Is this the death of Wedding Photography?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by rick_dorn, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. I thought carefully about whether or not I should post this question, as I am not currently a wedding photographer, although some years ago I did quite a few weddings for friends and family, which all turned out well. I did charge for some of them, so I am making the perhaps audacious assumption that I can claim to be a one-time professional wedding shooter.
    My primary question is about what I perceive as a complete breakdown of client-photographer relationships in the wedding photo business. What has happened over the past ten years? So many of the posts here are about seemingly disastrous wedding engagements that leave everyone involved angry about the outcome, and that leaves the photographer and the bride/groom pitted in a life-and-death battle over prints, albums, digital files, dvd's, copyrights and on and on.
    When I performed some of these services in the last century (not all that long ago really...) it was by and large a very pleasant, even joyous experience, working with these young people and their families, helping to immortalize one of the most important days of their lives. Now, it sounds as though it has been reduced to a form of combat, from the "Bridezilla" syndrome to the interminable contract fulfillment arguments I read about here every day. Some enterprising software developer may soon introduce a violent new computer game called "Wedding Photographer."

    What is happening here? Is there any chance that we can ever return to civility and reason and good client relationships??
     
  2. Gee, nothing like over-reacting!
    Did you ever think that the reason that the bad situations are mentioned here is because they are rare and the photographer needs help?
    Contract problems have existed since contracts were invented.
     
  3. There's no going back...
    Seriously, I don't post about how successful a wedding went, or how well the client relationship is holding up... no one is interested in that part.
    "Hi all, I am posting to ask what I should do about my great relationship with my clients. I mean, its beyond a joke how well we got along and how everything I did seemed perfect to them. Not to mention that they are a great looking couple who want me to use their images any way I see fit, etc., etc.?"
    See what I mean?
     
  4. It's called "sampling bias." People post to ask advice (and vent) about problem clients; they almost never post about all the relatively problem-free clients and weddings. What has happened over the past ten years is that photographers have acquired a worldwide, public forum to complain about their problems; there has not been "a complete breakdown of client-photographer relationships in the wedding photo business."
     
  5. John:
    Fair enough. Perhaps I am over-reacting. But I simply have not experienced any of this stuff in 30 years of contract work.
    My apologies if I have offended you or anyone else. However, I still stand by my position on the troubled state of wedding photography. I have seen ample evidence beyond the web to give me cause for concern.
     
  6. Rick, I'm not offended. I've avoided wedding photography, but used to do quite a bit of portraits. What I found is that the better my contracts, and the better I made sure my clients understood what they contained, the less problems/misunderstandings occurred. I would guess that a lot of the problems we hear about are due to ill-prepared contract discussions by inexperienced photographers. If you talk to the most experienced wedding photographers here, I would guess that they have had similar experiences.
     
  7. Also, "last century" the internet was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is now. It has made this (excellent) site as well as many others readily available fora in which to express one's views, seek opinions or simply share experiences.
    <p>I do suspect, however, that clients are becoming more savvy and thus placing more demands on photographers. They are also perhaps becoming more picky, with the advent of digital capture.
     
  8. Rick,
    People will always get married and will always want their memories captured. However, the way it'll happen is a different story. About 10yrs ago, during good old film days, photography wasn't taken as lightly as it is today. Now for under $3000 one could get a dslr, a relatively decent lens, a flash and call him/her self a wedding photographer, google few photoshop tricks and UNDER charge what real photographers do charge. These are the people, in my opinion, who give wedding photographers a very bad reputation.
    Clients are also getting, I don't want to say smarter, but in a sense lazy. With film, they kind of understood that it has to be developed in the lab and that takes time, with digital, b/c the way some photographers present their skill, clients see these photos less of an artwork and thus expect thousands of pictures for a wedding.
    Terminology has also changed. With digital you have folks calling them selves pure photojournalists who don't use lights, only natural, yada yada yada. Last I checked, when you set your flash on the camera and have your assistant either light up foreground or background or don't even use an assistant, it is called candids. But photojournalism sounds exotic thus clients byte into it.
    There's no question that business has changed in the last 10yrs. And those folks who can't adapt (unfortunately) are hurting. But wedding photography will not die out as long as there are weddings.
    Adam
     
  9. If there is any genuine concern, it is the form of western style wedding ceremonies that are so costly on both people's wallets and planet resources, there is nothing romantic about it beyond the skin deep surface. Photographers shoot for the money, the brides spent for a moment of flame, and the grooms wanted to get it done asap. Who really gives a xxxx about genuine relationship in this age of materialism?
     
