Please don't make these mistakes...

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by peter_in_pa, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. ...okay, so I work at a church, I'm not a wedding photographer, but I see a lot come through. (I've shot a couple weddings in my youth, enough to know that it wasn't for me... but I think I could do better than this, honestly...)
    When I saw this group come in I knew I was not witnessing pros.
    1. Both of the photographers are holding their cameras wrong (like you're pulling on the lens, not cradling it). I know when I do this, all my photos aren't straight. Am I the only one? Am I nitpicking?
    2. One is shooting Canon with a cheaper Sigma lens, the other is shooting Nikon with an 18-xxx consumer lens. How are they going to get these to match, seriously? And she keeps asking for less light? Never heard that before, normally they want tons of light.
    3. Both have their flashes in bounce position. The ceiling is over 20 feet high at the least, and closer to 35 in the center, and they're bouncing their flash off dark seats when they shoot vertically anyway...
    4. They shot so much with so much flash during the service that it was a distraction.
    So... please tell me all wedding photographers in 2015 aren't doing these things? and if you're getting started... these are some good pitfalls to avoid imho.
     
  2. 1 and 2 really don't bother me much. Maybe the light was not pleasing aesthetically to them, I'll always take light as long as it's not shining at me directly or ruining my shots.They might have been more family friends/camera enthusiasts than even novice
    pros. But 3/4 with the distractions is not cool really, you have to know how to blend in during the ceremony without making
    it about you. Flash and bounce flash technique, live and learn.

    I've been teaching my son who shoots for his University press how to use mixed flash and he's learning to use it very
    effectively. His first few assignments were quite blairy, now he knows how to use compensation, drag shutter and bounce
    using a homemade white bounce dish on his shoe flash and his results are looking great.
     
  3. It's easy to be a pro wedding photographer! You go to Costco, Sams Club, places like that in the US and buy
    a kit system. That includes a flash 1 or 2 cheap zoom lenses and a cheap camera body for under $400. You
    are now a pro! No classes are needed, no college degrees, no websites, no referrals, just an ad on Craigslist
    will get you started! To get photo's of weddings for the clients to view your work, you steal photo's off of the
    internet!

    I know how you feel. I see this going on all of the time and every year it gets worse. In the film days, after I
    was trained for about 2 years,1988 or so, I was well prepared and well trained. Went to a college, worked for
    free for local pro's and I then put an ad in the Yellow Pages and there were only 3 or 4 photographers listed.
    Now there must be 100 wedding photographers! Maybe more!

    It won't be long before the cell phones become the cameras of choice for wedding photographers! (Joking
    perhaps) Actually, this could be true in 5 to 10 years! Maybe in the near future cell phones will come with a
    zoom lens range of 20mm's to 500mm's, with a megapixal rating of 35 or more! They already have short zoom
    lenses! No flash will be needed because everything will be automatic and the ISO ratings will be as high as
    25600!

    Glad I'm retiring shortly. I haven't set an offical date yet.

    On a positive note, there are families looking for the very best photographers and they are willing to pay for quality. This is why my photo partner and myself are still pretty busy. We shoot about 2 or 3 weddings every weekend. I've slowed down this year and I'm only doing 1 wedding a weekend, unless 2 photographers are needed for a wedding. Good photographers are still wanted and needed. So we have to market ourselves correctly. The true pro's are getting old and retiring - from the film days. However there are young pro's taking photography seriously, going to art schools and mastering photography. There will always be a place for them.
     
  4. Dave Wilson,
    They were not family friends it seems, but were, in fact, selling themselves as pros.
     
  5. That's the biz Peter. It's admittedly a pretty sad state of affairs and why the meat and potatoes work to make steady
    reliable income has dropped off so severely. I'm kind of lucky in that most of the time I was working very high end jobs for
    top clients so the drib-drab budget clients who want thousands of photos and hours for $200 I didn't have to deal with.
    Either way, I'm out now several years except for covering an emergency for a colleague in trouble.
     
