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Author Topic: So I was checking out some local wedding photographers...  (Read 13979 times)
Justinr
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2012, 05:14:00 AM »
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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.

Isn't professionalism as much a matter of attitude as it is degree of income? Plenty of people out there who get paid for jobs that they are not particularly good at or interested in.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2012, 06:52:03 AM »
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Isn't professionalism as much a matter of attitude as it is degree of income? Plenty of people out there who get paid for jobs that they are not particularly good at or interested in.
It is always difficult to discuss labels (and seldom constructive).

You seem to assume that professional = "good, interested", and that any definition of professional that does not include "goodness, interestedness" is a bad definition. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I disagree, I see a professional as one who is paid to do a task, as opposed to an amateur ("lover of", "generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science without formal training") who in my mind does not get (significantly) paid for their "work". An amateur may very well be a "better" photographer than a professional photographer, he/she simply does not get paid for doing it. Some of the great artists and minds of history have not been professionals, and some only got recognized after their death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional
Quote
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee.
...
The term is also used in sports to differentiate amateur players from those who are paid—hence "professional footballer" and "professional golfer".

-h
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RSL
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2012, 08:17:08 AM »
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Plenty of people out there who get paid for jobs that they are not particularly good at or interested in.

Good point, Justin. Pretty much describes most (but not all) wedding photogs.
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RSL
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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2012, 08:19:56 AM »
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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

Good point, Jim. Let's drop the cleaning toilets metaphor and substitute pumping septic tanks.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2012, 11:30:33 AM »
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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.

With respect - you don't really know what you are talking about.  You have a right to your opinion, and believe me you are right when you say there are a lot of very bad photographers around.  But to generalise in that way is an insult to a lot of professional photographers.  Almost every photographer out there has had a go at shooting weddings - either as a favour to a friend (which is fine), or because they really want to be a professional photographer and have found that nobody will pay them meaningful amounts to do any other sort of photography.  It's often those photographers who are the problem, especially now that the technical barriers to photography have largely been removed. 

Couples looking to hire a photographer usually have zero experience of finding such a person, and are lured by false promises and glitzy websites offering low prices to undercut the opposition. I can only speak of the UK, but there seems to be a race to the bottom with prices.  And you are quite right about the faint praise on Facebook etc - give a newbie some words of encouragement and they think they are David Bailey!

If you want to jump into professional wedding photography with all the other 'hustlers' - go ahead.  If you keep your prices down you will easily part fools with their money - if that gives you satisfaction.

A typical wedding for me involves perhaps 30 hours of work.  I may have a plain bride, a wet day, a not-so-glamorous location, and it might be dark and cold (yes, this is England).  Yet I am expected to still produce good pictures.  My aim is that should a prospective couple come to see me about their wedding, I could show them any wedding I have shot in the last year and be confident that it would represent the current standard of my work - not just my best pictures.  That is what is involved in being a professional photographer, forget whether you are full or part-time, or get paid for it or not.

A wedding is a fabulous event to photograph - If you like photographing people.  Every week is a different cast, different locations, different weather.  Only the unimaginative would ever get bored.  If you love meeting and photographing people, and want to get paid for doing it - then wedding photography is a great job!

Oh, and by the way, I don't consider myself a great photographer.  But I have photographed around 500 weddings over 15 years, and as I don't advertise they all came through word of mouth, so I must be getting it half right.

Jim
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2012, 07:48:59 AM »
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A wedding photog whose work I admire is Aleksandras Babicius from Lithuania.  Were I getting married, I'd fly him over to shoot it.

The bigger issue; however, is why so many wedding photographers [still] have such wretched, Flash-based websites.  Perhaps that should be a [dis]qualifier.  Flash-based website?  Stuck in the 90s, not going to hire.  Grin

Wedding photography isn't the only genre where the comments made in this discussion are accurate though.  It's in all areas of photography.  There are good and bad commercial photographers.  Good and bad 'fine art' photographers.  Good and bad photojournalists.

In that area in particular what's 'popular' right now?  It seems to be the 'kitsch' type of stuff.  Printing EVERYTHING on canvas whether the picture suits canvas or not.  Printing everything on metal whether the image suits metal or not.  The hyper-processed 'HDR look' is being gobbled up.  But none of that necessarily makes it good photography. 

It's not just photography either.  There are good and bad in everything.  Artistic and otherwise. 
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RSL
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2012, 06:12:10 PM »
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I agree, Bob. There are good wedding photographers, and I suspect there are a lot of really good photographers doing weddings. I have a good friend who's a very good pro photographer. He does weddings and he does them very, very well. But the problem is that in order to make a living at weddings any photographer, as I said earlier, has to produce pictures that are recognized by his customer -- which usually means the bride's mother -- as wedding pictures. That's where things break down. Most brides' mothers have a clear idea of what constitutes a wedding picture, and that's usually a classic cliché. It's not that it's a bad picture; it's just that it's a picture that's been done over and over and over ad nausea. There are exceptions to everything, and this is no exception. Every once in a while I see a fresh, interesting wedding picture, but there's usually a fairly long gap between them.
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Justinr
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« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2012, 04:38:39 AM »
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I think the mods should step in at this point and disrupt this outrageous outbreak of peace and harmony between members of this forum for I too find myself in complete agreement with Bob, RSL and Jim.  Cheesy

The comment re less than cat walk type brides reminds me of one dull, wet Saturday afternoon in November at a registry office next to a railway line with a bride who was seven months gone and a father who couldn't get up the stairs to witness the daughters ceremony because he relied on an oxygen mask to stay alive (as he helpfully explained between breaths from said mask and drags from his cigarette). The poor girls' greatest wish was that I wouldn't make her "look fat" and the fact that I actually got some shots that she was pleased with remains one of my greatest achievements in my time as a wedding photographer.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2012, 06:25:12 AM »
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A rare kumbaya moment.  Cheesy

RSL, don't disagree on the preconceived notions of the mother of the bride.  But I think there are ways to do something that isn't as cliché, that is a bit different and still keep the mother of the bride happy. 
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SunnyUK
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« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2012, 11:09:56 AM »
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I wonder if forums for plumbers are also full of people discussing how retail plumbers have generally become worse and worse, ever since B&Q (or Home Depot) enabled Joe Public to buy "professional" equipment and do their own plumbing? 