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I do suspect, however, that clients are becoming more savvy and thus placing more demands on photographers. They are also perhaps becoming more picky, with the advent of digital capture."
    And also, some are being dumbed down, doing less work, merely scanning web-pages of who knows whose images, citing the “investment page” without any face to face to sort out their Wedding Photographer . . .
    but rather being drawn in by the many and various "What you must have for your wedding and don't forget to ask the Photog how many “megapixels” if he provides a “Full res” and has enough “back-up” . . .
    rather than sorting the wheat from the chaff face to face over a few weekends . . .

    WW
     
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Crikey! Alan, I though I could be cynical.
    That's a full on point of view you proffer.

    WW
     
  12. In addition to the comments of Mike Dixon and David Wegart, etc., you also have to consider the flood of new wedding photographers who get a digital camera and kit lens and are now "wedding photographers". The barriers to entry have been drastically lowered and Uncle Bob may or may not be up to the task of teh "business" of wedding photography. IMHO.
     
  13. I'm not even going to try to out cynical Alan...
    In the pre-digital days - it required a significant investment in time, money and expertise to be a wedding or any kind of a photographer. For weddings - you needed a Medium Format Camera (between 2 and 5 thousand dollars US); a couple of lens - $1,000 each; a couple of film backs $200 each or so...and the knowledge / training how to use them. You needed to know which film to use and when to use it. You needed to know which lab to go to get the best results... None of that knowledge came easy or cheap.
    Today - you can buy a $400.00 DSLR w/ Lens; Flash - $200.00 and 10 memory cards $200 or less - and viola - you're a wedding photographer.
    My take on it is that there are a lot of photographers - wedding, sports, etc... that got or bought a digital camera and said - Crikey! This photography thing is easy... What they failed to realize is that the business end of it is the hard part...
    Where there bad weddings and bad contracts back in the day? Absolutely - but there also wasn't the interweb to share all the horror stories. Back then - the bride / groom either said the heck with it or took the photographer to court to get a refund. I don't think they spent a lot of time negotiating settlements and albums etc...
    Dave
     
  14. "What has happened over the past ten years?"
    You and everyone else found the internet. Before 10 years ago you would have had to personally know the couple or photographer, or someone close to them, or you would have never heard about it. I worked in a full service lab 20 years ago, and I heard a lot of the same customer relations problems I see posted on the web. The popular canard is that digital technology lowered the quality bar, but trust me, there were plenty of film wedding photogs that inspired groans from everyone in the lab when we saw them approaching, because processing and printing their film was always a pain-in-the-butt salvage job.
    Beyond that I also agree that people don't post "Hey, another wedding went great!" They ask advice when they encounter problems.
     
  15. Today - you can buy a $400.00 DSLR w/ Lens; Flash - $200.00 and 10 memory cards $200 or less - and viola - you're a wedding photographer.​
    You don't need an oversized violin. Unless you're playing in the band as well!
     
  16. Times have changed. Mom & Pop shops on Main Street have closed and been replaced by malls and Walmart, many malls have since closed and Walmart's trying to stay competitive with online shops. In my area, I've watched three professional camera supply shops that catered to the pros close in the last 10 years. I've also watched several brick & mortar portrait & wedding photography studios close. Interestingly enough, membership in WPPI keeps growing while photography appears to be becoming less & less a full time gig.
    What's been really sad IMO is the lack of esteem that the profession appears to be held in by many of it's own. Read some of the threads and the opinions expressed toward large successful studios, check how much newcomers value mentorship/apprenticeship with established pros, scan craiglist to see how much the community at large values film and video work. BTW, no,..... shooting some weddings for family/friends and charging them something does not make you a professional wedding photographer.......but then, standards have changed, and times have changed.
     
