Last week I had a Saturday off - unheard of in August in the good old days - and I went to a friends Birthday party in Prestwich. It was great to be out with my lovely wife at the weekend rather than waiting for the first dance to start in a green cast grim marquee in Cheshire. If ever I’m out on the weekend all I get is the same question, “ Not working?”. Then I’ll be introduced to someone I don’t know, and once they find out I’m a wedding photographer, they will invariably tell me they hated their wedding photographs - funny how you never meet anyone who actually liked their pictures. At this party, I met a recently married bride from London who told me a fascinating story which illustrates how even smart, smart couples can end up with some terrible wedding photos. Hopefully, this will serve as a cautionary tale for brides to be...
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!