Why I’m Giving Up Wedding Photography

It's the end of the line for professional wedding photographers

Giving up wedding photography

So that’s it, after 20 years as a professional wedding photographer and having covered countless weddings across the North West and the UK, I’ve decided this will be my last summer shooting weddings. Bookings for next year are looking a bit thin to say the least and to tell you the truth the business has changed so much in the last 3 years that I just can’t be bothered anymore. The increasingly demanding clients, the exponential growth in the number of photographers competing for bookings and the subsequent rapid decrease in fees means it’s just not worth it to me anymore. I just don’t like weddings that much that I’m prepared bend over backwards to stay in the game. Maybe I’m just getting too old for it!

Twenty years ago, pre-digital and pre-internet, it was so different. I got my work mainly through reputation and a bit of advertising. I had a small high street shop in the local town and pretty much anyone who was getting married would pop in to have look at some albums. There were probably about 4 or 5 of us nearby with similar set ups and we all knew each other and if we were already booked we’d recommend each other. Wedding photography was the best kept secret in the industry. Not as glamorous and exciting as some other areas of photography - but we all earned a great living and had a nice lifestyle. Other photographers wouldn’t touch a wedding with a barge pole. It was either seen as too dull or too difficult. We had assistants in those days not ‘second shooters’, tripods, Hasselblads, film and light meters. Photographers spent their time taking photographs rather than blogging about how lovely weddings are!

Then came the revolution. Digital cameras and the internet. The two great time sapping Satans that have basically destroyed photography as a way of earning a meaningful living. At first it didn’t seem too bad. The cameras were rubbish and setting up a web site was complicated, expensive and time consuming. Clients still came via referral and popped into the shop. Everyone still wanted a wedding album. What could possibly go wrong? 

The pace of change has been frightening. My phone now has a higher resolution camera built in than my first digital camera - and it’s better in low light. You can set up a website yourself in an afternoon and start advertising your £850, two photographer, unlimited all day coverage with free engagement shoot and disc of 1500 images ready for printing packages [that’s a bit of a mouthful - but seems to be the standard offering these days] on Google Adwords the same day. And everyone and his wife is doing it! 

I suppose the first big change was the reportage, photojournalist, documentary crew. Basically - former news and editorial photographers feeling the pinch because of the dwindling fees and lack of work in their area. Hey they said - “book a photojournalist for your wedding! No more standing in lines and posing. We’ll tell the real story of your wedding in an unobtrusive and natural way”. It’s a good sales pitch and worked well as some of the photographers are really brilliant and do an amazing job. Of course like all successful formulas it became easily copied or so they thought. Every keen amateur who’d dreamed of being a professional photographer or never quite made it in the editorial game jumped on board, as taking ‘casual’ snaps’ seems easy. Soon ‘natural, unobtrusive reportage wedding photographers’ were popping up all over the internet. Some good, some very good - some just awful snaps. We used to call it candids. There are thousands of photographers claiming to be wedding photojournalists - in reality there are probably only about 30 who are any good at it.

And so things changed. Wedding photography was no longer a well kept secret. Other photographers saw that a top wedding photographer typically charged between £1500-£4000 per day and scrambled aboard the gravy train. Problem is there are only ever really the same number of potential clients every year and once the gravy train became overloaded it slowed right down to a crawl before eventually coming to a halt in a siding. A new trend started and we all groaned. Vintage, rock ‘n’ roll, trendy cropping and washed out post-production. Lots of photos of bunting and shoes and details and details. Whereas the wedding photojournalists focused on the story and the people the new retro style photographers focused on fashion and it is really just a 2 hour fashion shoot in the middle of a wedding. Yawn. Fortunately because it’s fashion it’s probably already moved on and I’m just waiting for clients to want 25 group shots shots on a Hasselblad - surely it will be back in fashion again soon!

Of course it’s great for clients having all this choice but the competition for the dwindling number of brides prepared to spend a decent amount on their wedding photography has meant only one thing - declining prices which ultimately means the end of the full time professional wedding photographer. It is now becoming the domain of the keen part-time amateur living out the fantasy of being a professional photographer. The enquiries continue to flood in, “we’re looking for the cheapest photographer”, “ can you drop your price”, “we love your work but have found several others who are offering better deals”, “we’d also like a free engagement shoot, two photographers and all day coverage”, “our budget is £250 can you help”, “our friend was going to do our wedding photos but now he can’t, we don’t have any money left...” Sound familiar?