  17. I agree what many said above regarding the fact that people use forums to help with conflict situations and they don't often post good stories since no one will respond.
    But for me, I found that the more I give to my client, the happier both of us are. I know some photographers who don't release the images for printing use so the bride has to pay per print. This makes the bride unhappy. I know many photographers don't like when a bride posts their image on facebook or myspace. I encourage that for brides. Why? Because only good can come out of it. I'm often friends with my brides on facebook and when they post a picture of mine, everyone asks "wow who took that! Which photographer did you use"... Since I recently got married, I feel like I have a better understanding of what brides want.
    Basically, I listen to Tony Robbins a lot and Wayne Dyer who are motivational speakers. They say that if my purpose is to serve my client, instead of thinking what can I get out of this, then the client will be happy. I just think it's a good lesson on how to avoid any type of conflicts.
     
  18. As Mark Twain might have observed in reference to the "death" of professional wedding photography......."news of my death has been greatly exaggerated". However, the evolution and change continues. "And so it goes......"
     
  19. I am at a loss for words. Perhaps because this posting is such a non-issue.
     
  20. Come now, Art. You've managed to muster an impressive 16 words ;-)
     
  21. Does "non-issue" constitute two words or just one word? ;-)
     
  22. One and a half.
     
  23. That Wedding Photographer computer game sounds like a great idea!
    Is that a first-person shooter, or more of a strategy game?
     
  24. Like with any calling, there are bums and stars. Then there's everyone in-between.
    It's the bums and stars that get all the press.
    Nothing's changed, except the delivery system.
    : -)
     
  25. 1. The economy. 2. E-mails/new form of less personal communication 3. People are less polite to each other.
     
  26. All I can say is, in the past while watching these boards-- poor Uncle Bob-- he's getting an almost worse beating than Tiger Woods... Ten years ago, Uncle Bob was a nice guy....
     
  27. My primary question is about what I perceive as a complete breakdown of client-photographer relationships in the wedding photo business. What has happened over the past ten years?
    Live in a larger city and watch the so-called professional photogapher's "For Rent Signs and Forclosure signs" where the photograoher was. They knew it all when they bought an entry level DSLR Kit and were going to strike it rich?
    Did they even consider location, equipment, a course in business management let alone a course in photography.
    Was it mabe a friend that suggested he/she go into business because the friend liked their work? "So what if it doesn't turn out, I've got Elements 5 and I can fix it, I just got it." When asked if they had taken any courses on editing "Only an ????? would throw money awy an a course like that--its easy"
    The old saying "Garbage input equalls garbage output" and I firmly believe that.
    The Photographer that knows the limitation of their self and their equipment KNOWS how to shoot a wedding if that is what they are into. They very likely have business training and people management skills and don't take a hissy attack over a client that according to others in the fied say "DEMANDS" more. It won't happen with the actual PROFESSIONAL simply because these items are expained prior to signing a contact that quite often is drawn up by their lawyer. You will sedom see a DSLR Kit being used unless it is a pro series such as a Nikon D700
    The photographer in the italic text will always be busy The other one won't be as lucky--it is all about respecting LIMITATIONS.
    Just my Personal Thoughts,
    Gary
     
  28. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Which bit is the "half"? Is it "issue", because it is second? Is it "non" because it is the adjectival portion of the Compound Noun? or is it "non" simply because it is the smaller of the two . . .?

    We have to keep within the rules, or set precedent, John . . .
    Merry Christmas. (and to Art too - bah! Humbug).

    "People are less polite to each other." - True, levity helps mostly always.