  6. Well, as absurd as they may have appeared, judging how they hold their cameras and use their flashes is a bit hypocritical if their results are very good. Not saying they are or aren't, just that the only thing that matters is the quality of the output, and how their clients view their work.
    If you could point us to the images taken, and how bad they are, I could join in in your condemnation. Until then however, their 'professionalism' only matters in the eye of the client (and potential clients) in the end.
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'm with Marcus on this. I learned years ago not to critique how someone does something, the results could be very different than what you expect. People find ways for compensating for certain ways of doing things that may give results different than intended. The original post comes across as "catty" in the absence of any evidence that the results were less than expected. Also, as Marcus points out, it's the clients' opinion that matters, not a bystander.
    The last one is possibly something that could be complained about if it truly bothers people. I was shooting an event (not a wedding but similar) and said I would keep flash use to a minimum but might need it for a few shots. The response was that I should shoot away if it made the photos good and people would enjoy the more paparazzi-like atmosphere.
     
  8. "... I'm not a wedding photographer,..."​
    Neither are a majority of wedding photographers these days.
    " ... their 'professionalism' only matters in the eye of the client (and potential clients) in the end."
    "Also, as Marcus points out, it's the clients' opinion that matters, not a bystander."​
    While always true "in the end", surrendering the definition of what makes for professional wedding photography to clueless consumers has undermined the craft and resulted in a commodity situation where sub one meg, ill timed, artless, craft-less cell phone shots garner a zillion likes and adulation from their 10,000 "close" friends.

    On the bright side, you don't have to be very good to reach up to that consumer standard.

    In the end, it is what it is ... things move on, social customs evolve, tastes change, standards alter.

    Live with it, or move on.

    - Marc
     
  9. Instead of just whining about this all the time, like the old timers that we older replaced we need to learn from the newer photographers. Example i was told constantly by pros square format F16 with potato masher flash mounted on giant rig was the way pros did weddings nothing else acceptable. I shot circles around those old farts. Then it was digital, "pros don't use digital" i killed em, i could burn dodge retouch and print quicker and better than they did. Yes, most of these new photographers don't know the difference between an f stop and a bus stop, but they are beating us in ways we don't understand. Other than price, because i will not work for peanuts, we need to figure out what they are doing to beat us and learn from it.
     
  10. Well, guys...
    Besides my description, I feel pretty confident that anybody that has been doing this a while who watched these folks in action would have agreed with my assessment, and my wonderment that they could call themselves "pros". (maybe the most glaring thing was their ridiculous use of their flashes. shooting vertical, pointing the flash towards some dark seats and a wall some 50 feet away... bouncing sideways... seriously? They were both doing this.)
    The sad thing is, the bride and groom probably won't see anything wrong with their photos.
    They were also dressed SO casually and inappropriately for a wedding that I was a little surprised by that, too.
    I don't mean to whine, because honestly I do NOT want to do this for a living, and I'm NOT saying that I could do it better (although, perhaps I could).
    When I got married, we hired a fantastic photographer with a great local reputation, who used all the most "pro" gear and techniques for the time, which at that time was medium format.
     
  11. Peter... I've noticed all the things you've pointed out and even when these photogs are using good equipment they usually show up in casual clothes to formal weddings. But the saddest thing to me is that most of the clients are happy because it's better than what they are used to... their cell phone... Mike
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I feel pretty confident that anybody that has been doing this a while who watched these folks in action would have agreed with my assessment, and my wonderment that they could call themselves "pros".​

    I'm not sure why it matters. I don't find any value in worrying about other photogrpahers. As I said above, "catty" is the word that comes to mind.
    The sad thing is, the bride and groom probably won't see anything wrong with their photos.​
    That's not sad at all. If they're happy, that's all that matters. What you think is sad, happy or otherwise is totally irrelevant. One would hope that observers would understand that.
     
