save every newbie from him or herself. We cannot save every couple from impending (we think) doom. We are not there and cannot know the total situation.
    This is why I sometimes just answer the question, hoping it may actually help.
  44. I think it would be very helpful if at the top of the forum - there were catagogies - "Before you Shoot your first wedding" What is considered "essential equipment for a wedding" "how to learn to shoot a wedding" etc. This way many of the questions which repeat themselves over and over again could be answered.
    Marc I think you message was really good and to the point. I believe also that it is time to ask forum members what they want from this forum. I see a dozen or so people on here and that's it - there use to be many more.... which was very enlighting to get information from other wedding photogs. great thread - I think greatly needed.
  45. Francie, it is at the top under "Learning". You just click and there are numerous articles of information there. Plus they could search "first wedding" and the other 10,000 will come up. Regardless, newbies are going to join the forum, get on, and ask questions that have been asked many times. I'm not going to get into the emotions of their questions or all the parameters involved in their plight. I read the question, offer an answer if I choose that closely covers their concern and move on. As far as coddling and promoting unqualified shooters and on and on, that's a lot of nonsense that I for one am not going to concern myself with. They want to shoot a wedding and they have a question and if I choose I will answer. As for the paid sites that so many photogs ran to, oh well that's their choice isn't it, I pay membership here. I think Josh's answer above is exactly what it is. I'm just being frank, if people call this "angry, defensive, bitter" than so be it, it's not intended that way.
  46. Can't disagree with you much Dave.
    However, there may be differing perspectives from those who are full time wedding photographers and those that are not. From your bio, I see that you are not, and aren't concerned with payment or making a living shooting weddings all that much ... unless that has changed for you.
    I admire the relentless perseverance of some long time contributors, (that make their living at this), here on the wedding forum ... including our intrepid moderator Nadine. But it is true that those numbers are dwindling as pointed out in a few posts on this thread.
    I've stuck around here to help when and where I can, and simply chalk up the noticeable shift to more and more inexperienced inquiries to the shift in the industry itself (which I commented on above). But, I'd be the first to admit that I come here less and less compared to the past. It requires a great deal of work to answer questions here ... and without the array of highly experienced wedding photographers, there is less to be gained back in reward for those efforts.
    At the same time, I do not think just dismissing a point-of-view as being "nonsense," takes into account that some folks ARE concerned about the state of their industry, and what effect it may have on the chosen profession that puts food on the table for their families. If the state of our industry can't be discussed, then it further truncates value for others.
    I also don't think characterizing those who moved to more beneficial wedding sites for the more experienced shooter as "running" to them is very productive. "Let 'em", doesn't recognize the loss of a valuable asset for everyone here.
    This site lives on it's ability to answer less experienced questions specific to weddings with experienced answers, and Nadine can't answer all of them forever.
    I don't know the answer, and is clear on their policy, so it is what it is.
    The thing that has to be asked is it destined to end up being the Blind leading the Blind ... or marginally more experienced folks being the only resource? In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
  47. I have to conjur up my thoughts on this Marc, I'll give you some debate later, but I do see your position.
  48. Marc, I'm just going to follow up on the second point, the "nonsense"remark:
    I kind of think you're reading too much into my response. I'm not really "dismissing" your specific POV as nonsense. I'm saying that, in principal, for me to have to consider whether I give an answer or not on using a particular technique, or other logistical consideration because it might be construed as coddling or "unprofessional" (I'll get to that) on an open forum is what I consider nonsense. As to the unprofessional, while I get your drift on that, what designates the response as "unprofessional"? If because I/we choose to have helpful dialogue with an unexperienced shooter, now that's to be considered unprofessional on it's own occurance, I can't fully buy that.
    Yes, I completely agree that we need to use discretion and avoid encouraging clear cut potential impending wedding doom, but what I may consider workable, you or someone else might think doom. So again it's a personal choice to respond to newbie or not.
    Let's Consider:
    Ex. A: The poster comes on and says they need to shoot their sister's wedding because of budgetary concerns, that's OK to give advise and would be professional. (I might consider a helpful response here, it's a non-professional issue)
    Ex. B: If they come on and say they've been asked to shoot a wedding by a coworker for money but they are clueless, but want to shoot the job for the money, experience and portfolio blah-blah. That could be construed as unprofessional to encourage this and to in effect create incompetent competition for all full-time shooters trying to feed their family. (I might consider a response discouraging this altogether, but what if I offer help, have I crossed the unprofessional line and who's to say?)