    WW
     
  29. No, it is not dead. I am a fairly new photographer, did few weddings here, several engagements there, head shots, some family photography (to be honest I mostly love going to my local park and photograph anything from trees, to playground equipment, sand,,,what ever usually non-people photography...) and I did charge money for most of my sessions so far. So far I have not had any issues with the client photographer relationship. I try to keep it professional and move on. I am tired however of hearing "professional"photographers whining about the "so called professional photographers" with the $400 DSLR with $200 blah hlah and etc...and complain that they give a bad name to the field of photography. Get real. The only difference between a "professional" wedding photographer and say a "weekend photographer" is that the weekend photographer has another job during the week. How busy is your schedule from Mon to Thurs? Perhaps you are busy doing the marketing thing, or perhaps you are putting the albums together. But really what else is different. Wedding are traditionally done during the weekend with few cultural group exceptions.
    Some of the most experienced photographers here in Photo.net always say that the equipment is only a tool, and you are only as good as the ability to use those tools. I hear a lot people complaining about how things are different now in the digital age from the film age, where a photographer was "respected" for his craft. A lot those older (I mean experience not age) professionals are really upset that the 18 year old punks who graduate from high school, pick up a camera and become "wedding photographer" over night. I think the problem is that most of the "professional" photographers are really mad that they can't process 1000 photos with Photoshop as quickly as the 18 year old punks can, but that is not their fault, they grow up in the age of the Photoshop, downloaded an illegal copy of it when they were 12 years old and since they had nothing better to do then "play with the computer" for the next 6 years they are now the Scott Colby (I think that is how you spell his name) of the Photoshop. I you are a man (not bashing women here) how many times in the last decade did you show your wife how to program the VCR? How many? How many times did she come back and said " Honey you play with that "thing" I just don't get it! Do you get the Photoshop thing??? I hope so, because, and the brides are now just few years older then their newly found on the Craigslist photographer so their perspective on photography, graphics, and blah, blah, blah is very much the same.
    Anyhow, wedding photography is not dead, it has perhaps changed into a new form. People hate change, people fear change, people will do everything to combat change, only to find out that they should have listen to that little voice in their head 10-15 years ago and ask them selves: What the hell is that digital thing that everyone is talking about????? Maybe I should take few minutes and read on it.
    And it is also a fact that younger people learn a bit faster then older people (there is a reason why the saying :you can't teach an old dog new tricks) so forgive them for their ability to quickly browse through the instruction manuals, website, books, and magazines and actually remember all those thing they have read and apply them to photography. If professional photography was such a big deal 10-15 years ago you should have kept all the tricks to yourselves and not publish them everywhere for every one to see.
     
  30. Tom--I don't see anyone whining on this thread. The flood of new photographers ill prepared to take on the business of wedding photography is a fact. There have always been these photographers, it is just easier now to jump in. I hardly think accusing 'older' photographers of being slow is polite. There are plenty of 'older' photographers who have embraced new technology and marketing with no whining.
     
  31. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "The only difference between a "professional" wedding photographer and say a "weekend photographer" is that the weekend photographer has another job during the week."
    Nope, that's wrong. There are many differences – generalizations are very dangerous IMO.
    Pop survey - for the last two years I did only one Wedding each two weeks or so . . . and that was contracted to a Studio. I have a full time "Other Job". But I have about 1500 Weddings under my belt and previously managed and partly owned three Studios . . .
    There are many permutations of "Weekend Photographers" vs. "Full Time Professional Photographers” I am only one of those many DIFFERENT examples.

    And there are varying skill and experiences levels between both groups - it is not as simple as you paste it; nor is it as simple as the "us and them" / "Old and Young" argument you proffer.
    You might think that: “the problem is that most of the "professional" photographers are really mad that they can't process 1000 photos with Photoshop as quickly as the 18 year old punks can" . . .

    but IMO, that is very narrow thinking and only seeks to elicit equally simple and emotional responses such as: "well we grew upon with film and we now how to expose and control WB at the source, so we don't need Photoshop as a crutch". . . an then the discussion spirals downward into oblivion.
    If one wants to debate, then I encourage one to debate the real matters, and not post glancing and all encompassing generalizations that are emotionally based and have little evidence or grounding in the real business world.
    Merry Christmas,

    WW
     
  32. Oh, I guess the end is near... Also, count me in on Alan's cynical side.
     
  33. Well there is considerably more money involved these days. Even entry level wedding photographers charge upwards of 1500 for a 3 hour wedding. Add another 4 hours of post processing and that's basically 1500 bucks for 7 hours work (over 200/hr). That's much higher than what a decent software engineer can hope to make doing consulting work. Not saying that software engineering is a better skill to photography or anything, but just using that to put the hourly rate in perspective. So when a client pays that kind of money (1500 is just entry level, most established photographers probably charge two or three times that much) and then gets lower quality photos on DVD, or is told that all photos will be watermarked, then he/she gets upset. This would not had happened had he/she spent some time understanding the contract clearly and explicitly adding wording that says the photographer would give them high-res (minimum resolution specified) images, un-watermarked, by a certain date. This way both sides know what the client and photographer are entitled to.
     
  34. I think the problem is that most of the "professional" photographers are really mad that they can't process 1000 photos with Photoshop as quickly as the 18 year old punks can, but that is not their fault, they grow up in the age of the Photoshop, downloaded an illegal copy of it when they were 12 years old and since they had nothing better to do then "play with the computer" for the next 6 years they are now the Scott Colby (I think that is how you spell his name) of the Photoshop.