  13. Gotta say, this thread sounds like an excuse for bunch of grumpy old men to rail about what they perceive as a market getting away from them by the "un-deserving" based on accepting certain conjectures made by un-supported observations.
     
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Gotta say, this thread sounds like an excuse for bunch of grumpy old men to rail about what they perceive as a market getting away from them by the "un-deserving" based on accepting certain conjectures made by un-supported observations."​
    Couldn't disagree more.
    What I read is commentary from several photographers who have an accumulated 160 years of both amateur and professional experience, within and without the Wedding & Portrait industry, exchanging very frank views and some those views have been being called to account for various reasons.
    I also read that a sub-topic of societal change has also emerged and that has also been discussed. I think that is a relevant and important topic for any and all Wedding, Portrait and Event Photographers.
    Certainly any thread can become a black hole of grumpy whinging and whining - but thus far, what we have is robust discussion from differing points of view on several related of topics - and that's what a forum is all about.
    I also think that the general labeling of any thread as "an excuse for . . . etc" can unintentionally drive some commentators to distraction and thereby the thread to destruction. I hope that the commentary will not be so distracted.

    WW
     
  15. I think it is simple an effect of consumer behavior.
    As it has become technically easier and cheaper to take a decently exposed, decently color corrected picture the difference between photographer X and photographer Y is not immediately super obvious for consumers that have zero experience looking at photographs. They can't judge composition, color balance, wide angle distortion or anything like that. They mostly look at the bride and groom and their facial expressions and picture themselves in the same situation.
    Since it also has become very cheap to shoot lots of photos even inexperienced photographers have good shots to show. So for the majority of consumers the wedding photographer X & Y are in their eye more or less equal. This is the signs of a mature market. Which is controlled by price as long as the perceived quality is the same.
    Consumers have two behaviors when it comes to low price. Either they think they are getting tremendous value or that low cost equals low quality. Since they don't have enough knowledge to determine the quality of the product they have to rely on other things instead.
    It's here that photographers that don't have the technical knowledge the older generation of photographers had to have to even take a decent looking photograph can excel. They are probably younger but their youth makes it easier for them to connect to the bride and groom and also shoot in a visual style the resembles what the customer is used to see. They are perhaps a lot better at marketing themselves on social media. Youth also brings enthusiasm, energy and willing to work for less money.
    And if we look historically on all crafts, and photography is both craft and art, the craftsmen have disappeared in a lot of trades. And it has been the business of manufacturers to take the craft out of photography since day one. So the decline of skilled and experienced wedding photography we see is just a natural progression.
    The quality that a master at their craft could achieve will end up being a very small niche market in the end. A market only for the affluent. Like handmade quality furniture, handmade leather shoes and a lot of other things that once were something everyone had to buy but today only a few can afford or need. These items have been replaced by lower quality mass produced items for the general public just as wedding photography in general will be serviced by low cost part time photographers.
    Unless you are very good at marketing it just going to be an never ending uphill battle to get paid for good wedding work. And the days where the photographers were learning the craft from the ground up is forever gone.
    But don't get me wrong here. I don't think the new breed of photographers are less skilled than those that came before them. It's just that they have skills in other areas and not as much in the craft of photography.
     
  16. William W, of course I totally disagree with you. General discussion of the themes, and what is happening in photography, and consumer perception etc etc. are all fine. But this thread started as someone using observations without any real knowledge of the outcome, or the customer's satisfaction to support rants about how the photographer illustrates the sorry state of the business due to dilution from ammeters to me seems a bit unfair.
     
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Barry, yes indeed we disagree on some matters - BUT - it is important to clarify where do agree:
    I agree that Peter's opening post - "started . . . using observations without any real knowledge of the outcome, or the customer's satisfaction"

    However, it seems to me that both Peter's opening post any subsequent commentaries that would/could be interpreted as "rants about how the photographer illustrates the sorry state of the business due to dilution from ammeters" have been well countered and argued against, by many other commentaries.
    Also, in those counter-arguments, there has been introduced "general discussion of the themes, and what is happening in photography, and consumer perception etc etc." - what I referred to generally as the sub-topic of 'societal change'.

