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Archive 2013 · Someone told me weddings can become...
  
 
form
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p.1 #1 · Someone told me weddings can become...


repetitious and uncreative. Another photographer locally who also does weddings said it. He said he can only stand to do weddings because in between he gets to shoot other things that keep the spark of interest and creativity going.

I agreed that some aspects were repetitious and some demands (in Vegas, the las vegas sign/fremont street/strip tour/etc.) are very similar, but there are still many opportunities to do different types of photos for each client and creativity is still involved.

What do you think? The fact is, almost everyone wants photos of....bride hair/makeup, other people interacting in/around getting ready rooms, processional emotions w/groom's expression as bride walks down, rings, kiss, any other ceremonial events, group formals, b&g posed/otherwise photos, grand entrance, first dance, mom/son dad/daughter dance, others having fun, other reception events...they are redundant.

Some of the best angles to capture the shots are also redundant. Bride looks at groom, framed from side, from behind shoulder, close, far away. Church/ceremony site full spread wide angle, closer/35mm, and closer again 85mm/70-200mm. Focus on parents watching ceremony (possibly with context, e.g. b&g in background), bridesmaids, groomsmen, try to catch emotions from these most important people as well as b&g, children being silly if around...catch the hugs to parents, try to get the face of the parent/etc...

But these things present their own challenges, like space, permission for freedom of movement, and what expressions people actually have.

Grand entrance, just like processional, is pretty redundant. However, younger wedding parties often dance and the challenge becomes getting a few in-focus shots of them doing whatever they are doing at the peak and without really stupid-looking faces. Always a work in progress to get that right...the other important thing I find difficult with grand entrance is trying to get the party around the persons entering to show that it's not just an empty cave they're walking into. Food photos, usually get those...usually backlit. Same for other details. Everyone wants detail photos of how they personalize their reception. Capture life and fun and motion in the dancing. This is always a challenge to get just right, but sometimes I re-learn something I forgot...the 35mm does this very nicely sometimes, given just about the right distance from the subject (somewhat in-your-face), it can draw viewers into the experience sometimes without even seeing the full body motion. I really need to write down exactly how to do this next time I remember it.

Which brings me to another point that I really have to STOP doing (I tell myself this all the time)...I don't need to always expose faces to normal levels, and I don't always need to get the entire face, head, body, etc., in the frame. I constantly forget these (besides waist/shoulders crops).

group posing for big groups 20+ is a chore unless I have an unusual vantage point (e.g. above), in which case it can be done both more easily and more fun. Groups of 10 or less give much easier opportunities for longer lenses and more experimenting with posing besides the standard...provided we 1. have time for different poses for each person, and 2. we have the right personalities. I find it hard suggesting anything outside straight-forward basic group posing for older, more serious people including parents, and virtually impossible to try if they don't understand or speak English well...

Posing b&g, well, I've never been that happy with how I do this, and I have definitely fallen into patterns and predictable rerun shot ideas that I need desperately to get out of. So much can be done if you just know how, but the knowhow I have slips away most times when I'm actually doing it, so I don't think of different framings, poses, uses of environment, etc...until the wedding is over. The repeating mental block of doom. But variety and creativity is still possible here, once you have gotten must-have shots like solo headshots. A lot of clients want photos of them walking, holding hands with her looking back at me, leaning against an edifice of some sort, or having a specific background around the Strip...and then the rest is up to me.

So I disagreed about weddings not having opportunities for creativity and challenge. Time limitations yes, but there are still opportunities.

Feeling underappreciated, feeling like just another GWC is something else the other photog mentioned happens with weddings. I have not felt this way often, but I did at one recent wedding where it seemed like all I was there to do was take photos on demand, like I could just come over here or there and snap a photo of this or that...I don't remember the details anymore, but I remember getting that distinct feeling like I was not considered to be more capable at taking interesting, good photos than anyone else with a camera on that day. I wondered if I was another GWC. Sometimes I believe I am not far off from that, and then I rebel against that because I specifically desire to be much better than a GWC. I want my photos to stand out in photographic aesthetics and appeal. I want to be the one who really does know what they're doing with posing, framing, making photos interesting and multi-dimensional while capturing the story effectively and much better than others could.

But I don't often feel like the clients consider me just another GWC, and so I told the other photog this isn't usually the case for me.

He did have another suggestion I thought was good: Shoot something for yourself. Something besides weddings. I like this idea, and I would like to shoot model photos or couples photos. But first I need to find the right opportunity for this...

Does anyone here feel that weddings can become repetitive, uncreative? Do you ever feel underappreciated by your clients?



Jan 05, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #2 · Someone told me weddings can become...


I am sure many will disagree given the variety of things we shoot during a wedding day for a full day of coverage but I can definitely see where he is coming from.

One problem with weddings is almost everything is a huge compromise so almost every shot is the best shot given the constraints of time, location, appropriateness, ceremony photog restrictions, couple’s preferences, time of day etc. which can feel stifling and frustrating.