My advice to anyone getting married soon is to seek out the best professional wedding photographer you can afford and then borrow a bit extra to buy a top of the range wedding album - don't end up as one of the countless brides I hear about these days who is upset and disappointed after they receive their images.

So that’s it for me! I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ve had a great career and I’m coming up to retirement soon enough anyway - I don’t envy anyone starting out now because it’s going to be tough but good luck anyway. Anyone want to buy some second hand Canon gear? 

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Comments (38)

  • Lee Graham

    Lee Graham

    31 July 2013 at 16:31 | #

    Thanks for submitting this article - we weren't sure about publishing it but it is interesting how things have changed. Maybe people will eventually get the message and book a professional wedding photographer for their big day!

    reply

  • ThePhotoRetoucher

    ThePhotoRetoucher

    01 August 2013 at 14:00 | #

    Well said! Ive been on the forums and seen the wedding photography community give variations on this story, all be it from several angles. They all end up at one thing, is probably not worth it? I dont envy anyone in the wedding photography industry right now.

    reply

  • Ian Christy

    Ian Christy

    01 August 2013 at 19:26 | #

    Great article, I've been a pro for 30 years. Mainly,agencies,the business is dying because everybody is a snapper.
    I attended a very expensive wedding a year ago shot by two girls ala Reportage, very bright sunny day, shooting without fill-in flash. The pictures were rubbish as you can imagine, no idea but fitted the 'lifestyle image'.

    reply

    • Reel Life Photos Elaine

      Reel Life Photos Elaine

      06 August 2013 at 14:01 | #

      That's the trouble. Everyone is just after a bargain, but they don't realise that ultimately there is no substitute for experience, so gambling that your cheap wedding wedding photographer actually knows what they are doing - and a first time bride will struggle to know what is right and what is wrong, - until as you say, it is too late

      reply

  • Alan Hutchison

    Alan Hutchison

    01 August 2013 at 22:29 | #

    As a full-time Professional Wedding Photographer, the rumours of my death have been wildly exaggerated.

    reply

  • chris barber

    chris barber

    02 August 2013 at 09:16 | #

    this is the most exciting time the industry has ever experienced.

    so what if the commonly used gear has changed? carry on using your light meter. carry on shooting film. keep busting out that hasselblad - it's what separates you from everyone else in this industry.

    you had experience. again - this makes you unique.
    the internet has just increased accessibility. something, which if you had utilised properly, would've meant you could've had a far more fulfilling career right now.

    the emergence of more photographers has meant that brides have more choice than ever in terms of style + artistic approach. brides fall in love with your images + brand now - not your business structure + the fact that you had a studio.

    you've been beaten by the very people you're claiming have no skill etc.

    there's a load of photographers who are earning awesome livings, creating great work + love what they do.

    the industry has evolved. so what? photography is an art form - you shouldn't let what everyone else is doing have any influence on what you're doing.

    our opinions might be totally different on this but i'm sorry to see a photographer leave this amazing business.

    hope you find happiness elsewhere.

    reply

  • Chloe

    Chloe

    02 August 2013 at 09:20 | #

    I'm so sorry that your two decades of experience and honed skills are being cut short because of a few new trends and a new wave of photographer. Weddings have changed a lot in the past twenty years & therefore so have clients, dresses, venues, even food (tiny burger, anyone?) so of course, photography will naturally move along with all of those other changes. I'm really sorry that you feel that there's no longer room for a professional, full time photographer or that your style is no longer in demand. I often have people enquire trying to drive my pricing into the ground, I sometimes lose out on bookings as a result, but I choose to stick to my guns because I know what my work is worth to me & the clients I want to attract.
    In my opinion, all the internet has done is open up choice & competition, it's not killed anyone's career, except maybe that of the Yellow Pages. Times are up and down in most people's careers and you have to ride out the rough times and remember that you'll come through the other side, when you're good at what you do, which with 20 years behind you, I'm certain you are. Medium format film is sky-rocketing worldwide and the prices are likewise too (look at the talented Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Polly Alexandre & the like). Please don't give up something that you once enjoyed if you think you could ever enjoy it again. Keep your integrity, shoot what you love in the style that you love and weather the storm. You'll keep attracting your type of client & driving away those after all the styles you don't want to adopt. There really is room for us all.

    reply

  • Ellie

    Ellie

    02 August 2013 at 09:33 | #

    Ian, that is a ridiculously sexist comment. For all you know the couple were thrilled to bits with them and, at the end of the day, that's what matters. If the client doesn't want 25 group shots, then find what they do.