    My main point is, as both the opening post had already been called to account and thereby any subsequent ‘ranting’ had also been called to account, I would rather concentrate on moving the conversation forward.
    So, you having re-iterated the facts of the opening post; and also as you having given your opinion of the reason for the thread; and as we both seem agree that whinging and rants are probably a waste of time; and we also agree that we’d be better off discussing more meaningful stuff –
    What are your opinions and your views on these aspects of ‘societal change’ and ‘consumer perception’ that this thread has developed into discussion upon?
    WW
     
  18. Pete S., That is one of the best general assessments of the situation I've read in a while.
    WW, good observation on the theme that developed from the OP's first post ... "societal change" and "consumer perception" ... how each has impacted the business of professional wedding photography.
    One related aspect that I've discussed with a number of photographers, and even the lab owner who makes my albums, is the change in archiving family histories ... of which weddings and life's milestone events play a significant role.
    While there has been a mind-boggling up-swing in the amount of images being taken, there has been a significant downward spiral in images being preserved. Here today, gone today. So much so that historians and archivists have expressed concern that there will not be much evidence of "Common life and who we were" to sift through in future.
    Here is an interesting thing I've seen happen as of late: Clients have contracted me to shoot their wedding and to provide a printed/bound album which is paid for up front. Yet, despite my follow-ups, some of them never provide the album approval once it is designed. They love it, but never get around to final approval ... instead they send friends and family the link to the proofs I placed on SmugMug. Also, a number of clients never avail themselves of the included prints that was part of their package, even though they negotiated hard to get them at the point of purchase.
    To me, this signals a major shift in how clients relate to the photography. They are more interested in the "of the moment" posting on social media or via e-mail/texting attachments than any longer term preservation, despite their best intentions.
    The difference in photographic craftsmanship required to make an album with 12" X 18" spreads with continuity of quality from one spread to the next, or a 11" X 14" or 17" X 22" printed portrait is significantely more than FaceBook postings of reduced res images mixed in with cell-phone shots of the same subject taken over my shoulder at a wedding.
    Just yesterday, I was reading the high end Interior Design magazine "Dwell", and the back cover featured an Apple/ Sprint ad with a full page landscape photo of an old wood shack with mountains in the background ... the headline read "Shot on iPhone 6". Of course, anyone with any standards regarding image quality would recognize the short-comings in an instant ... but would the average reader? Recently we were interviewing a model and took a few cell-phone snaps for reference ... at which time she quipped that those shots would be just as good as ones taken with the camera around my assistant's neck ... which was a 36 meg FF Sony A7R with a Ziess lens ... LOL!
    What is happening is immediacy and content trumps aesthetics and craftsmanship. The end justifies the means.
    Personally, I now carry two cameras when shooting for myself as I explore new places and new events and people ... a Leica S medium format camera or Leica M Monochrome for anything serious ... and my iPhone 6 to immediately send shots to friends and family about what I'm up to on my travels.
    I'm phasing out weddings and only selective do ones for those who appreciate what I put into each wedding and are willing to pay for it. I didn't lower my price or my standards, I raised both. If I go out of business I'll do it on my terms, not someone else's.
    - Marc
     
  19. They are more interested in the "of the moment" posting on social media or via e-mail/texting attachments than any longer term preservation, despite their best intentions.

    Well, having worked in the church world for most the past 10 years, I can tell you that it's possible the other factor in this is that people don't really always expect the marriage to last that long anyway...
     
