I recently had a very interesting conversation with a young photographer. I asked her what her specialty was, and she replied that while she preferred maternity and babies, she also did families and high school seniors. I asked a clarifying question: “So you are a portrait photographer?” I had a motive, you see. I wanted to find out if there might be a possibility for me to use her as a second shooter at my weddings. Her response to the question was this: “Well, I limit myself to two weddings a month during the summer. I don’t really like them much, but they pay the bills.”
And I knew that this young lady would not be working for me.
I don’t do weddings because they pay the bills. Paradoxically, it is much more difficult to pay the bills with wedding photography now than it has ever been in my 27 years of being in business.
I could spend more time on other things, but the plain truth is that I love weddings. I probably always will, and I probably will continue to chase ladies in white dresses until I physically can’t anymore.
Those who teach such things tell us that in order to have a successful business, we must differentiate ourselves from the crowd.
With literally hundreds of photographers in every town and city across America and the world, this is more true now than every before.
I believe that there is an inner and an outer. The inner is what affects the outer, not the other way around. There is a “bridal glow” that all brides get as the time to walk down the aisle approaches. They would have this glow even without the special hair and makeup touches, because that glow comes from within. It comes from the hopes and dreams and promises about to come true in a ritual almost as ancient as humans. The outer is effected by the inner.
Here is my outer:
- I’ve got boatloads of experience, 27 years of it. In that time, I estimate I’ve successfully photographed 5000 or so weddings. What does this mean to you? It means that no matter what the venue, no matter what is going on in your family, no matter what the weather, I can guarantee you will love your photos…..no matter what.
- I’ve got initials! Specifically Cr.Photog. and CPP. I’m kind of proud of those, because they weren’t just granted to me, I earned them. The first set of initials gives me the title of Photographic Craftsman and it basically means I’m qualified to teach the craft to other photographers. The second set of intials stands for Certified Professional Photographer. What does this mean to you? Again, it is a guarantee. It means that technically I can assess any situation and light it properly so that you get beautifully executed photographs, not snapshots. And that I know how to pose people. You aren’t going to look awkward in your photos, nor is your family.
- I’ve got equipment! Not just any equipment. There is a difference between a nice camera and professional camera. Pixels aren’t the end all in the quality of photos. There are many other factors, such as how does the camera handle low light levels, and can it “talk” to off camera flash equipment? And can it stand up to the rigors of professional use? What does this mean to you? Again, a guarantee. In these days of photographers who proudly profess to be “available light” photographers, I say that is very limiting. Yes, I use available light, when it is available. But I also use highly controlled off camera light, diffusion, and any other form of light necessary to get the job done.
That’s the outer. It’s important, but not as important as the inner. The inner has to do with my attitude towards weddings and to you, the client. Again, I love weddings. I happen to think they are indeed one of the most important events in a person’s life. I also think that my confidence and technical skill lends to a calmness and an efficiencly that not many photographers can claim. What does this mean to you? It means I will exude an calmness that will allow you and your guests to be calm as well. Yes, I’m a calming influence at a time when people have a tendency to be anxious. I happen to think that is an important asset to bring to a wedding.
That same lady who told me she did weddings because they paid the bills also told me she didn’t like weddings because she found them stressful. I could teach her to make more money on her portraits so that she wouldn’t have to do work that she didn’t want to do. I may mention that. For me, while I enjoy portraits, I’d rather do a wedding than a portrait any time. I bring a love of weddings to what I do for you, and it shows in the photos. I also bring a love of people. I love people, and I love to show them at their best, which is what I get to do at weddings.
So, if you are looking for a photographer who cares, who will love your wedding almost as much as her own, who will take the time to get to know you, and who will bring boatloads of experience and technical skill, as well as calmness and a sense of fun to your wedding, I’m your girl. Yes, you will pay a bit extra for it. I happen to think I’m worth it, and I happen to think you are worth it too.