    Ex. C: If they have some experience and have shot a few weddings but now they have a beach wedding but feel uncertain. (I have shot many beach weddings and can offer sound advise, and probably will. Now have I encouraged a possible beach doom, was I unprofessional to offer advise, or should I have discouraged them?)
    I think you see better my remark, it wasn't directed at negating your opinion, it was intended at expressing how I feel about being judged upon deciding to respond or not to a question.
  49. Thanks for the clarifications Dave. Also to clarify, I didn't first introduce the notion that it can be somewhat "unprofessional" to offer "sage" wisdom and make it okay for a complete novice to shoot a wedding ... Francie did. I was merely agreeing to some degree, and expanding on her original idea. In fact, I took your "nonsense" statement as referring to her post.
    I think the question as to whether it is a good idea to encourage those obviously not ready for prime time isn't a judgement of individuals here, including you or I ... it is a question with broader ramifications regarding the industry at large and the role of web sites such as this play in that industry.
    While it has become culturally acceptable to do almost anything ... learn anything, buy anything, express anything ... on the internet, the question here is ... can an internet forum actually teach wedding photography to someone that knows little to nothing about photography, let alone wedding photography. Or even IF they do have some photographic skills (as many newbies do), can they become a wedding photographer by asking questions here? The impression that many seem get is that it can ... which is where I, and I guess others, fall off the choo-choo.
    I have spent years teaching assistants first hand, taking them to second shooter status, and still am surprised how they struggle with their first solo weddings, and the time I have to spend fixing mistakes in post. This has little to do with talent and everything to do with handling a hectic scenario that few other fields of photography inflict on the photographer.
    As far as I can tell the OP Richard Harris isn't a wedding photographer, and while his comments about interactive politeness are always a good point to remember, he doesn't have a frame of reference that others here do regarding their chosen profession ... and just how difficult it is to do this work on a sustained basis ... let alone do it well on a consistent basis.
    As to Richard Harris' question "Is this a Professionals Only forum ... " obviously it is not. Anyone can come here whether they ever shot a wedding in their life. Or they shoot one once in a while without all the ramifications of running a business and all that entails. There are no qualifications required to ask questions here, or to answer questions ... no website review to assure you actually are a wedding photographer. Nothing. That is the way Photo.Net has set up this forum on a world-wide basis ... which to be perfectly clear, I am not questioning.
    To my mind, the question is how to sustain a reasonable body of accomplished professionals that actually CAN answer the questions AND offer something to other accomplished wedding photographers. I come to this forum both to answer questions, and to also learn from my peers. Without the latter, it gets old really fast. To offer just one example of a peer that I also learned from that's been missing as of late is Neil Ambrose. I could provide a laundry list of names, but one is enough to make the point.
    I'm a long timer here ... my observation is that the ratio of repetitive and perhaps even remedial questions is less mitigated than in past by posts that the more accomplished wedding photographer can be inspired by or learn from. Lots of start-up gear questions, and less and less on the art of wedding photography.
    So the question back at members here, and by extension to P.Net ... why should a photographer such as myself to name one, continue to come here?
  50. Yes Marc, you've discussed all very valid considerations, several which I can relate to pretty well. Expressing your perspective of how you appreciate photogs like Neil is compelling, yet how to encourage people to stay is not so easy. Well if nothing else, we've done a lot of clarifying, lol.
  51. Marc--of course I've wondered the same thing--how to sustain a reasonable body of accomplished porfessionals. I've tried to introduce topics myself to try to spark interest in posting--not only answering newbie questions, but it seems there is only so much that can be done about the ebb and flow of photographers 'passing through', or any forum, actually.
    An important part of the reason a photographer becomes invovled in a forum is obviously--what he or she gets out of doing so. For some, it is the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping someone (that is a big one for me). Plus all kinds of bits of information--both technical and otherwise--that one can pick up. Staying abreast of trends is another. Then, there is what you said long ago--one can learn a lot by answering newbie questions--just by having to review your instructions. One could stumble across a new way of thinking about things just in the act of having to write instructions for someone.