  20. Thank you William. In terms of "societal change" and "consumer perception". Well this topic in one form or another is quite up in photographers minds these days. I believe there's a fairly active thread on the Philosophy of Photo forum right now looking at some of these issues.
    Obviously, the internet as well as the evolvement of equipment and the surge of interest in photography for different reasons, has changed the equation of how both society interacts with photography and how consumers perceive photography, especially wedding photography. In one sense, I've come to believe that a large portion of photography today has become "vernacular". With the instant availability of posting images on many sites simultaneously, photography in one sense has become a form of simple communication from individuals to their social communities. The photos themselves don't mean a whole lot, its more about people now empowered to magnify and share their daily life through photos in a way that has never been before.
    I believe this tends to change the perception of a large body of younger consumers. Many may devalue formal photography of their weddings. Everyone has a cell camera or a point and shoot, and some of these are capable of excellent quality. The B/G are in this scenario more into instantaneous sharing of their event online, but not so much a care for preserving the memories or any appreciation for the art of photography per say. They want to see the photos as fast as they can, and they share them around once they have them but may not think much about them once that has happened.

    But there is still a significant market of young people that celebrate the more traditional forms of weddings, and want a memorable photographic experience as well. These are the consumers that wedding photographers probably will continue to concentrate on. And this brings up the issue of competition. Given the new outlooks on photography even those who want a formal wedding photographer, may not judge photographs the same way, and therefore will look for so called "budget" photography as they just want coverage. As you know, there is enough wedding photography business that many people are attracted to it, and many untrained and/or inexperienced, being empowered with new camera technology jump into the game. These people often, but not always, will tend to underbid the market either because they don't understand the time and commitment it will take to finish and process all the photos for a wedding, but for any number of reasons will charge less then an experienced professional photographer who needs to make a certain amount of income from the work to support their lives. This is now a fact of professional life. Some of these people may take absolutely great photos, or not...but it is totally up to the consumer to judge if the photos do the job they want or not. Its just what it is. Therefore, I believe it is really up to the professional photographers to sell their services and explain what they bring to the process and why they are worth the extra cost over the new wave of photographers. As you know, the photographer has to put a fair amount of energy in just getting to know the B/G, the setting, the ceremony, the reception and all the little milestones and bits and pieces that go into a wedding and be able to "get there" to get the photos. How to organize the group photos if wanted etc. The better more experienced photographers will tend to understand exposure, composition, and narrative in visually presenting the "story" of a wedding. I do believe there is still a place for that service. But the photography world is no longer like it was 20 years ago even, a small pool of experienced photographers in a relatively captive market. That's just a fact of life. I really empathize for those today that have been around long enough and are caught in this change. Some of you have such a strong word of mouth clientele that you are not effected, but others I'm sure are facing a big struggle and especially emerging wedding photographers, trying to figure out how to market themselves. It is a daunting task for those starting off. I think there is still a good market though, I may be wrong. You just have to work a little harder and smarter to grab a piece of that market.
    Hope these comments add to the discussion.
     
  21. Garbage wedding photography is the new folk art, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
     
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Ben's response is a well thought-out one that really moves the discussion forward.
     
  23. It's true never the less Jeff, many beginners with an entry level DSLR deludes him/herself that they are a wedding photographer because they see it as an opportunity to make money and take on professional work that they don't have the background, ability or training to do, don't have a contract with their clients and aren't equipped to deal with legal consequences when it all goes wrong .
     
  24. It's true never the less Jeff, many beginners with an entry level DSLR deludes him/herself that they are a wedding photographer because they see it as an opportunity to make money and take on professional work that they don't have the background, ability or training to do, don't have a contract with their clients and aren't equipped to deal with legal consequences when it all goes wrong .​
    Which is why more experienced photographers have expend the energy to convince clients what the difference is when there's competition for the gigs. Who else can? Some will just say "why bother", there's better ways to earn money.
     