The other is that although you shoot your vision, it is your vision of someone else’s wedding and you are usually ‘editing out’ rather than really creating something which is very different to say a fashion shoot where you create something from the ground up and control everything.

The frustration from constant compromise and restriction means I could never ever shoot only weddings and could never be a full time pro. I must shoot my personal work and what I am driven to create or I’d go crazy. I constantly fight myself because I know I could create a great shot given a bit more time, a different time of day, bride not worrying about her dress getting dirty etc.

I do find it odd that wedding photography seems to be one of the only areas of photography where personal work seems to be rare which I always find surprising. Are most wedding photographers totally creatively fulfilled photographing other peoples’ weddings? I guess as photographers we are all wired in different ways.



Jan 05, 2013 at 05:36 PM
RichardLavigne
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p.1 #3 · Someone told me weddings can become...


I think the person that said that is doing a disservice to their clients... if you're uninterested, get the fcuk out.

I love this job because, while every wedding has the same elements, they are almost always implemented differently, with each couple injecting their own personal style and taste... Additionally, we are in this to capture emotion and interaction... to tell the story of our couples and their friends and family... that is never the same and it is always unique.

I do agree that shooting something for yourself is a good idea too, though... I'm currently doing an on-going 365 project of our son... as well as exploring shooting film again, both with current 35mm technology, older manual focus 35mm technology and also rangefinder tech.



Jan 05, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #4 · Someone told me weddings can become...


When shooting a wedding becomes mundane and boring and routine, I will find another job.


Jan 05, 2013 at 05:56 PM
SloPhoto
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p.1 #5 · Someone told me weddings can become...


I have only second shot 5 weddings now, but I am just starting to see how it can become "work" and not just fun. There is far more structure/repetition to the shots, and many clients would prefer safe shots that are in focus over a photographer who pushes hard for every frame to be interesting.

Weirdly enough, I think in some ways my day job (engineering) offers more opportunities for creativity, and has less repetition. It is a weird realization to have.

I am still looking forward to shooting more weddings this year, but I can definitely see how full time pros can get burned out.

Edited on Jan 05, 2013 at 09:02 PM · View previous versions



Jan 05, 2013 at 07:21 PM
johnrg
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p.1 #6 · Someone told me weddings can become...


RichardLavigne wrote:
I love this job because, while every wedding has the same elements, they are almost always implemented differently, with each couple injecting their own personal style and taste...


Completely agree.



Jan 05, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #7 · Someone told me weddings can become...


Form, do you realize how pitiful you sound?

STFU and shoot.

Every single wedding I shoot is a new experience, with new people and a chance to push the envelope again. All those standard shots you listed are the foundation all the cool risky shots are built on.



Jan 06, 2013 at 12:20 AM
BGP1
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p.1 #8 · Someone told me weddings can become...









Jan 06, 2013 at 04:05 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #9 · Someone told me weddings can become...


You're so depressing dude. Time to put you in hiding mode, I don't need more negative energy in my life.


Jan 06, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Jamesbjenkins
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p.1 #10 · Someone told me weddings can become...


TTLKurtis wrote:
You're so depressing dude. Time to put you in hiding mode, I don't need more negative energy in my life.


Didn't realize there was a "shut this guy up" button. Best idea ever.

Form, nothing but love. I really hope you have confidence at least somewhere in your life. I'm done reading your self-loathing drivel.



Jan 06, 2013 at 04:21 AM
 

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widjayaman
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p.1 #11 · Someone told me weddings can become...


I don't get the hate? I actually thought that was a rather well-written self-analysis unlike form's typically depressing posts.

Form, I feel like mental blocks during your weak areas are often caused by fear of failure. Someone very wise once taught me something that has been so liberating ever since I heard it: "your clients hired you because of your past work." This means your past work is good enough for them. You are under no pressure whatsoever to go beyond that. When you strive to do better, it means you won't ever fail.

And no, I don't think weddings are boring and repetitive. Catholic weddings.. well that's another story.



Jan 06, 2013 at 04:47 AM
tobicus
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p.1 #12 · Someone told me weddings can become...


We haven't done enough to become bored of them. We just need more clients!


Jan 06, 2013 at 06:28 AM
mccallmedia
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p.1 #13 · Someone told me weddings can become...


Weddings aren't boring for me at all. I shoot other things but I look forward to every one of em and find them to be the most exciting assignments I tackle.

This might sound retarded but I've found shooting things with my iPhone and editing/sharing to instagram has helped keep me excited about photography. It's pretty nuts what you can do with a phone camera nowadays and it's always on me so that's pretty awesome.

But yeah, shooting for yourself is always a great idea whether it be iPhone, film, the same gear you shoot weddings with, whatever. It's hard to remember to do that sometimes but one of the funnest things I've done was a street shooting project I shot on film with a K1000.

As far as being under appreciated goes... I've never really felt that way. I don't think they would pay me what they do if they were just looking for an uncle bob



Jan 06, 2013 at 06:39 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #14 · Someone told me weddings can become...


form wrote:
Do you ever feel underappreciated by your clients?