    Clients have a lot of choice these days - they are influenced by fashion, music and the things they love and they want their wedding day to reflect them.

    There is a whole other discussion about if you're not happy doing something then find what makes you happy but times are a changin'. People don't go to the high street to find goods or services any more, that's just the way life is. Smart phone technology and access to the Internet in our pockets have changed the way we do everything. You need to work with what you've got.

    reply

    • Antonia Bartolski

      Antonia Bartolski

      04 August 2013 at 16:06 | #

      Ellie, in what way is Ian's comment sexist? As far as I can see he just describes the photographers and their methodology and gives his professional opinion of the resultant photos. Would you have deemed him a sexist had he said, "I attended a very expensive wedding a year ago shot by two guys…"?

      reply

      • Rich

        Rich

        06 August 2013 at 11:51 | #

        I can't speak for Ellie, but yes, it would have been sexist if he had said "I attended a very expensive wedding a year ago shot by two guys…", but not as bad.

        Firstly, he used the term 'girls' instead of 'women', and it's unlikely that they were both under 18s, so this in itself is patronising. Secondly, and more importantly, their gender should be irrelevant.

        reply

        • Antonia Bartolski

          Antonia Bartolski

          07 August 2013 at 08:49 | #

          Rich, "…but not as bad." Think about it.

          'Girl' means 'young woman'.

          There is no *direct* link between patronisation and sexism.

          Gender is never irrelevant, but it's often treated as a big grey trunky thing in the room.

          reply

  • Alexa Clarke Kent

    Alexa Clarke Kent

    02 August 2013 at 09:46 | #

    I'm sorry that this secret wedding photographer feels this way but if they aren't enjoying weddings as much anymore then it's the right decision to make. You have given an interesting point of view.
    I'm not so impressed with the comment above about 'two girls ala reportage' Firstly, I assume that you mean two women? And secondly, different styles of photography are down to taste I think... In your opinion 'the photos were rubbish' I don't know these two women that you refer to nor the couple whose wedding they photographed but if the couple chose their particular style of shooting over anyones else's then that's up to them. People that chose to work in a creative industry shouldn't be threatened by other people's creativity.

    reply

    • Kris

      Kris

      05 August 2013 at 09:22 | #

      He may have meant two girls because like the different styles of photographers some people refer to the female gender as "girls' others "women". And maybe, just maybe they were rubbish. There are many good photographers, a few great photographers but the vast majority are rubbish.

      reply

  • Henri CB

    Henri CB

    02 August 2013 at 10:10 | #

    Where's Derek Pye when you need him?

    reply

  • Neil

    Neil

    02 August 2013 at 11:17 | #

    Hi secret photographer,

    Do you also struggle working your TV? My gran really struggled with hers as technology moved so fast. She got a frustrated that she couldn't keep up with it all. Sound familiar?

    Bob Dylan saw this coming along time ago...The times they are a changin, deal with it!

    Enjoy your retirement,

    Neil

    X

    reply

  • David

    David

    02 August 2013 at 12:20 | #

    The thing is - there are plenty of people who were around - 30 years ago making lots of money, and they're still making money today. It's not the digital age that's killed the industry, it's the accessibility that digital has offered people.

    It's not survival of the fittest, it's survival of the most adaptable. Evolve or die.

    I'm really sorry, I sit here and type this, acknowledging that things have become harder, but not impossible.

    You eluded to it in the first few paragraphs; in the old days you would make a decent living and the industry wasn't easily accessible. Sounds to me like you had it easy and were around when things were good, but now you're struggling because of a failure to adapt, market, network yourself.

    Also, the idea of yawning at reportage is an odd one...that's your opinion, but that's like a fashion designer being completely out of touch with what the current fashions are. if 80% of a market (a market saturated with weekend warriors calling themselves reportage shooters) are after reportage and you don't offer it, all you're doing is leaving yourself to scrap for the remaining 20% of the market. Poor economics really.

