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Archive 2013 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??
  
 
Photorph
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p.1 #1 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Just thinking, seems like quite a bit of people I know are doing wedding photography professionally on the side. Pretty simple, have an interest in photography and have a profession already? Why not buy a mark iii or a D3s with some good glass to do photography as a hobby, and then become a pro wedding photographer to get extra cash. It's a win-win situation.

With digital photography, I do agree it's easy to be a wedding photographer. If you are relatively intelligent, have enough cash to buy the latest and greatest, spend the time and learn how to use your gear, learn lightroom, and have somewhat descent compositions.... boom, you're a wedding photographer. I know it's still not THAT simple, but it's not that difficult.

I know doctors, engineers, chemists, dentists etc who are all very successful and working full time, but like photography as a hobby...and do wedding photography professionally on the side. The extra cash for them is just a bonus. And yes these individuals started from nothing, but became skilled photographers by learning on their own in a year or two.

Is there any hope left at all for someone who is planning on making their entire living from wedding photography?? For those that are doing just photography full time....just curious about what your thoughts are.



Jan 17, 2013 at 02:49 PM
bertpalmer
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p.1 #2 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


I think there are plenty of weddings to go around.

Your biggest challenge is building your brand and standing out from the crowd.



Jan 17, 2013 at 02:53 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #3 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


It's pretty simple... Friends of friends, uncle Bob etc were always asked to do weddings as a "favour" in the past for those who didn't have the cash. With film. That's pretty much how it starts today still... but after that, it's just general film to digital transition and what that brings with it (easier to use, to share, etc)


Jan 17, 2013 at 02:53 PM
RichardLavigne
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p.1 #4 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Photorph wrote:
And yes these individuals started from nothing, but became skilled photographers by learning on their own in a year or two.


I think the difference comes from how you define "skilled" I've met with, talked to and learned from many of the most skilled people in this industry.... The Chrismans, Dave and Quin Cheung, Jerry Ghionis, Joe Buissink, Todd Laffler, Roberto Valenzuela... the list goes on. Based on what I've seen of their work, I'd argue that the people you're describing above are not skilled, but are merely, technically competent. It is definitely true that the learning curve has shifted with the advent of digital... doors are now open to more photographers than ever before. I do NOT think that is a bad thing. To me, photography is an art and the more artists that are making art, the better. We all push ourselves, teach other... it still takes just as much dedication, skill, creativity to be a master though, that will never change.



Jan 17, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #5 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


That's pretty much how I started out. For my part, I pursued wedding photography because:

1) I want my photographs to be genuinely important to someone else. If I'm not doing work that has significance to someone, it's not valuable to me. By contrast, if it is significant to someone, it's highly rewarding. It is very disappointing to me when clients don't rave, and is very fulfilling when they do. Weddings are among the most important events people experience, so it's naturally attractive to me.

I suspect others respond this way, too: when people come here and say, "My friend begged me to shoot his wedding (who actually begs? almost no one), and I told her she should hire a pro but she insisted," why do they go forward with it? Because they're genuinely honored to do something important for someone close to them. And it's a high compliment. (And they vastly underestimate the risk, but that's another thread.)

2) I find people interesting, and find it rewarding to capture an image that is almost a caricature of the subject -- where people who know the subject blurt out, "wow, that's really Mike's personality."

3) I don't find other kinds of photography -- landscape, animal, macro -- photography that rewarding. It's technically interesting, and I appreciate other's work in these fields to varying degrees, but even when I produce good work with non-human subjects, I don't feel fulfilled.

So, I did my first couple of weddings as an unpaid second, and then did several at a cut rate while refining my approach.

I continue because I still find people photography fulfilling when it's important to someone else, and because I am motivated by the challenge of making the business profitable over a long term. I have a full-time job and don't depend on it for income, but profit is a motive to me at least as much to prove something to myself as to gain income.



Jan 17, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Mark_L
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p.1 #6 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


It's likely to be just the low and low-medium end of the market that will get hit


Jan 17, 2013 at 05:07 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #7 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Also, what people consider good art photography is pretty lame to me. Look at Instagram and FB and the many positive thumbs up people receive for a crappy edited mobile phone photos. Also look at many magazine covers today; the images are often horrendous

My work is not all that great but I sure as hell know what is excepted as good or great for photography today is mediocre at best. I'm mediocre and the masses with their great gear is not good at all.....but everyone is satisfied with it



Jan 17, 2013 at 05:14 PM
SloPhoto
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p.1 #8 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Ian Ivey wrote:
That's pretty much how I started out. For my part, I pursued wedding photography because:

1) I want my photographs to be genuinely important to someone else. If I'm not doing work that has significance to someone, it's not valuable to me. By contrast, if it is significant to someone, it's highly rewarding. It is very disappointing to me when clients don't rave, and is very fulfilling when they do. Weddings are among the most important events people experience, so it's naturally attractive to me.