Oh, yes, I do. Way too often! Maybe a third of the jobs or so ... I go through the Big Day feeling I'm not being given much respect or appreciation. And when the client acts that way towards you, the family and wedding party pick up on this and then they, too, hold you in that same regard.

It's a bummer working under those conditions and usually the pictures from those jobs turn out to be nothing special because of the poor interaction between photographer and subjects.



Jan 06, 2013 at 07:18 AM
evertdoorn
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p.1 #15 · Someone told me weddings can become...


just take a look at, for instance, the lastest Fearless award collection and there you have an answer regarding the creativity-bit.


Jan 06, 2013 at 09:45 AM
nolaguy
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p.1 #16 · Someone told me weddings can become...


widjayaman wrote:
I don't get the hate? I actually thought that was a rather well-written self-analysis unlike form's typically depressing posts.


+1

A worthwhile reflection, Joey. No slam intended but I'm glad to see something besides self-loathing from you.

Chuck



Jan 06, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Marcus Watts
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p.1 #17 · Someone told me weddings can become...


Jamesbjenkins wrote:
Form, do you realize how pitiful you sound?

STFU and shoot.

Every single wedding I shoot is a new experience, with new people and a chance to push the envelope again. All those standard shots you listed are the foundation all the cool risky shots are built on.


Not to be disrespectful but i would love to see an example of an image that has pushed the envelope.



Jan 06, 2013 at 01:16 PM
RichardLavigne
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p.1 #18 · Someone told me weddings can become...


D. Diggler wrote:
Oh, yes, I do. Way too often! Maybe a third of the jobs or so ... I go through the Big Day feeling I'm not being given much respect or appreciation. And when the client acts that way towards you, the family and wedding party pick up on this and then they, too, hold you in that same regard.

It's a bummer working under those conditions and usually the pictures from those jobs turn out to be nothing special because of the poor interaction between photographer and subjects.


So why are you booking these clients? I'd argue that if you aren't happy working for this type of client... find a way to identify them and don't take their jobs. I think that all of the couples we've worked with have respected us and enjoyed working us... they are personally interested in our success as a business. I think that too few photographers have really sat down and identified what their ideal client is. What they do for a living, they like to do for fun, how old are they etc.... this can seem like a daunting thing to, especially out of thin air. but I've found the best way to get their is to look at past clients and find the ones you've enjoyed working with the most.... then learn about them... what did they do for a living? where did they go to school? what do they do for fun? what music do they like? How did they meet? how did he propose? The next obvious question is... how do you attain all of this info... pretty simple... you ask. If you aren't asking these questions or learning about your couples in some other way then it doesn't really surprise me that they aren't interested in or respectful of you, because you aren't interested in them.... if you change this, your client will change... try it and see.



Jan 06, 2013 at 02:36 PM
form
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p.1 #19 · Someone told me weddings can become...


As for feeling underappreciated, I definitely didn't realize the last couple was that way until the wedding day...and again, it doesn't happen often for me.

I think one of the things that made me feel that way on that day was that they had a "hobbyist photographer" family friend walk with me the entire time I was taking posed b&g photos and take her own photos of my poses so she could rush to print several of them for the reception...and during that time, I felt like everything the person shot could have been something on a similar level of quality to what I shot (e.g. framing, etc.). And I saw the photos she printed that night, and they weren't bad...and that made me feel more like I really am just a GWC, because here was this hobbyist doing good framing ideas of my same poses (different angles from mine) and editing them quickly and making them come out rather nice in only a few hours.

Did they do any posing? No, not really, I did all the posing. However, she did utilize the poses fairly well, sometimes creatively. I felt like what I would provide the clients in 3 weeks wouldn't be much different from what she provided in a few hours. So what knowledge did I really have that made my photos better than a GWC (or ...GirlWC), or did I really have any such knowledge? And what of the angles I could have shot the same things at that she saw and which were pretty good? Why didn't I see those angles myself?

So it opened another door of self-doubt for a time. I did let it go after the wedding was over, but I am often reminded by the creativity of others that my mind blanks far too frequently when it comes to doing things outside a pretty standard-feeling set of framings and angles. I wish I could get my mind to NOT blank.

I think that I am personally very deeply connected to music (being a musician before anything else may be related), and I find that music evokes my emotions and sometimes draws out my creativity. Sometimes, the feelings music draws out let me imagine physical poses that seem to express those feelings. I would really like to build a collection of some music that really brings out wedding-creativity-friendly emotions for me and use them on a nice speaker I have strapped to me somehow. I have a mini-speaker that fits on my belt (my first effort), but it's not good enough sound quality. I am seriously thinking about a battery-powered flat panel-shaped speaker with ipod mount/dock/3.5mm jack and good sound quality. I fear the Bose price, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are who I ultimately go to.



Jan 06, 2013 at 03:11 PM
awad
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p.1 #20 · Someone told me weddings can become...


what. no. don't play music from a speaker on your belt during a wedding.


Jan 06, 2013 at 05:53 PM
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