    Photoshop is just another tool. And a crappy photo will always be a crappy photo. You can't successfully make your living "putting lipstick on a pig". Being a photographer means knowing your lighting, knowing your subjects, what you call the "marketing thing" etc. It takes more than picking up a camera and pushing a button.

    People hate change, people fear change, people will do everything to combat change

    The photographers I know embrace change. You're making a very general assumption that is not backed up by facts (unless you have statistics on this issue with regards to wedding photographers). Yes, some people will resist change but others will be more than happy and excited to learn about new technologies.

    I you are a man (not bashing women here) how many times in the last decade did you show your wife how to program the VCR? How many? How many times did she come back and said " Honey you play with that "thing" I just don't get it!
    Amusing sentiment but what does it have to do with this discussion?
    You are most certainly not doing any new photographers any service as the tone of your posts is exactly the cocky "here I come, move over and stop whining" attitude so many "older" (although I would call them more experienced) photographers resent. Kicking a football around on the weekends doesn't make one a professional football player either. Same for the field of photography.
     
  35. Nish: you don't really think that 3 hours at the wedding and 4 hours in post production is all that is being paid for with that $1500, do you? Equipment. Insurance. Non-billable advertising, administrative, accounting, and off-season time all has to be represented in that hourly rate. Not to mention the taxes that are going to come out of it. And vehicle costs. And, and, and. At $1500 for a wedding, the photographer that's being honest about what their costs really are will recognize that they're actually making closer to minimum wage, and taking on a lot of risk to do so.
     
  36. ...that's basically 1500 bucks for 7 hours work ...​
    Nish, you haven't allowed for the time spent preparing the deliverables for the client. Or do you really think the job ends when you walk away at the end of the night?
    An average wedding for me requires somewhere in the region of 40 hours work without album, and 50 hours with album. I charge a great deal more than $1500 for a wedding, but I can tell you the fee is set to take account of everything included in the process. The few hours spent at the wedding are inconsequential. And don't forget overhead as well. It's a business, so everything has to be paid for.
     
  37. Hey Matt,
    Yes, I am aware of all the "extra" and "hidden" costs, but typically those are not counted for when you mention the hourly wage. It's the same for a software developer too (to continue my analogy). He/she has to constantly upgrade his computers/software/technology, get new monitors, adapt to new hardware like multi touch monitors and devices, and then there's the abominably high cost of enterprise quality development software (like Visual Studio, SQL server, an MSDN subscription etc.). But you cannot tell a client that your infrastructure and equipment costs are high, and so you want to charge more.
    I suspect it's the same with photography. The average client will not understand (or even try to) the costs involved in becoming a good photographer. There's no use telling them that you have a new expensive D3S which made the extreme low light shots inside the wedding limo possible because they don't care. Note that it is absolutely not my feeling that photographers over-charge, but to a "typical" client who has no idea of these things, that's what they see. They see the $200/hour and nothing beyond it.
     
  38. Neil,
    I was using an entry level photographer as an example (3 hours of shooting + 4 hours of post processing). High-end photographers like you don't really have this client perception problem (where they think you are charging too much). Because your clients are typically those that want a minimum guarantee on quality and are prepared to pay for it.
     
  39. You can really do all the postprocessing in 4hrs??? I thought the average was more 2-3 days for a one full day wedding...
     
  40. "...that's basically 1500 bucks for 7 hours work ..."
    See? That's the reason unhappy customers are unhappy.
    You estimate 7 hours work. Several weeks later you haven't finished yet. The customer starts demanding results (given the expectations you set), since you are well beyond your original estimate, you realize your mistake, try to compensate, customer demands start to escalate, and so on... Sounds too much like an IT project to me...
    Set realistic expectations with your customers. And make sure they understand what they are paying for. If they think it's expensive and opt out, you've just saved yourself a lot of trouble.
     
  41. These wedding posts are indeed awful - the bad feelings, the personality clashes, the misunderstandings, the problems with the relatives, the contract arguments - they are all palpable. But to a bystander like me they are also very entertaining. Photo.net should publish a collection of the best (worst)!
     
  42. In my fairly short (less than 2 years) time as a wedding photographer, I really haven't had any such bad experiences as you mention. I've shot over 60-70 brides under many different circumstances and at venues ranging in quality from the lowest (back of a bar converted to a reception hall) to some of the highest locally (Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons), but without any personal issues.
    It's common knowledge that positive experiences are less often reported than negative ones, and negatives stick better in memory most of the time.
     