    Music wasn't always accessible to anyone who has had a decent voice, then the X-Factor came along. That didn't ruin the industry (although music has been awful for years now). People still break into the industry without the X factor and other awful shows like that. My point being with the hundreds of artists out there, how is one artist supposed to make a living? Answer: Stand out, make good music and get yourself out there.

    Instead of blogging about how your business has gone down the drain, get out there and market, socialise, sell your self, go into the local community. AKA - Work hard.

    reply

  • Kris

    Kris

    02 August 2013 at 20:29 | #

    What was wrong with the comment made by Ian..its not sexist at all. he was simply pointing out that it was two women. If it was two men or two cats I am sure he would have pointed out that also. On the general discussion I think that there are some very good photographers however the ones that have gone cheap to get the business have made a rock for their own backs. Apart from a few most clients under value good photographers. I have shoot weddings all over the world and it is much harder to convince creative clients that you are worth the extra money when others are so collectively cheap. The cream always comes to the top but its much harder. To be a doctor you have to train and can be penalised if you screw up. No one measures the or penalises the photographer who screws up

    reply

    • ian christy

      ian christy

      04 August 2013 at 13:44 | #

      Exactly! shot many Reportage weddings, the
      point is, nothing is new, and price is everything.

      reply

  • Nigel

    Nigel

    03 August 2013 at 10:39 | #

    I have been at the wedding photography business for just over 13 years and came into it just after purchasing a medium format etc, but then within a few months got my first digital and did not look back. I suppose i was lucky to start just at the time of the revolution combining digital with the net.

    I do know that wedding photography is a very small part of the wedding photography business, if you want to be successful and full time. You are completely spot on saying that the web is time sapping, continued site maintenance, blogging, social networking on all the various networks, wedding shows, the list goes on and is ever changing. On the one hand I was glad to see the back of Yellow pages, but on the other hand would swap back to that medium in an instant if I thought it would work, it took up allot less time!

    The market is changing the whole time! So are the styles and approaches to the photography, I put this down to the wedding blogs and social media, and the massive influx of "amateur" photographers hitting on something that seems to resonate with some of the net.

    There is no right and wrong in art forms, but there is a right and wrong in business, and I myself struggle with the business side as I know my brain is more balanced towards art, and no artist ever made a great business man "Alan Sugar".

    reply

    • Shauno

      Shauno

      15 August 2013 at 14:08 | #

      Maybe Alan Sugar has never heard of Tretchikoff a brilliant "kitch painter" who was a master businessman and made a fortune(while he was still alive).

      reply

  • Mike

    Mike

    03 August 2013 at 14:19 | #

    Hi. I Love portrait photography and consider myself an enthusiast photographer. I'm not a snapper and I don't undertake photographic work. You are the pro's and have the skills to tell a story. The use of smartphones and pocket cameras is all very well but what happens to the images? Most are deleted, some end up on social media sites to be viewed a few times and then lost in cyberspace only to be forgotten.

    After a while the happy couple realise that they only have a few poor quality images and fading memories. Nothing to pass on to future generations.

    It is vitally essential that you get the marketing right, Go on a course, employ a good sales person if needs be. Offer videography too.

    Take a short break and photograph subjects that you love for the sheer pleasure of it and get that enthusiasm back.

    I work for myself carrying out property maintenance and I too have to compete for a dwindling market and sadly lose work to untrained, cash only operatives who have little or no knowledge of construction or legislation and no public liability insurance etc. Also found out this morning that I can no longer pay my bills. So what's next? Marketing training, Getting employment? Who knows. Maybe diversify and build studio sets.

    I hope you get the passion back and I sympathise with your plight as I think we are both in the same boat.

    reply

  • Derek Pye Wedding Photography

    Derek Pye Wedding Photography

    04 August 2013 at 12:21 | #

    I believe this article is a fabrication - the idea that anybody would want to give up wedding photography is absurd. Some unlimited coverage all day two wedding photographer teams must be earning nearly £8000 each if they are shooting 40-50 weddings a year. That's only 20-25 days work each if you think about it. Who would turn down £8000 for for only 20 days work!! - it's madness. On a pro-rata basis this is nearly £250000 a year!. Crazy to suggest anybody would pack that it. And weddings are lovely and you get to be a professional wedding photographer with all the kudos and respect you can eat. Nuts to give that up! All the best Derek

    reply

    • Antonia Bartolski

      Antonia Bartolski

      04 August 2013 at 16:17 | #

      Irrefutable logic, Derek. Wedding photographers are quids in, end of story!

      reply

    • Melanie Lebel-Potter

      Melanie Lebel-Potter

      06 August 2013 at 09:46 | #

      I have two big issues with this comment:

      - The £8000/wedding is the exception, not the rule! The average spent by couples with their wedding photographers is well below this.

