Upload & Sell: Off
Sometimes you read something that reflects your own viewpoint so succinctly that it's almost like the author stole your brain. This is one of those articles. 4 and a half years in, I'm worried about the sameness of the clients I'm working with. I'm worried I'll get bored and with it the coverage will get boring. The best weddings I've ever shot are the ones I've had the most freedom during and one of the things I've lined up for the off season is a plan to sit-down and reassess what my intentions are during a wedding and how I can best achieve that. Zach's post makes a lot of sense and, as ever, I enjoy his style.
He doesn't however cover some of the realities of implementing a my-way-or-the-highway approach. Even at the weddings where I've been given oodles of free reign to shoot how I see fit, I get plenty of people coming up to me and asking for boring ass portraits or bridesmaids asking me to photograph the rings. The one that drives me most mad is the driver nearly always asking "Do you want to do the car shot at the venue?". What car shot? What world is this we live in where a shot with a car is not only expected, but seemingly so obligatory that the question is not "Do you want to do a car shot" but rather "where shall we do a car shot". This particular question incenses me internally. Externally I try and shrug it off. Likewise with the 'take my photo' moments or the 'shoot this detail'. Nonetheless I find that I produce the best work, and have the happiest clients when they are willing to relinquish control and offer trust.
Thanks for sharing such a fantastic article. I wouldn't recognise Zach Arias if he walked past me in the street, but I've been following his work for a while now and he strikes me as someone on the vanguard of photographic thinking and for that he has my respect.
With regards the 'embarrassed to be a wedding tog' issue, that's an interesting one. When I got into wedding photography I was quickly immersed in images by such astonishing photographers (particularly Jeff Ascough) that the possibility of not holding the medium in high-esteem didn't even occur to me. Over the last two years however I've had this nagging suspicion that those outside of the industry don't hold us in such high regard and that wedding photography could be viewed as a little passť. When I actually think about it, it's not hard to reason why, but I've never looked at the issue directly until recently and so it's largely been a feeling rather than a conscious realisation. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that great wedding photography is great photography - end of story. It's about walking a tight rope between the sublime and the gaudy and bringing gravitas and poignancy to something a million times more run of the mill than individual brides believe it to be. When it's done well, it's transcendent.
I'm sentient enough to notice when someone has a quiet snigger that I'm a wedding photographer rather than a commercial photographer, but I'm confident enough in the capacity of the medium (if not my own output) to simply nod, smile and know that they've simply never seen what CAN be done with wedding photography.
Wow. Interesting stuff. Really got me thinking.