    Of course, stimulating discussion among professionals is always great, but we've all noticed the drop off in that area. I don't know the answer(s). It could be that people get burned out. It could be that people get busy just trying to survive and don't have time. It could be that they go to other forums seeking new people to bounce off. I do know that when I've tried to get anything going, I don't get a lot of response. I don't know if it is because established photographers don't want to give away their knowledge anymore.
    I also notice we have less newbie questions. I think newbies are not asking questions from established photographers much anymore. They help themselves. Which is why you see multiple photographers shooting weddings, and newbies hiring second and third photographers right after shooting their first wedding. They talk to each other on social media networks.
    As for those paid forums, I belong to one. The one big advantage is that the forum is private, so one can discuss client problems without worry. I belong to pick up technical information and know about trends. However, it has (like every forum) it's own set of cliques and is not immune from infighting and ego clashes. Newbies and outsiders are sometimes not treated well there either, and closed minds still exist there.
    I also know that if one wants something to change, one has to become the change. I realize it is difficult and demoralizing when one puts out effort, and gets little response. However I don't see another way. So if you are a long timer and are reading this--please--let's discuss stimulating topics--post some.
  52. Hey Nadine - I think you do a great job being inclusive and inviting as well a moderating. I did notice one thing that i thought was strange. I use to be gone for week, two maybe a month come back and find a long list of topics to brouse through - now they don't even fill the page... so it appears that there is a lack of activitiy on the forum - I'm guessing this is changed for the entire but now I can come in look and 10 minutes later be onto another forum. I think if there were more posting on the main page as before that would help.
    Also I think info at the top of the forum to help with newbies would be very beneficial. I also agree there are many places you can get info... so it's has to be compeling to come here.
    I love photo of the week - and I would suggest it be with a topic - Like, rings, cakes, groups, first dance, reception, cermony etc. and instead of picking just one photo maybe pick 3 to make comments on. it might just change it up enough to get some more action on that...
    In addition a topic of the week would be nice -
    just some thoughts... francie
  53. Francie, the "more posts on front page" issue should be fixed.
  54. thanks Josh!
  55. Thanks, Francie. And thanks for your suggestions.
    If any others have opinions, I'd like to ask what you all think of having a 'newbie' sticky--either helpful text or pointing to the archives.
    As for the photo of the week--I have tried to do multiple images in the past and people just get confused and don't post. Although--I certainly would be willing to try it again. Any comments from others?
    I had the same idea re wedding themes, and did the 'first dance' thread recently. I thought the results were 'medium'--again--any comments?
    Topic of the week has possibilities, although I think a week is too short a time. Plus there would have to be effort on all of our parts, suggesting topics, which can be done just in the course of being active on the I was saying above.
    I find that people just sit back and take in information--and don't post. To repeat--if you want to have stimulating discussions, start some, participate in some...(not pointing the finger at you, Francie--I appreciate your suggestions).
  56. If any others have opinions, I'd like to ask what you all think of having a 'newbie' sticky--either helpful text or pointing to the archives.​
    There's nothing wrong with this idea per se but if everything can be referred to posts in the archieve, what would this forum become?
    If you go to the gear forums, it is the same full frame or cropper, what lens to choose, Nikon vs Canon questions repeating themselves day after day. And yet those are precisely what kept those forums alive.
    I guess for a forum to thrive, it is not just the knowledge contained there that's important but the interaction between all the users in a purposeful way.
  57. "There's nothing wrong with this idea per se but if everything can be referred to posts in the archive, what would this forum become?"
    Easier for a newbie to use?
    "If you go to the gear forums, it is the same full frame or cropper, what lens to choose, Nikon vs Canon questions repeating themselves day after day. And yet those are precisely what kept those forums alive."
    As you say, those are "GEAR" forums where one would expect such questions to be asked frequently.
    I don't think the idea is to shun the less experienced. This is an open forum where all are supposed to be welcome. What needs exploration is how to attract and keep the more experienced so the less experienced have a resource AND the experienced wedding photographers can exchange ideas with one another.
    After thinking about the challenge put forth by Josh and Nadine, one thought I had was that the less experienced actually don't know what questions to ask ... and the more experience may not ask questions here because it has become more newbie oriented ... so who is going to answer my questions?
