As a whole, where does the industry of wedding photography stand today?
I just read an interesting post by David Ziser (a June post, must have missed it when he originally wrote it) and thought it was filled with a lot of things I too have witnessed in this industry. (It’s worth the read.)
Wedding photography is more than just shooting a few pictures at an event. In my eyes – as a professional wedding photographer for many years – it is the most difficult form of photography.
- You have to mix with dozens of different types of personalities, some with frazzled nerves.
- You have to photograph a bride’s white dress with a grooms black tux, in the blazing sunlight, and in the dark reception hall – making every photograph turn out perfectly.
- You have to photograph professional portraits, and become a dynamic photojournalist, anticipating where the client wants you to be.
I could go on, but I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.
Yet you continually see Craigslist listings for free photographers, or an entire wedding package for $250. There is no way a professional photographer can remain a professional photographer at this level. Instead you’ll get the comments I hear almost every day of:
“I used a friend who loves photography, but they did a horrible job and now I have no photographs from my wedding.”
To be a professional wedding photographer, you have to dedicate yourself to the art of wedding photography. You have to practice. You have to understand every nuance of the day. AND you have to charge what you’re worth to stay in the business.
I recently did a post on The Pendulum Swing Of Photography. Every single point holds true to this post as well, but let’s discuss point #7 again here:
7. The photographer that isn’t out for the quick buck, and caves into “what everyone else is doing”. The biggest statement I hear from photographers on why they charge one low fee and hand over the digital files – “everyone else is doing it”. That’s not how to get to the top. The way to the top is to give what no one else is giving.
The only way to remain a true professional wedding photographer is to provide 110% service to your wedding clients – and tell about it. Do your clients really want to rely on the free Craigslist photographer – that may never show up? Do they really want to rely on the friend – that only photographs landscapes? Do they really want to trust their memories to a photographer that has never photographed a wedding before? Do they really want to trust a photographer that hands over the files – and doesn’t understand the professionalism of helping you design your wedding album?
I can go on and on. It all boils down to how much you put in is how much you will receive.