      - I spend a bare minimum of 40 hours (more like 60 hours...) working on each wedding once you include meetings with clients, processing and album design. This doesn't include admin or marketing (bridal fairs, anyone?).

      You take into account that good quality wedding albums cost hundreds of pounds to get printed even at trade price, the price of PROFESSIONAL equipment, insurance and all the rest (Website, Marketing, Computers). I am sorry to report that it is far from easy to make a living in this business. It is possible but wedding photographers are certainly not "quids in"!

      However, I do agree that if you are a high end wedding photographer who can charge £8000 per wedding you'd be looking at giving up a job that brings you close to£100,000 a year for a full time job (You have to pay that second shooter, right? You also do not shoot these weddings with only £2000 worth of equipment...) I'd certainly keep it!

      reply

      • Antonia Bartolski

        Antonia Bartolski

        07 August 2013 at 09:06 | #

        Melanie, it all comes down to talent in the end, doesn't it?

        It's generally accepted that Derek is the best wedding photographer in the UK, if not the world. Ergo, he is the benchmark by which all other – lesser – wedding photographers must judge their worth. Given this, I am more than happy to accept his back-of-a-fag-packet calculation. The cream always floats to the top, remember.

        reply

  • Jackie Meredith

    Jackie Meredith

    05 August 2013 at 09:06 | #

    It's really sad that you have decided to retire early. I know times have changed. Maybe you could run some photography workshops passing all your knowledge, skills and wisdom onto others. Seems a shame to waste it. Good luck with your next chapter.

    reply

  • John Snowden

    John Snowden

    06 August 2013 at 17:21 | #

    Every individual has to make there own comment, be it about the future, women/girls, standard of photography etc. Times have moved on and some do get tired, I shot my first wedding when I was 20 (birthday yesterday) I am now 64, in that 44 years I have made decisions that sometimes I regret and others that I was proud to make, its a continual learning curve. I have done the same as described at the start of this thread, thrown in the towel to find another direction in photography, trying to push the boundaries, but I returned to a different market, but its nice to adapt. Today its easy for someone (Not being Sexist ??) to buy/borrow a digital and deliver some pictures, but experiance and professionalism sets the photographer apart from the amature snapper, if that is what the clients want to buy, let them, I also do not push my work down the throat of any prospect, I give them my portfolio ask them the personalised requirements and price it, that is the end take it or leave it. I also thought that the suggestion of sharing your knowledge was a great idea, and maybe the next step in your life, if of course you wish to make that step. Whatever you decide, Good luck for the future.

    reply

  • Dawn Darby

    Dawn Darby

    06 August 2013 at 22:19 | #

    I like others on this thread feel that its a shame that you are giving up your once loved career because of the newbies that come onto the seen...I suppose I am a newbie compared to you by only being in the business for 12 years but flow with the times rather than fighting against it, I got to a point where I was panicking that my work wasn't as "on trend" as the new breed of photographer popping up but like others have said recommendation is key and all but four of my weddings this year have been through word of mouth. I have lowered prices slightly and offer Discs and USB sticks but that is only after listening to potential customers. Good quality albums cost a fortune and when trying to pass that onto customers they don't want to spend the money because there "uncle can do it cheaper online" so if you can't beat them..join them!!! I think nowadays we all have to work a lot harder to get the work and it won't just fall in your lap but that makes it so much more rewarding when you do land the next job! I hope you have a change of heart but if not good luck in everything you do!