    For example, when I have a Lighting question, I go to the Lighting Forum where the experts are ... sometimes including Nadine. There I get a number of options to consider, not just the same ones over and over.
    Consider this:
    Compared to the more segmented forums which deal with specific photographic subjects, the wedding forum encompasses virtually every one of them and then some ... Lighting, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Medium Format, portraits&fashion, documentary, business of photography, etc
    However, as wedding photographers we also have some very specific challenges that are somewhat unique. Very few photographers are tasked with "no second chances" assignments except maybe photojournalists. Very few have to edit and post process 500, 1,000 even 2,000 images X how ever many weddings one has. On average we push through 15,000 images a year in a 6 month window of time. That there aren't more questions pertaining to these subjects is perplexing.
    Rather than just outlining concerns, we all should forward some ideas and notions to make the forum even more attractive and fun.
    For example, perhaps once a week a more experience shooter could post a finished shot that presented a challenge that they met ... then challenge the forum to figure out how they did it. Personally I love those sorts of puzzles ... and while it may be the more experienced that answer, the beginner WILL learn something valuable.
    The forum doesn't HAVE to be just member initiated questions does it?
    I don't see why Nadine can't privately ask a few more experienced shooters to provide topics for How to questions, or just ask them herself.
    How do you handle 1,000 images ... what is your post technique?
    If you don't have enough background for a 8X10 print order, how do you add it? ... show examples.
    What do you do when the MOB takes over the photo shoot? How would you handle it?
    How do YOU make money right after the wedding?
    What is your long term follow up (if any) with wedding clients. How do you sell baby/family/business photography after the fact?
    Even gear questions could be more interesting ... How do you think the new crop of mirrorless cameras will fit into wedding photography? This technology is destined to become ubiquitous. Anyone using such a camera now to shoot weddings? (Personally, I'd love to hear answers to this question.)
    These are just a few very common things we all face to some degree or another. There are many more ... some of which the newbie doesn't even know about until it happens to them... and then it's to late ... so they won't ask such questions until after the fact, if at all.
    Your thoughts?
  58. Marc, GREAT post! This is why I at least try to make posts that do help me, but also are good conversation pieces. I REALLY love when people post images as examples too, because after all, we ARE photographers.
    I like Francie's idea as well of picking a theme for POW, and perhaps picking a few images to allow for critique. One week engagement shoots, next week shoes, next week rings, beauty shots, editorial style images, bridal portraits, family formals (this I actually think is VERY neglected, and would be very important for both newbs and those of us who have been doing it a while to get some new ideas, and general points for posing).
  59. I think I can count myself in as a seasoned, experienced photographer that visits the forum much less than I used to.....if anyone is interested it is directly related to the lack of appreciation shown by those posting the questions and the multitude of opinions expressed by hobbyists, wannabes, and those who apparently just like to spend time writing/rambling inexperienced thoughts for the world to see.....
  60. Thanks for the suggestions, Marc. I will take everything into consideration and ask for even more suggestions from anyone.
    I will say, though, that in the past, questions generated by me have not been so popular. I don't know why--maybe it is because I'm the big, bad moderator. I think, though, that an offshoot of your suggestions may have promise. I notice that situational questions (about weddings) always get responses. I may take that idea--the MOB taking over, for instance--and go with a periodic situational question. Then maybe branch out, if successful, into other areas--digital processing, shooting technique, etc.
    I'd love to host a Challenge of the Week (or month, etc.), and not to be negative, but again--it hasn't been too active when I've initiated something. I will keep trying if you all think it has merit though. In the past--the Master Lessons come to mind--I've literally run out of experts that have the time to post anything.
    Please keep suggestions coming... And any comments about any aspect.
    By the way, David, I am interested in your opinion. I notice it hasn't really changed all these years, though, and I want to point out that's wedding forum was never intended to be, and probably never will be, a pro photographer only forum. We are always going to get (and welcome) questions from...anyone interested in photography.
    As for showing appreciation for information given, I'm afraid the lack thereof is a product of the current times--information is easy to get, and free, on the internet. Not making excuses, but it is a fact. Perhaps if some of the suggestions work out, you may find something of interest to you, but you certainly don't have to give away any free advice. We cannot force the forum to be what we want, but we can take from it what we want, and as always--leave the rest.