  25. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I concur with Marc in regard to how Pete's general assessment is a good summary of the present situation.
    However, I think that Peter's comment regarding some people's the expectations of the longevity of their marriage isn’t really a big factor.
    *
    Essentially, I think most people at the time of the wedding would be in a most positive and upbeat frame of mind, so I don't think many would be approaching prospective photographers with a point of view such as:
    "Oh well, Beryl and I will probably be divorced in four years, pointless spending more than $400 on Photos"
    I think that it is more probable that questions like this would be in the forefront of their mind:
    1. "The photographer at Mavis's wedding had a photoscreen-wall-slideshow of the Ceremony screening at the Reception. Do you do that too?"
    2. "How long before we can get the disc to load to our facebook page?"
    3. "Do you do a trash the dress session?"
    4. "How much do you charge?"
    *
    The first two are predicated on an immediacy factor and a gratification in the moment factor. The two are linked but there is a subtle difference.
    > The immediacy factor can be a value add and also a strong predicate for a person's buying choice even to the exclusion of them considering other factors.
    > The gratification in the moment factor is self explanatory by its title and I think that there's little need for me to expand on the ramifications of that because Barry's commentary is excellent in that regard where he describes photography as becoming "vernacular" to so many consumers.
    > The third is being at the cutting-edge factor, which is also related to immediacy and momentary gratification - akin to the must have 'brandy balloon superimposed shot'. (there will be other 'cutting edge factors' depending upon the location and society and culture, 'trash the dress' is just an example of what is a necessity today, here in my niche of the planet)
    > The last has always been common
    *
    I don't think that there is necessarily an intrinsic link link between the people who have a more traditional wedding service and therefore tend to want the more traditional photographic coverage. My experience has been in the later years (2010 to now) that many who have a more low key or 'laid back' wedding have spent money on more formal portraiture, rather than on the wedding coverage per se - but that's a very small sample group and is obviously skewed by my own purposeful marketing direction for my own business.
    *
    Historically, there have always been amateur photographers who have thought that there was a quick quid or quick buck to be made by shooting a wedding. What I think is more significant today is arguably, (for example around 1980), there were fewer who had an SLR (or maybe two) and a maybe three lenses and maybe even a Metz hammerhead flash - AND – there were more Brides at that time seeking out that type of amateur BECAUSE generally, in 1980, it was still a ‘necessity driven by societal norms’ to have what appeared then to be a “professional photographer”, even if he/she was a less expensive part-time operator and not a street front W&P Studio
    What I think is a significant factor in all of this is the simultaneous rapid changes over perhaps the last 15 years and within these interrelated key elements:
    > the ease of acquisition of Digital Imaging Devices (i.e. not only DSLR’s)
    > the way images are delivered (digital delivery being point to multipoint – i.e. rather than providing prints)
    > the way images are viewed (on a screen - rather than viewing an album)
    > the pressure (on Brides) to conform and to be 'at the cutting edge'
    > “immediacy factor”
    > “gratification in the moment factor"
    > the world’s general economy
    The rapid, simultaneous shifts in these factors has molded an immense change to the average Bride’s viewpoint, requirement and their priorities for purchasing choices and for them to be seen to be 'at the cutting edge' (whatever that might be deemed by peers) and also most will always have a primary initial consideration regarding their budget allocation, which has always been so.