    reply

  • Kris

    Kris

    07 August 2013 at 08:16 | #

    The only way forward for photographers is to "not go" cheap. In every business where you drive prices down and down sooner or later you all go bust or the day will come when some smart alec will come up with a new concept called "let's pay the client to shoot the wedding" I would rather give up than sell my art/skill cheap to suit the market. The only people who can work like that those who do it as a hobby. If more photographers kept their prices higher clients would see it as something to aspire to and save for. There are some great photographers around who's wedding work is original and creative but they are few and far between.

    reply

  • Lina Orsino

    Lina Orsino

    07 August 2013 at 08:28 | #

    Sorry to hear you have thrown in the towel, but Chris Barber hits the nail on the head, this industry is still very exciting and it's up to you to make your clients want you and therefore pay for you. We raised our prices last year and it's opened up a whole new calibre of client who see our skill, expertise and more importantly, passion for its worth, and wouldn't dream of giving the hugely important task of their photography to someone who offers to do it for £400. The couples who chose them are not our clients and you know what, that's ok! Everyone has their price and budget, but we put the work in to find the ones we want who will appreciate how hard we work for them. As Dawn says, we may have to work a little harder to find them but that is part of the job. If your heart is not in it any more then it is good you are moving on, couples deserve a wedding photographer who is as passionate about their day being awesome as they are. Good luck with whatever you go on to do and hope you can find something to make you happy as you've obviously earnt it.

    reply

  • Terence

    Terence

    07 August 2013 at 10:26 | #

    There has been some great discussions on this subject and there are a couple of things that always crop up and yet they are the most important things when it comes to business and competition.

    The first is cheap competition, we all know that you get what you pay for and over time people will change their way of thinking because as more people go for inexperienced photographers the horror stories will increase and people will learn (the hard way).

    Competition should be welcomed no matter on the cost or quality. It's a perfect excuse to take your business, brand and/or image to the next level, ensuring you're always ahead of the game. It doesn't mean you have to go all out and start providing skydive wedding photography shots or do the whole shoot from the top of a mobile platform. It means whatever makes you unique should shine and if it doesn't then it's really not that unique is it?!

    I suppose the best way to put it is that everyone has to start somewhere and I truly believe that things have a way of working themselves out (the saturated market that is) and we are all in control of our own destiny, so ride the waves and come out of the other side victorious!

    reply

  • Mette Laurent

    Mette Laurent

    07 August 2013 at 18:45 | #

    Oh, where to begin:) I am a "girl" (36;) ) with a camera. I have shot as a hobbiest for a few years, and I am shooting my second wedding on Saturday. For a cousin who would otherwise not get as nice pictures as I am able to give them. And yes, they are getting a discount. I am actually exactly the kind of new photographer, that makes you want to retire.

    No, I don't have decades of experience shooting traditional wedding group photos on film using a lightmeter. But I do have an incredible love for photos and taking photos. I have an eye for situations, poses and light and I know how to work my camera to get what I want. No, not all my photos are keepers, but thank God, I shoot digital;)

    I am not taking a 3 thousand dollar wedding gig away from anyone, because the couples I shoot would never be able to pay that much anyway, and they would be stuck with uncle Bob.

    For the past few years I have heard so many ..older photogs complain about the changing industri, and it just gets really old. Then change with it. This anonymous photographer mocks how photographers shoot the wedding details and finds it boring. What he fails to realize is that brides spend years and tons of money to create the perfect setting for their big day: flowers, decorations, table settings, the dress, shoes, hair, cake etc, and it is all gone the next day: but beautiful photos of these things make them last and they are so important. Brides now a days WANT fashion, they want to look back at their wedding and see how amazing everything was, how everybody had a good time and all the moments. Not just 25 pictures of people posed on a line. They want what they see in the bridal magazines. Give it to them, instead of complaining people no longer appreciate your style.

    There is a fashion in every industry. We don't wear clothes and hair like it was 1983, why would we want our wedding photography look like it was shot in 1983?

    reply

    • Kris

      Kris

      08 August 2013 at 15:57 | #

      Oh dear.....At 53 now I was shooting pre-weddings when no-one did them, I shot detail when it wasnt the expected thing to do. However I think your comments "Mette" are a little simplistic. The trend now is retro so doing shots "as done" in 1983 surely is "on trend" so to speak. Tongue firmly in cheek of course. And as an art school trained, creative agency designer ( in days gone by ) photography was and still is about creating art what ever market you work in. Not just doing what the client says. If that was the case you would not need a photographer. The purpose of using a creative person is to achieve something creative..

      reply

  • Simon

    Simon

    17 August 2013 at 21:28 | #

    "Digital cameras and the internet. The two great time sapping Satans that have basically destroyed photography as a way of earning a meaningful living."