  61. Good thoughts Nadine.
    I've also noted that when you post some sort of challenge it sometimes goes unanswered ... so the folks on this forum have to realize that this is THEIR forum and without their input and participation, it just becomes a blog for a few individuals.
    Perhaps it needs to be more of a specific call ... encouragement to post a specific issue you need answers for. A perfect example of this is Melissa Papaj's entry for "photo of the week" where she wondered how in the world she could get the smudges off the glass.
    Also, here is a thought to run past the administrators ... is there a way to somehow make a larger example available for the photoshop challenges? Only for that, not every image post. Perhaps the call for examples stays 700 pixels wide, but once selected it is posted at least 1200 pixels wide, or made available some other way. Fixing tiny jpgs is pretty off-putting, and I for one have tried my best, but am getting less and less inclined to participate even though I am pretty good at photoshop. Just a thought.
    @ David ... we miss you buddy. Gruff and tuff aside, you have expertise that is fast becoming a lost art. Even though my style is pretty different from yours, I had to face the fact that many clients still wanted traditional group shots and family photos in my geographical area ... so who do others with the same problem learn from? IMO, ignore the internet ingrates ... there are still those that need any assistance they can get, even though they may not freely admit it.
    We also need guys like Neil Ambrose back here ... preferable him, but others like him would work. Neil took some heat when he posted here and maybe that put him off, who knows? But just like how members should ignore the inane questions rather than be nasty, we all should stay more open to alternative approaches that may be 180º opposite of our own.
  62. Also, here is a thought to run past the administrators ... is there a way
    to somehow make a larger example available for the photoshop challenges? Only
    for that, not every image post. Perhaps the call for examples stays 700 pixels
    wide, but once selected it is posted at least 1200 pixels wide, or made
    available some other way. Fixing tiny jpgs is pretty off-putting, and I for one
    have tried my best, but am getting less and less inclined to participate even
    though I am pretty good at photoshop. Just a thought.​
    Do keep in mind that the 700 pix limit is just for "in-line" display. You are welcome to upload larger files(as long as they are under 100K in filesize), they will just display as a link and not in the thread. If you need to upload an even larger image, the better solution may be to upload it somewhere into the PN gallery system. Or contact me and I will stick it somewhere on the server so people can access it.
  63. In the past, I've just offered to e-mail larger files to people, when the image was mine. I could still do that with other people's files, too.
    I believe Neil is on to bigger things, last I heard. Let's wish him all the success he deserves.
    Still waiting for more suggestions, folks.
  64. Dropbox is a good way of easily sharing larger files via a public link.
  65. There are those shots that are just staples of what we do. Perhaps we could share more examples of how we shoot those and perhaps challenge ourselves to do it in more dynamic ways. Like I'm editing images from a current wedding and I'm looking at the readings from the ceremony, it's the same just person at a podium I pretty much always get. For the cake cutting, is there an optimum angle to shoot this at? From the front, from the side, etc. Bouquet toss, same thing, I tend to take the shot from the front, but the other day I saw on here a photo that showed it from the side and I was like WHOA, I dunno why I never thought of that! I'm not saying there is a single right answer, but it'd be neat to see different examples of how people do the bread and butter shots and see if anything cool and new comes up.
  66. *Vail.....something you might try for the bouquet toss....needs the bride and an to tape a small video camera to the bouquet.....then, if it works well in the toss, include the clip in their slide show... regards, Robert
  67. hahahaha. Robert, I'm gonna assume that was actually a very funny joke, and made in light of the videography thread. ;)
  68. Woah....And some people call ME cynical!
    No Vail, I was completely serious.....try it, practice may find something you like about it.
  69. Something that will be new shortly are wedding clients wanting still pics and video. It's right around the corner.

    I know, the cameras are already here. So Richard even the top pros here will have to be sympathetic, because on the new style of weddings. It will be a big learning curve.

    I've been on the Canon forum asking a question about the new 1Ds Mk 3, just when it came out. I got blasted by several people. Same with the medium format section trying to help someone fix their hasselblad, instead of sending it in for several hundred bucks. Well I got yelled at there too. People saying I didn't know what I was doing. Well the guy sent me the camera and I fixed it for free and the guy posted that I fixed it. No one responded.

    Not every site is perfect or a fairt tale. But these sites are alot of fun and places to learn and sometimes have a laugh

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