    WW
     
  26. We tend to analyze inwardly based on our direct observations related to the proliferation of digital solutions, the impact of social media and the drop-off of more traditional methods of viewing and preservation.
    Moreover, there are also statistical aspects that have come into play.
    The average age of couple's getting married has shifted upward in many developed nations ... the largest shift being in the EU, Australia, Japan and Brazil, closely followed by the USA & Canada. This shift intensified during the depth of the economic downturn. It is not uncommon to have a couple in their mid 30s or older on average.
    There are a number of reasons for this ... society's acceptance of alternative relationships, people wait until furthering their education and/or to secure a better job.
    In more cases than in past, the couple paid for their wedding rather than being paid by the parents. The older couples tend to contain costs because they have other priorities such as paying off their education, starting a family, and securing a family home.
    Not only are people waiting longer, fewer are getting married. The percentage of women 19 to 44 cohabiting almost doubled from 1985 to 2013. The rate of unmarried with minor children has increased as society accepts it more than in past. And so on.
    The net effect is something of a "perfect storm" as it applies to wedding photography as a profession ... at least a profession in the more traditional sense of the word.
    10 years ago, I could count on word-of-mouth as I cycled through different un-married groups of younger clients ... as the average age increased, the clients tended to be in groups where most of the client's friends were already married. Also, I did quite a few destination weddings, and those also resulted in less referrals as price + travel costs became more of an issue during the recession.
    As these factors impacted my wedding business, I increased the craftsmanship of my output (mainly in the area of lighting), and went for the higher end of the market, which tended to be demographic groups with higher educations that placed a greater value on "family" and preservation of family milestones. While the number of weddings continued to decline, the profit margin significantly increased. My wedding income still declined, but the percentage of time spent decreased a lot in relationship to money made. A $5,000 wedding isn't all that much more difficult than a $2,000 one.
    Thankfully, I'm at the end of my run rather than in the middle of it. If I were facing a longer future I'd significantly re-think my entire business plan, relationship with clients, use of alternative media, and all related expenses.
    I'm also of the (controversial) opinion that one photographer trying to alter client perceptions by educating them one-on-one is a voice in the wilderness. There are just too many factors at play to over-come the tsunami of beliefs clients now hold to be true ... I think it would be better to listen to them closely, then deliver work that meets those expectations while meeting standards of excellence you can be proud of personally.
    Change, or wither on the vine. Grousing about it all is a waste of time.
    - Marc
     
  27. In my country two out of three weddings end up in divorce, it may be a lucrative revenue stream that photographers are missing.
     
  28. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    In addition to the changes that Marc and others have mentioned, weddings themselves appear to be changing. The last two weddings I photographed were reception-only. The actual weddings were civil weddings with the minimum number of people and the photos were "party pix" that didn't require any wedding experience. The wedding before that was presided over by a friend of the couple who became a minister online. And at that wedding, every vendor, including me, was a friend of the couple. (Yes they paid well.) And the one before that was held in a bar/music venue, also with an online minister, and the bride played in four punk bands immediately afterwards.
    Marc's comments about delaying or maybe not marrying are very true. There are plenty of statistics that prove this, but what I have noticed most is that my son, who is one year out of college, has not had any friends get married. When I was one year out of high school I had been to weddings of several friends, and probably a dozen by the time I was his age.
    And one comment regarding prints - I can't remember the last time I walked into someone's home and saw a wedding photo bigger than 4x6. People don't put up large portraits of themselves either, from what I can tell. The easy access of photos online means walls can be used for other things, like art pieces. The only wedding photograph I've taken in the last five years that I saw printed was in the Boston Globe, not someone's home.
     
  29. In my office the wedding crowd seems to be in early 30s, professionals. Other's I know have simple "beach" weddings, or as Jeff said just a reception, but the majority but the few I have done in the last couple of years all had a wedding, group photos, and receptions but not necessarily formal. Last wedding had all that, but was shoes optional. I've been either direct friends with the couples in all my weddings or had association through their family. Each wedding I've done has been different, they've all been in different settings, different lighting conditions, different coverage needs etc. Even as friends, I've been paid for all of them except for one I did as a wedding gift to a woman I"ve known since she was 10.
    Re prints, though I've offered, I haven't had one request for a print in any wedding I"ve done in the last 3 years, which is not many. I did one print for the sister and her husband of the bride as a gift.
    Last thing, all though statistically over half of U.S. marriages end in divorce, I've not yet seen a wedding where the b/g go into it thinking the relationship is fungible:)
     
  30. Interesting thread and many good posts!
    Regarding the preservation of images I think that people think that if they have their images posted on facebook, instagram etc it's there forever. Anytime they want to have a look or show friends they can just log on and have a look. And that is of course true as long as these websites exists and the owners doesn't decide to automatically delete all older stuff.
    What people forget is how young these services are. Facebook has only been around for 11 years but was of course not wide spread in the beginning. Instagram is 4 years old. Who knows where we will be in another ten years.
    Preserving images on any electronic media is actually extremely hard. I've been using computers for 30 years and there is simply no way you can take old media and use in a modern computer. Todays USB flash drives or CD/DVD/Bluray discs will be totally unreadable in thirty years. You will simply not find a device to inserts these things into just as you can't find anywhere to read an 8 inch floppy disc or a commodore 64 cassette tape.
    Printed images will however last a very long time in comparison. Eventually they may fade or get lost but as long as they are there we will be able to look at them. Historians are worried about what will be preserved from our digital way of life for future generations to see and learn from and I think they are right to be worried.
     