  43. I think the digital revolution has had a lot to do with it. When I first started doing weddings, the photographer retained possession of the negatives. The bride and groom were given a wedding album with the photos (the real kind) that they picked out. The family and friends paid for their photos.
    But that was when the overwhelming number of them did not have the means to do anything with the negatives anyway. Now in the digital world, you can give them a CD and they can go print their own.
    I still do things the old fashioned way. Even if I shoot digital, I do not give out CD's, I sell prints and albums. I am sure it loses me some jobs, but I still take the time to sit down with the couple and make it as stress and worry free an environment as possible. Any wedding is stressful enough on everyone. The wedding photogapher need not be an additional stressor. Before the wedding, both parties will be made aware or exactly what will and what will not be included. This puts to rest any misconceptions. If there is a question or a dispute, I tell them to look at the contract, and remind them that I went over it item by item with them. When they signed it, that made it legal and binding on both sides. I have to deliver what I promised, but nothing additional, unless I want to. And I usually don't do freebies.
     
  44. Lots of things are changing for the worse in weddings ... photography is but one. Heck, after 25 years of wedding photography, I can count on one hand how many wedding cakes I felt were really tasty! But I digress ...
    I entered the business because at first, it was a labor of love: and it showed in the service and product I delivered. Never a fan of high ISOs, I was particularly proud of my ability to light up even the dimmest sanctuary with my Speedotron light kits. Film was king.
    But as I grew older in years, I guess I began to tire of lugging all that equipment around ... dashing from house to church to reception hall ... and then collapsing at home, drained, after an eight or ten hour day. I worked solo.
    I spent a few years in the digital realm, but it was clear that things have changed ... the cache of wedding photography is gone. Film meant that people were willing to wait. Digital now means that people are incurably impatient, unyielding, obnoxious and intolerant. And did I mention people have become cheap?
    To the extent that we now live in an era of the McWeddings, yes: classic wedding photography is dead. Heck ... maybe I'll open up a chain of wedding photo-kiosks right nect to those red DVD dispensers ...
     
  45. For every problem situation you read about here, there's thousands of weddings where it works out perfectly well.
     
  46. Tom
    "I am tired however of hearing "professional"photographers whining about the "so called professional photographers" with the $400 DSLR with $200 blah hlah and etc...and complain that they give a bad name to the field of photography. Get real. The only difference between a "professional" wedding photographer and say a "weekend photographer" is that the weekend photographer has another job during the week." as per your reply.
    That is like saying there is no difference between a doctor that does heart transplants and one that works in a MORGUE as both are capable of removing the heart from somebody--I will take my chances with the doctor that does the transplants as there is a far greater chance that I will live to see another year(s) than the one in the morgue--will they even bury the heart with the corpse but this I guarantee you--you will not live another mili-second.
    As for the "weekend photographer" they simply make the potentcial client aware that you are lucky if you get what one paid for but at the same time drives more work to the actual professional that makes his living in this field of business.
    http://www.professionalphotography101.com/ Am I or any other professional afraid of the week ender taking business from us--not a chance in h---- of that.
    As per your statement, we are afraid of Changes WRONG as most professionals belong to groups such as Professional Photographers Of America http://www.ppa.com/findaphotographer/degrees.php There are all kinds of seminars and ongoing courses plus most if not all States have a separate branch. The actual professional including those self tought thrive on competition.
    One again these are just my thoughts,
    Garry

    You say we are afraid of change--Wrong, we wait for the next challenge and welcome it.
     
  47. I read Rick Dorn's opening essay as a humorous column in a newspaper, as a comical cartoon strip, as a laugh, just like those wonderful moments at the end of 60 Minutes with our dearly departed Andy Rooney.
    The rest of you, dare I say, take the article and yourselves too seriously.
    The gem of the thread: ".... "Bridezilla" syndrome ...."
    Thank you Rick, you've made my day.
    Cheers, Kevin
     
  48. How about a photography business specializing in Divorce Photography . !!
     
  49. No doubt in my mind this is over reacting, these cases are rare but unfortunately still happen. I worked for several years as a professional wedding photographer many years ago and all but one was unpleasant. I moved changed jobs and couldn't continue wedding photographer because I traveled a lot!
    A few months ago I decided to have another go at it and I expect that things haven't changed much in this regard. Good thing is I'm a much more knowledgeable and better photographer and of course more mature to handle "unpleasant people".
     