    - or maybe they have made it possible to make a great living from wedding photography like never before, have raised the profile and status of wedding photography and created a demand for it with brides like never before?

    Maybe it's a good thing that photographers no longer need the expense of a high street shop and can set up with just a website? Maybe it's a good thing that no matter where you are located you can attract clients from around the world who are crazy about your work and ready to pay well for it? Maybe it's a good thing that inspirational photography is becoming one of the must-haves for a wedding, that clients are willing to spend more on photography than almost any other aspect of their wedding, and that photographers with talent are able to showcase their work effectively and attract a volume of multi-thousand pound paying gigs so that they're booked up years in advance and brides are competing to book them? Maybe it's a good thing that the status of some wedding photographers has become so high that they are becoming almost stars, with a cult following?

    Just a thought.

    reply

  • Ed Brown

    Ed Brown

    02 January 2014 at 17:07 | #

    Having now been in the industry 10 years (bloody hell) for me every day had been something too look forward to - it's someone's wedding day and they chose me to photograph it - the second that dies within me I will quit - it's unfair on the clients to get second rate me. People are now booking people on look, brand and personality, yes images are important but that's a given you take great photos, as that's why you meet them and go through the wedding styles and explain what you do so they can decide what is best for them. I would never get sour grapes if they preferred someone over my work as it's personal preference.

    It saddens me that people keep bashing the new photographers or the photographers who charge £500 for a full wedding day, yeah that's not going to make you a living but I am not competing against these people I am trying to attract the couples that value what quality photography is - sometimes people bash the industry but sometimes you just need to work out where you sit within clients budgets as there are so many magazines and blogs saying get this service cheaper and how to do things for free etc - quite frankly in 2014 it's about being bold, being you and being sociable. Sometimes if your heart isn't in it the bold move is to do something else - the industry will be vibrant we need to as professionals show what makes us different - it's easier to bash others but in reality the better move is to be yourself and make the most of our lives. I take my hat off to anyone in this industry wether 5 weeks or 50 years in - peace and much love :)

    reply

  • Conall McKay

    Conall McKay

    24 October 2016 at 15:51 | #

    I can understand the frustration of full time wedding photographers feeling it's not worth it anymore. But in the end the only way is to aim for the high end bracket if you feel that way. This obviously means being innovative, continually pushing yourself to improve. It is a modern reality that one cannot just expect to learn photography as a skill and use the same old methods & style of work to produce a reliable if predictable product. There will always be some who aim for the lowest end of the market either because they are just starting out (which is fair enough) or because a substantial number of clients can't tell the difference between a good and a bad photograph so obviously that will be exploited by the opportunists. It's useless trying to compete with these. In the end it is to everybody's benefit that the market has widened so much because 1) it ensures only the best (artistically and in business terms) survive at the top & ensures against complacency among full time professionals 2) it gives the customer real choice from cheap and often awful (but if some clients can't tell the difference what's the problem & if they can & hate their photos they deserve what they get for paying so little) - to the best artistic photographs and best service at the high end. I do understand that it's getting harder, but maybe it was about time that wedding photography changed from being a skill to an art form.

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  • Andrew Miler

    Andrew Miler

    24 October 2016 at 15:53 | #

    Great, more work and clients for me. 2016 has been quiet compared to the last 8 years and I'm down 10 weddings. Profit is the same as I raised my prices by upping my game , why be bitter and twisted about it?

    2017 is looking execellent with 50% of my max 40 bookings already taken.

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  • peter

    peter

    24 October 2016 at 15:59 | #

    I saw an interesting quote last week , it basically said this my generation paid for music and got David Bowie, motorhead, John lennon, the bee gees etc YOUR generation didn't pay for music and got steps, one direction, Michelle mc manus, and countless the voice wannabees who became chip paper.

    I guess what I am trying to tell people is that you need to show your wedding clients the real difference between iPhone photographers and what you can do. You only get one chance to get it right.

    It's the equivalent of vinyl compared a highly compressed mp. The wheat from the chaff in photography terms terms will take place.

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