  31. Marc Williams said it best regarding finding clients with a bit more money. I'm at the end of my career with
    weddings. When clients call and their first question is how much do you charge and how many images do I
    get kind of kills the desire and the passion to shoot weddings. People want 2000, 3000, plus images. They want you to shoot
    the 8 hour wedding, plus another 8 or more hours of editing for $500.

    Well I'm rethinking my next steps. I will surely be slowing down. I just spent some money on medium format
    gear and I'm after product and commercial design type of photography. Kind of cool, the digital back is an 80
    megapixel back. I haven't shot with it yet. Can't wait! Maybe this weekend.

    Marc is right on target about lighting. Understanding lighting, whether its for weddings for product shoots, this
    really makes you an elite specialized pro. For example a lighting expert knows all about the different setups
    and forms of lighting. For example, when doing a bridal portrait how do you set up your off camera lights for
    that Rembrandt effect? Every wedding photographer needs to know and understand the different names of
    lighting. Taking one quality, amazing, bridal shot using perfect lighting is often better than taking 75 somewhat
    candid bridal shots, simply because the bride wants 2000 images. We have to teach the brides the
    differences when they come to the studios. I often refer to this issue as "Weddings 101." Then they are
    educated and often willing to dismiss 2000 candid shots for 400 breath taking quality images. It's been years
    since a bride walked out of the studio and didn't book with me or my photo partner.

    Quality is still everything. The brides need to be educated. In the studio we have 40X60 framed wedding
    portraits around. This is how you sell yourself, by quality work. If you get those $500 brides in your
    studio/house, you show them amazing albums, not DVD's on a labtop, I promise that these brides will find
    $2000 somewhere to have you shoot their wedding. Lighting is often your selling point. We can't forget about
    wonderful posing. Thats a must!

    I think I got carried away here, however I am looking forward to trying out other forms of photography. Hope
    this helps the beginners to the advanced pro's that are having trouble finding clients willing to spend a few
    extra dollars.
     
  32. Bob,

    I'm retired.

    Collect old film cameras now.

    Make family photographs only. Grand children.

    The price you mentioned sounds about right for me, during the '70's.

    Interesting discussion.

    I wonder how many just live together, never get married or intend to?
     
  33. People tend to either get what they paid for, or, don't. If they don't think they did, is it their fault? Probably. Then again, maybe not. People today don't place the same value on photography as generations before did. Some people value a smartphone pic while others call that same picture a piece of junk.
    There is sadness when a couple hires a photographer and that photographer delivers a product below their expectations. People choose photographers for all sorts of reasons, like price, like based on their portfolio, like he/she seemed nice, like it's Uncle Bob. Photographic skill level and expectations can be in sync or they can be totally divergent.
    I am amused by how these conversations always go.
     
  34. Fortunately, no matter how good they are technically, photographers that tend towards Asperger's-like personalities or other socialization / communication deficits are almost immediately weeded out of the wedding profession, but many of these can survive and even thrive on the internet or in other areas of photography (eg, product).
    Tom M
     
  35. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    MODERATOR NOTE:​
    Discussion here will not include personal attacks and some comments in this converstation have been edited and/or deleted to remove same.
    Earlier, this conversation wandered terribly close to sending the thread into a black hole, but the membership made worthwhile efforts to forward the discussion and many interesting points were discussed in a professional and respectful manner. Thank you all for that.
    This discussion is now closed.
     

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