What kind of wedding shooter do I want to be?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by scott_page, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. Timber’s thread on controlling the customer’s picture selection got
    me to thinking and the following ideas developed:

    I'm working through this philosophically and trying to decide what
    kind of wedding photographer I want to be. Do I want to do it just
    for the money (that's a joke...what money? In my area most pro's
    start at about $495-$695 for a 1 hour wedding and top out at under
    $2000 for a huge 2 photographer-all-day-multiple-location affair).
    Do I want to be the most artistic and skilled wedding photographer
    that I can be? Taking classes, analyzing other's work, taking the
    kind of client's that like the kind of shots that I like to take,
    etc.? Or do I want to be something in-between?

    Do I want to be the "be all" photographer that meets the needs of
    everyone, shooting as many weddings as I can, mass production,
    typical JC Penney's studio quality? Or do I want to be a low volume
    but high quality shooter with a unique style that not everyone
    likes? But a style that satisfies me artistically, while producing a
    product that thrills the selective client that is attracted to my
    unique vision. Or do I want to be something in-between?

    Wedding photography is photojournalism. It is also portraiture.
    There is portraiture that basically accurately shows the likeness of
    the subject but little else. Then there is portraiture that presents
    ideas about the subject; shows personality; tells you something about
    the person; makes you want to know more about them. You know what
    I’m taking about, you’ve seen the difference. Photojournalism can
    just report the facts but it can also tell a story. A wedding can be
    a photo essay with skill and planning.

    I've looked at dozens of books on wedding photography...I've looked
    at dozens of local studio album examples. A great many shooters
    appear to be artistically "dead", going through the motions,
    producing cookie-cutter albums. Then there are the few that you can
    just tell from their work that they actually LIKE shooting weddings.
    Maybe they just like photographing people; maybe they like the
    romance of weddings and like being around couples in love; maybe
    weddings help them to feel young; maybe they like the challenge they
    find working under pressure; who knows? But the point is, they seem
    to like shooting weddings, it shows in their work, and I suspect that
    they are happier and possibly more successful than the other guys.

    How about you out there? What kind of wedding shooter are you?
    Bored or having fun? Are you a wedding hack, or a skilled craftsman,
    or an artist? Do you LIKE shooting weddings? If so, why? What do
    you get out of it? What do you do in ensure that you continue liking
    it? How do you stop the bordom so many shooters come to with
    weddings? How do you keep your images fresh and exciting? Your
    thoughts please on my ramblings.
     
  2. I analyze the Bride's look. I treat her as my model for the day.
     
  3. Scott, the question should be what kind of photographer do you want to be? Then seek out the application as the outlet for it. The money and success will come from doing what you have a passion for. For me, it was a passion for shooting people, which I did before shooting weddings, and probably will continue to do if I ever stopped shooting weddings. Other creative people saw my street photography (like the one posted here below), and started bugging me to shoot their weddings. Why not? It's what I love to do, shoot people. The only difference now is that I get paid for it.
    007vBx-17446484.jpg
     
  4. "I've looked at dozens of books on wedding photography...I've looked at dozens of local studio album examples. A great many shooters appear to be artistically "dead", going through the motions, producing cookie-cutter albums."

    In a commercial enterprise such as wedding photography, being artistically "dead" (or, at least, artistically "on life support") may not be such a bad thing. It's possibly as important or more important to career success to be technically competent than artistically creative.

    My survey sample of one: when my financée (now my bride of 13 years) and I went shopping for a wedding photographer, we had four criteria: package within our budget, high-quality prints, a photographer with a friendly and outgoing personality, and a wedding portfolio of the style we wanted.

    That style we selected might well be -- particularly in the view of the experienced / bored / jaded wedding photographer -- the most tired, hackneyed, clichéd and overused in the history of wedding photography, but it's what we wanted, and we're still very happy with our wedding album.

    Our photographer clearly and demonstrably enjoyed weddings, liked meeting and working with new people, and revelled in practicing his craft. Either that, or he was a most convincing actor.
     
  5. How about you out there? What kind of wedding shooter are you
    I'm a Contemporary/Artistic/Naturalist/Candid Wedding Photographer... ;-) I don't like to call myself a Photojournalist because it conjurs up wide angle black and white "documentary" work.
    Bored or having fun? Are you a wedding hack, or a skilled craftsman, or an artist? Do you LIKE shooting weddings? If so, why? What do you get out of it? What do you do in ensure that you continue liking it? How do you stop the bordom so many shooters come to with weddings? How do you keep your images fresh and exciting?
    I love shooting weddings! Only bored if I work over 7 hours which I try not to do. I ask the couple - How many dancing shots do you really want? I'll stay but I charge $300 an hour extra. I try to stay fresh by only doing one wedding a weekend, turning away work that isn't my cup of tea (traditional) and researching and learning and improving my work. I do a mix of group shots and fun or romantic candids. Not a hack - If you love what you do - well, probably you do it well. The results get me excited. I can't wait till I get my film back and when it comes in - I stop everything and do an initial go through to see how things came out. I think you have to genuinely like people and be very comfortable being in charge. Sense of humor is major important. I have so much fun with the families and the couple.
     
  6. I'm a skeptic and a bit of a cynic in most areas of my life, but I
    love shooting weddings. The drama, the pressure....the taffeta!
    What's not to like?
     
  7. To ask yourself to be anything but the best wedding photographer you can be,is a waste of time and effort.Besides,there are enough unskilled,no talent budget shooters already.Pay some dues by assisting with a few wedding shooters.This is where you learn the who,what,where,when & how of the business.Try to mentor with some established,hopefully talented people.After you learn their styles,you can then decide your style.To some degree we all shoot "cookie cutter" albums.This is because some shots have to be repeated at each wedding,especially with the formal shots.It is the other shots taken during the day,that seperate the good from the discount.
     
  8. I'm a wedding photojournalist, and that's what I tell my potential clients. I think most brides are educated enough these days to know the difference between photojournalism and traditional wedding photography. I love the way I shoot weddings, and it, consequently, makes me enjoy my wedding jobs. I find that most people are always happy at weddings, and I find that if I stay out of the way and just document the event, I don't hack anybody off -- so they stay happy. :)

    With that said, I'm always willing to shoot a "portraits only" wedding (in fact, I'm doing one in May), but I don't advertise that. In our local yellow pages, my ad says: "Wedding Photojournalism." It's the only ad in the book to use that phrase.
     

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