It's the end of the line for professional wedding photographers
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 three 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 to 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, photography was so different to today. 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 a look at some albums. There were probably about 4 or 5 of us nearby with similar setups, 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 complicated. 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!
Wedding venue: Manchester Art Gallery is Manchester's most famous gallery space and is available for hire for weddings and other events. The gallery can accommodate up to 500 guests for drinks receptions, and the dedicated wedding events staff can organise seated dinners for up to 120 guests. The catering team is lead by award-winning chef Mary-Ellen McTague, best known for her restaurant, Aumbry. . . Venue Website
Photographer: Shane Webber is a professional wedding photographer based in Manchester. Over the past nine years, Shane has photographed hundreds of weddings while developing his unique approach that combines natural wedding photography with contemporary processing. His work attracts couples who desire exceptional fine-art photography on their wedding day.
Documentary wedding photography is chasing me around the internet at the moment. No sooner do I leave one photography forum on Facebook because of a tedious argument than it turns up on another. You can’t escape it. The ‘Real’ documentary photographers get their lens caps in a twist over this one.
The issue usually starts with someone posting a link to a photographer’s website because they have used to term ‘documentary wedding photography’ but have featured images of people LOOKING at the camera. This is currently the biggest crime in the photography world. It used to be vintage post-production, but that seems to have disappeared now. Thank God.
These Facebook rows turn ugly for a straightforward reason - documentary wedding photographers are so precious about their ‘Art’, and anybody who uses the word ‘documentary’ in their marketing has to play by the rules or the self-appointed guardians of the term are quick to step in and proclaim their indignation. It can be brutal. I'm not sure when the Documentary Wedding Photography Police first appeared but they are everywhere and you'd better not mess with them.