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Author Topic: So I was checking out some local wedding photographers...  (Read 14660 times)
-Tom-
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« on: October 24, 2012, 05:01:40 PM »
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After the ad of one  wedding studio came up, I decided to check out their work, what kind of photos are they making, selling, and basically how "good" is it.

I was led to believe (by myself, I think) that wedding photography in 2012. is something borderline superpro level, and I've never ever even tried to touch it, and I've said to myself that there are 99,999% chances I won't ever agree on shooting a wedding, simply because I didn't feel up to par with the skills I have...

Turns out...wedding photography is mainly shill service. Basically it boils down to "let's make couple of very funny and quirky shots, few artsy farts (b&w preferably) and lets boost the lights in Lightroom, go for the borderline HDR look and call it a day.

Looking at the Facebook comments on those shots, all I read is "wowwww, amazing, ohh" etc.

So what I've come to realize, wedding photographers are just hustlers. Nothing wrong with that, but I must say I'm somewhat disappointed. Disappointed I never tried to hustle someone out of his $ for mediocre job, and also for holding them to such high standards. I've seen one studio that makes really REALLY epic stuff, their wedding movies are movies, but that's one studio. Others I've seen are just so average...or I'm conceded and think too high of myself. Don't know.

But just wanted to put this out there.
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Justinr
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 05:30:48 PM »
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You can only sell quality to those who appreciate it. I might have mentioned this before but I had two brides visit me about a year ago. Both were getting married over Christmas, both in the late afternoon, one decided that she'd trust me to capture the candlelit atmosphere of a dark church whilst it turned out the other just wanted her friends to take snaps on their mobile and paste the results on Facepuke; her mother was almost in tears as she left. I was pleased enough with my results and the bride was delighted, no idea about the other one.

Mind you I've not done a wedding since. 87,000 people emigrated from Ireland last year, mostly young and single, which means 30 - 40,000 less weddings in a population of just 4m. Prices have dropped from an average of €2-3,000 4 years ago to €5-600 now as what remains of the trade scrambles for work. There are many people doing it at a loss just to try and build a portfolio or to pretend they are still in business and when you are not making money out of it then you won't have the motivation to do a top job.
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RSL
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 05:32:13 PM »
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Tom, Having done weddings I can tell you that not all wedding photographers are "hustlers," but as I've said before, the term "pro" is a term that has to do with economics, not art. A pro in photography is a guy or gal who makes money shooting pictures. The term doesn't say anything about the pro's artistic ability. Also, you have to understand that when you're shooting wedding pictures you have to produce pictures that the bride and the bride's mother will recognize as "wedding pictures." That almost invariably means clichés. If the pro does things that are original he stands a good chance of losing customers.
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Justinr
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 05:43:06 PM »
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Tom, Having done weddings I can tell you that not all wedding photographers are "hustlers," but as I've said before, the term "pro" is a term that has to do with economics, not art. A pro in photography is a guy or gal who makes money shooting pictures. The term doesn't say anything about the pro's artistic ability. Also, you have to understand that when you're shooting wedding pictures you have to produce pictures that the bride and the bride's mother will recognize as "wedding pictures." That almost invariably means clichés. If the pro does things that are original he stands a good chance of losing customers.

Quite

See these people - www.graphistudio.com They are the very masters of cliche in that they have a team of 'designers' arranging the album pretty much to a formula which in the long term does no more than reinforce the 'niceness' of stereotypical shots. The loop is closed and you circumnavigate it in ever decreasing circles.
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-Tom-
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2012, 05:50:11 PM »
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Some good read here, as always. I have to say, off topic, this is the most (THE most) insightful forum I've ever been on. I don't know how you guys keep it like this, but you do.

On topic...

the term "pro" is a term that has to do with economics, not art.

I need to remind myself on this all the time, my mind always drifts away to those "he who creates the most art, he be the better pro" la la land.

The loop is closed and you circumnavigate it in ever decreasing circles.

This is so true...and depressing.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2012, 05:58:58 PM »
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Hmmmm...really? To me Lula, aesthetically speaking, is a very conventional site-a good source of technical info but precious little else.
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Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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Justinr
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 04:10:41 AM »
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Hmmmm...really? To me Lula, aesthetically speaking, is a very conventional site-a good source of technical info but precious little else.

Like any forum it should be all about what the individual brings to the party not just what they can take from it.
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Brett_D
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 12:15:30 PM »
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If you think you can do better then the average pro, then go for it.  There are plenty of brides and grooms out there.  Maybe it turns out you're right.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 12:15:59 PM »
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Hmmm.............Justin compared to you it appears I have contributed allot. Regardless, through many discussions I have found nothing but rehashed aesthetic discussions that are stuck in issues from the late 60's photography-and I got enough of those while in photography school then. The one area besides technique that is refreshing is how modern technology like the internet or social networking is impacting photography.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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Justinr
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 01:25:18 PM »
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Hmmm.............Justin compared to you it appears I have contributed allot. Regardless, through many discussions I have found nothing but rehashed aesthetic discussions that are stuck in issues from the late 60's photography-and I got enough of those while in photography school then. The one area besides technique that is refreshing is how modern technology like the internet or social networking is impacting photography.

Hmmm.............Justin compared to you it appears I have contributed allot

That was not the point I was making.

As for the impact of social networking I fear the biggest effect it has had is the lowering of expectations and the reduction of the viewing experience to little more than an exhausted glimpse of some scene that means nothing, conveys nothing and says nothing to anyone else other than the photographer or those that may happen to appear in it. That's fine by me, it's a free world but give me the consideration and analysis of content and whatever is meant by quality over snap shots any day, and we don't have to go back five decades to appreciate the difference.
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louoates
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 09:00:26 PM »
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Terrific topic!
I think good wedding photographers do a fantastic job. Both of my daughters had great work done. Excellent traditional shots and flawless prints and albums. Worth every penny.