  50. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Yes, I am aware of all the "extra" and "hidden" costs, but typically those are not counted for when you mention the hourly wage."
    Nish - Both for the Consultant Software Engineer and for the Freelance Photographer - let’s be precise with the terminology, because it is important in this debate.
    The (Average) "Hourly Wage" is something employees have. It is vastly different to the Hourly RATE which is charged out to the Client by a Sole Business or Consultant - you begin to describe the differentiation with your "hidden extras" comment . . .
    BUT: to be clear if I charge a client $5,000 for a Wedding Package and shoot for 8 hours and post produce for 7 hours my WAGE in NOT $300 per hour . . .
    WAGE is the incorrect term.
    Using the term WAGE conjures the incorrect image in the mind of the Client and also creates a false sense of (fiscal) worth and security in the minds of many Photographers and also business owners in other disciplines
    My WAGE is what I take out from my business each week: My Gross Wage is what the Business pays me and my Net Wage is what remains after paying Personal Income Tax (where applicable) and any other compulsory Levies or Dues and this Net Wage is the money I live on, from day to day . . .
    (I have found that), in many situations WAGES is something which many Photographers don’t even take regularly, or at all - because there is not enough regular work or not enough regular TURNOVER (money coming into the business) to allow them so to do, or simply beacsue they do not have their business arranged such that they have “Wages” . . . many just “live on the money left over” at the end of the week, fortnight or month.
    Also (when correctly analysed), many Photographers find that their WAGE is way below the "Average Wage", that is to say that if they used their skill set as an Employee, their wage would be greater than it is running their own business; and in some cases the Wage of an Self-Employed person falls below social benefits / poverty line, for their particular geographical location.

    WW
     
  51. Good points William - all of them. I am 100% in agreement with you, but unfortunately the typical client will not think this through this deeply. It's up to the photographer to clearly explain that the 4 hours of shooting is merely the tip of the iceberg. I don't think nearly enough photographers do a good job with that.
     
  52. I am tired however of hearing "professional"photographers whining about the "so called professional photographers" with the $400 DSLR with $200 blah hlah and etc...and complain that they give a bad name to the field of photography. Get real. The only difference between a "professional" wedding photographer and say a "weekend photographer" is that the weekend photographer has another job during the week.​
    Also, disagree in general to this comment by Tom Adamczyk. There is a difference.
    HOWEVER, I have to say I am always amazed at the sample wedding shots on websites I see from what appear to be experienced pro photographers and how many are really boring and technically weak photos. There appear to be a minority of pro photographers that do very good work and then a large bunch that seem to make a living with producing product that indeed some weekend photographers could probably match fairly easily. BUT, the pros have all the right lists of duplicate equipment, proper lighting equipment, etc. to add reliability and professionalism to the equation. It is just too bad that more of these professionals do not have much of an artistic eye or attention to detail.
    Ok, there I said it.
     
  53. Rick,
    Wedding photographer in present days buy a DSLR and claim themselves as wedding photographers and who are ill-prepared to do the job... I am just curious to know were all wedding photographers during olden time were well prepared..??? I mean to ask were the result produced by all wedding photographer the same..??? Specialization skill levels will be existent in all areas and in all times. No matter it's Rocket or Medical Science.. Today's technology evolution has not put any limitations that software engineer should only write software programs. As long as you are equipped to adapt the change and if you can produce what your client wants you are set to cross the miles but not the destiny.
     
  54. OK, an edit to my above comment.
    About 20% of websites I see show very good to excellent wedding work. 60% show boring work with a lot of minor problems. This is the product that many weekend photographers could easily match with some effort and care. 20% of sites I see are just bad photos throughout. Sounds like some kind of 80/20 rule. I think a lot of part-time photographers look at the lower 80% and say, "I could do work as good or better than that!". In the good old days of film, the fear of screwing up the exposure, exposing the film during loading, all the stuff where you do not have a second chance with film scared this type off. Now they do not have this fear because of instant feedback. AND, a good DSLR kit is right up there with medium format film for smaller shots that go into a picture book album and the color is probably more consistent.
    Of course this is just the photographers that I checkout that have websites. It could be that 90% of the photogs that do not have websites are fantastic or I happen to run into lower quality websites (the photos not the websitee itself). Not sure. Maybe I am just too critical but I do not think so.
     