Or decorators discussing how all the amateurs painting not only their own walls but also the walls of their friends and families are lowering the standards. Not like in the good olden days when it took a week to paint a wall...
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RSL
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« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2012, 11:36:29 AM »
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Sunny, I never said it's become worse. It's always been this way.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2012, 11:16:32 AM »
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I wonder if forums for plumbers are also full of people discussing how retail plumbers have generally become worse and worse, ever since B&Q (or Home Depot) enabled Joe Public to buy "professional" equipment and do their own plumbing? 

Or decorators discussing how all the amateurs painting not only their own walls but also the walls of their friends and families are lowering the standards. Not like in the good olden days when it took a week to paint a wall...

I think the comparison would be Joe Public buying a bagful of plumbing equipment and setting themselves up as a working plumber with very little or no experience.  Nothing wrong with photographing your own wedding, or that of a friend.  I didn't say there was. But I do think I could learn to be a good plumber much more quickly than I learned to be a competent photographer.  I've nothing against someone using a camera phone to record a wedding if the pictures are good.  Equipment has nothing to do with it.

Jim
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SunnyUK
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« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2012, 12:56:30 PM »
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Fair point, Jim.

I think that kind of Joe Public exists, except he calls himself a "handyman" or "man with a van" or "no job is too small" Smiley
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cjogo
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« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2013, 03:53:30 AM »
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As a photographer who shot his first wedding in 1978 ... its a totally new world out there. 

I am full digital ... but all manual with a hand meter and a manual flash & only own 2 lenses .   I fold  my screen down on my Canon >> no chimping in my finder all day ..  Can shoot a full- day wedding with 'round 350 images and my selling point > 89% from that selection will be quality. We  offer a buy back option of $10 for every image the bride deems unsatisfactory.

For the very cheap minded B&G > we are confident enough to shoot a wedding and hand the card at the end of the day > did it with film when digital was just coming into the market..
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Rob C
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« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2013, 04:05:19 AM »
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As a photographer who shot his first wedding in 1978 ... its a totally new world out there.  

I am full digital ... but all manual with a hand meter and a manual flash & only own 2 lenses .   I fold  my screen down on my Canon >> no chimping in my finder all day ..  Can shoot a full- day wedding with 'round 350 images and my selling point > 89% from that selection will be quality. We  offer a buy back option of $10 for every image the bride deems unsatisfactory.

For the very cheap minded B&G > we are confident enough to shoot a wedding and hand the card at the end of the day > did it with film when digital was just coming into the market..



Frankly, that sounds like a damned good idea: you shoot, get paid and don't have to risk DVT for a load of other people's pictures with which you can't have the slightest emotional connection.

It makes the whole idea of weddings seem sane again. For other people to do them, I mean.

Rob C
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cjogo
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« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2013, 12:12:57 PM »
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It was so much easier in the film days --  capture the wedding > drop your film in the mail on Monday  and send out your 5X5 proofs to the bride.  No computer time or 3000 images to view.

  Although at the day of the wedding you did have to carry different backs of film speed & if you were shooting 6X7  >you had to change the film every 10 shots.  Grin  What if there were more than 10 in the bridal party, coming down the aisle > you had to have another back in your jacket ..anticipate your every shot. Every shot was preset.  There were only PROs in the field or amateurs that didn't work very long in this town.

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iluvmycam
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« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2013, 12:03:27 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.

Just what they can offer. You can't call it a hustle if that is what they do and are up front about their work. Ansel Adams was not a street photog. Bresson was not a landscape photog...just what they did best.

I think if they are providing some HDR it is a very nice service if it looks nice and the client likes it.
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cjogo
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« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2013, 01:16:44 PM »
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I don't believe, in my market, the "modern" B&G are looking for the old school quality .... Just not as critical as 20+ years ago. Seems to be more volume of the photos they receive and upload lower images to a on-line site.  More of a social media share thing > than a quality 10X10 image in a book ....
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Gulag
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« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2013, 02:07:42 PM »
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I don't believe, in my market, the "modern" B&G are looking for the old school quality .... Just not as critical as 20+ years ago. Seems to be more volume of the photos they receive and upload lower images to a on-line site.  More of a social media share thing > than a quality 10X10 image in a book ....

+1. Generally speaking, the generation of facebook/youtube has no interest in quality. Currently, what they desire to get is just some image buffet in Instagram style on facebook.
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“For art to be art it has to cure.”  - Alejandro Jodorowsky
cjogo
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« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2013, 09:33:14 PM »
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One of my weddings last year said they had no way to play a DVD  ?  SO... how do we send the bride her images ?? Upload 50 meg files to a site somewhere ??  Glad weddings have left our weekend world >> most of the local ones ~ were just not profitable any more.  My colleague still shoots but, has to travel mostly outside of the area for $10-15k ..
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 11:43:17 PM by cjogo » Logged
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