Bad wedding photographers I've witnessed as a wedding guest:

Bad #1: Took no, zero, pictures of the wedding party. But plenty of out of focus church pews with shadowy bride and groom. A week later the bride pleaded with any guests who took snapshots for copies. Oh, yes, the videographer at that wedding shot the father of the bride's speech and his dance with the bride with no sound.

Bad #2:  Took no flash in outside twilight shots at the reception. No flash inside either. Talk about a muddy soup of artifacts!

Bad #3:   Disappeared with the bride and groom before the reception for parts unknown and brought them back 3 HOURS late for the reception.

Worst wedding photography trends:

1. Trashing the bride's dress. In back alleys, lakes, mud baths, etc.
2. Candid shots of the bride and groom the next morning, 5 am, in their wedding bed.
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Walt Roycraft
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2012, 08:14:14 PM »
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Some of the greatest photographers I know shoot weddings...

http://www.parkerjphoto.com/
http://www.cmphotography.com/
http://photography.andrenaphoto.com/
http://www.jerryghionisphotography.com/
http://www.jeffascough.com/
http://www.studioimpressions.com.au/blog/wedding-portfolio-01/

etc. etc etc
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AFairley
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2012, 08:28:37 PM »
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2. Candid shots of the bride and groom the next morning, 5 am, in their wedding bed.

Ewww....
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Gulag
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2012, 02:24:53 PM »
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Wedding photographer is a lowly profession by now and it associates with poor artistic taste and standards for most art directors. Many talented pros have to maintain separate web presence for different work, and don't want to even mention that they do wedding at all when soliciting fashion/beauty/commercial work, at least that's prevalent in my circles.  On the other hand, most of today's brides and grooms don't really know or care what good photography is all about. Any poor quality facebook cellphone image can make them shock and awe as long as it's instagrammed. Anyone who can buy either a Nikon or Canon kit from Costco or Amazon can claim he/she is a wedding pro. More and more brides don't want to order prints and albums directly from the shooter,  because they believe they can obtain the same quality prints/albums at price clubs for much cheaper price. In essence, the traditional wedding photography business model is under attack by the new trend that was started by the digital revolution. Many great world-class wedding pros haven't increased their prices for the past a few years at least that's what I heard in places,  such as WPPI. Sure, there are some wedding shooters in my local area, such as Denis Reggie, that still charge $35K or more for a wedding package; but,  they are statistically close to zero for the sample population.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 02:27:39 PM by mshi2008 » Logged

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hjulenissen
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2012, 03:43:43 PM »
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Tom, Having done weddings I can tell you that not all wedding photographers are "hustlers," but as I've said before, the term "pro" is a term that has to do with economics, not art. A pro in photography is a guy or gal who makes money shooting pictures. The term doesn't say anything about the pro's artistic ability. Also, you have to understand that when you're shooting wedding pictures you have to produce pictures that the bride and the bride's mother will recognize as "wedding pictures." That almost invariably means clichés. If the pro does things that are original he stands a good chance of losing customers.
Is wedding photography similar to making/producing a pop music album?

If it is, then I would claim that successful wedding photographers tends to:
-Find a balance between cliche/the expected, and novel/personal/artsy. If you ever listen to a Britney Spears album you will find typical pop-cliches combined with novel elements (and excellent production skills). This may be why "computer programs generating Mozart-ish music" may produce output  instantly recognized as "Mozart-ish", but will never create a piece of music that the great players will practice and perform: the formula-based approach gets you only so far, artistic vision and inspiration is needed.
-know what is "trendy" before their customers do
-knows that their job is to make a good end-product and/or to make their customer shine, not to draw too much attention to themselves

-h
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AlexanderB
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2012, 06:02:54 AM »
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A pro in photography is a guy or gal who makes money shooting pictures.

Little correction: pro is guy or gal who's main income from the job (not in photography only, but in other areas too). Doing wedding once in a while and get some money as a side effect does not qualify as pro.

And on the topic: it's happening not only in photography but everywhere. Everything gets cheaper, available to everybody and average quality of things gets lower. Looking at the old building, furniture, cars people often say, wow, why can't we make thing like that now. We can and we do, but it is becoming harder to notice good things.
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kers
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2012, 09:15:02 AM »
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looking at al these wedding pictures linked here i know for sure..
I am NOT romantic...

( for me it is mostly total kitsch)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 01:42:59 PM by kers » Logged

Pieter Kers
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« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2012, 01:40:54 PM »
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Right, Alexander, I meant to imply that, but I should have been more specific. You're not a pro unless you make your living at it.

And Kers, Me too. It's kitsch all right, but wedding photography is one of those things that simply has to be done, like cleaning toilets or digging ditches.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2012, 03:06:29 PM »
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It certainly depends on the area and who you know.  Here in Tampa there are probably 500+ that will do it but only a serious core of maybe 40 of us doing great work, as full time wedding pros.  Being a 'wedding photographer or dj' are the two easy ways in when people are unemployed or bored new moms.  Low equipment costs to fake it.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2012, 03:19:03 AM »
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And Kers, Me too. It's kitsch all right, but wedding photography is one of those things that simply has to be done, like cleaning toilets or digging ditches.


As a photographer who makes half his income from weddings, I take exception to that comment!  And anyway, don't you just love going into an immaculate clean and fresh-smelling toilet as opposed to the usual type.  And as for digging ditches - I think you ought to stop digging right there! Cheesy

Jim
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