  55. Tom--you are also assuming your opinion is the standard by which all should be judged.
     
  56. Tom,
    As you said 20% - GOOD 60% Average 20% - Bad Very true... Could be the percentage varies.. Today's 0% never becomes 100% over night. I am posting my following response to Rick
    "I read about here every day. Some enterprising software developer may soon introduce a violent new computer game called "Wedding Photographer." "
    I am not trying to introduce a violent new computer game called "WEDDING PHOTGRAPHER" over night and know wedding photography is hard to do. Who ever makes photographs they've a place to slide in the stack and getting ranks within them is based on how well they explore and enhance their skills.
    Finally I'd like to emphasize "There's no Death to Wedding Photography" It's the old technology and who don't want adapt to new technology that dies
     
  57. Nadine said,
    Tom--you are also assuming your opinion is the standard by which all should be judged.​
    Nadine, everyone make judgments of other photographers including yourself. That is how we get better. I am really making more of a general observation but of course it is just one persons observation. I have looked at a lot of websites and compared - mostly to learn and get ideas. My point relative to the topic is that in my single person opinion, what is displayed by a large percentage of photographers appears to weekend type photographers to be a level of quality that can be matched with some care and effort to detail. However, sometimes it looks easier than it really is as equipment seems to cooperate better for a person with the experience.
    By the way, I enjoy your wedding samples a lot.
     
  58. I'm interested in your observations, Tom.
    Do you have examples of websites you feel should be in the top 20%? It would help explain the benchmark that you're describing.
     
  59. Neil Ambrose [​IMG][​IMG], Dec 12, 2009; 06:49 a.m.
    I'm interested in your observations, Tom.
    Do you have examples of websites you feel should be in the top 20%? It would help explain the benchmark that you're describing.​
    Neil, I would be foolish to hold myself out to setting a benchmark and did not intend this. I was communicating an impression, an approximation, relative to the original topic. I think I better end my comments on this here. You have some excellent samples of wedding shots and am sure you have been told so. Thanks for letting us all see your website.
    I do look at photographers that have been nominated for national or local awards as a starting point, then I look at random websites of the hundreds of photographers that are registered as professionals in my metro area. Then I look at photographers from blogs like this and others that sound like they know what they are doing.
     
  60. That's fair enough, Tom. I suspect you're possibly right to be circumspect, and it's probably wise to avoid comparing specific photographers.
    I look at a lot of other photographer sites too. I have a bookmarks collection of several hundred links, each to a photographer (of various genres) whose work is interesting to me. There are around fifty who are wedding photographers, and each of them has a truly excellent vision and product.
    For which reason I don't see the imminent demise of wedding photography. There's certainly a lot of rubbish out there, but there's a lot of brilliance too. It just depends where you look.
     
  61. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "That's fair enough, Tom. I suspect you're possibly right to be circumspect, and it's probably wise to avoid comparing specific photographers."
    Just when I was ready for the bloodbath, too.
    Shucks.
     
  62. Tom--OK, just checking.
     
  63. Yeah, but Tom R. has no bio or portfolio or website listed to back up a single thing he writes.
    Reason enough to doubt everything he says.
     
  64. Ken--on photo.net, a website or portfolio isn't required to express an opinion. If you want to discount any statement made by a website/portflio-less person, I guess you can... I pay attention to what is said. If it makes sense, I accept it, whether I agree with it or not. I think you can tell a lot about whether someone knows what he or she is talking about by listeniing to what is said--much more so than from a website, bio or portfolio, where the images and info are cherry picked.
     
  65. Reason enough to doubt everything he says.​
    Tom's post is an end-user opinion on wedding photography websites. No portfolio needed.
     
  66. But if you're going to criticize the photographic aspects (qualities) of said websites it would help to know one's background. However, everyone has opinions, some much more valid than others. No problem. My little two cents still.
     
  67. Ken, I can see your point of view. But I still wonder if there's anything to be gained from credentials if we're talking about opinions on websites and their photography?
    The way I look at it, potential clients will draw conclusions about photographers and their websites all the time, and usually without any technical experience to draw from. In many ways, non-expert opinions can be the most insightful, since they're often the most representative of the real target audience.
     

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