I suspect others respond this way, too: when people come here and say, "My friend
...Show more


+1, almost identical story... but I am just t the beginning of it.



Jan 17, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Ghost
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p.1 #9 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


There used to be a time.... long long ago that wedding photographer is considered a joke in the professional photography circles. How times changed.


Jan 17, 2013 at 05:52 PM
dhp_sf
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p.1 #10 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


In some circles, wedding photography is still considered a joke. part of why so many get into it is because they think its easy. there's very few other professions that allow that low barrier of entry.

that said, i think that once people DO get into it they have much more respect for the profession, and then some more for the really innovative wedding photographers out there that create art on a limited timeline.

anyway, I think the low barrier of entry is the primary reason there are so many wedding photographers. I hope that it is sustainable full time. mostly for selfish reasons because i quit my day job. if i fail and end up on the streets, i'll find a Starbucks with wifi to report to you before selling my macbook for food money.



Jan 17, 2013 at 06:05 PM
 

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Daboyle
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p.1 #11 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


I still think some do consider it a joke. Being as well a fashion and collegiate sports photographer I can tell you that weddings are no joke- they are strenuous and you have to be quick on your feet and be able to capture moments as they unfold. I would rank it as one of the most difficult types of photography out there.


Jan 17, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Photorph
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p.1 #12 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


But to all the full-time wedding photographers who are doing this for a living, does it not make you nervous that the average Joe with another job can become a wedding photographer and basically get to the same point where you are? Except in his case he doesn't have to worry about if his business is profitable, because he has his full-time job that pays very well. The only one losing would be those that do this for a living.

If the average joe with a full time job can provide similar images as a professional photographer who is making a living off of wedding photography, then what reason would one have to go for the person who is doing this as their full time gig? And in my experience the person with the full-time job providing similar quality images usually charges less, because they are not dependent on photography for their profit.

I know an orthopedic surgeon (makes about 500k a year), he does wedding photography for about half the price of what others would charge and his work isn't too shabby. I know that he has won over a lot clients from people who were doing wedding photography for a living.

Then I know another person, just picked up his first dslr 2-3 years ago. Has about 15,000 likes on his Facebook page now and his work isn't that great at all.

Here is what I see in the future, unless you are well known and one of the top people in the industry, it will be impossible to just be a full time wedding photographer. I don't see how one can get a continuous income and make a decent living from just wedding photography because of how easy it is for others to enter this field.



Jan 17, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #13 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Photorph wrote:
But to all the full-time wedding photographers who are doing this for a living, does it not make you nervous that the average Joe with another job can become a wedding photographer and basically get to the same point where you are?


Sort of. But as someone who has done both things, I don't think that a part-timer is able to easily offer the same level of service as a full-timer... even if their work is just as good.

Photorph wrote:
If the average joe with a full time job can provide similar images as a professional photographer who is making a living off of wedding photography, then what reason would one have to go for the person who is doing this as their full time gig? And in my experience the person with the full-time job providing similar quality images usually charges less, because they are not dependent on photography for their profit.


I don't think a client has any reason to choose one over the other. But the full-timer has significant advantages and it's up to them to use the to create a reason to get hired.

Photorph wrote:
I know an orthopedic surgeon (makes about 500k a year), he does wedding photography for about half the price of what others would charge and his work isn't too shabby. I know that he has won over a lot clients from people who were doing wedding photography for a living.

Then I know another person, just picked up his first dslr 2-3 years ago. Has about 15,000 likes on his Facebook page now and his work isn't that great at all.

Here is what I see in the future, unless you are well known and one of the top people in the
...Show more

I'm still up in the air on whether or not I think this is true. For me I worry a lot more about factors like my age and my family situation than I do about new and part-time photographers.



Jan 17, 2013 at 08:28 PM
TRReichman
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p.1 #14 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Anyone can do the work, most people aren't interested in providing meaning. Nothing to worry about.

- trr



Jan 17, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Brian Virts
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p.1 #15 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Has anyone ever met a part-time photographer who said "I'm not going to shoot weddings because I don't want to steal potential work from a full-time photographer" I just don't think that mentality exists. People do it for all kinds of different reasons, everyone has their own story and place in life, we all on some level are doing it temporarily. I do believe however there should be a creed for artistic excellence in the industry, but I doubt there ever will be.

Edited on Jan 17, 2013 at 09:06 PM · View previous versions



Jan 17, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Inku Yo
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p.1 #16 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Photography is the easiest part of being a professional photographer.


Jan 17, 2013 at 09:02 PM
TheGE
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p.1 #17 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Photorph wrote:
But to all the full-time wedding photographers who are doing this for a living, does it not make you nervous that the average Joe with another job can become a wedding photographer and basically get to the same point where you are?


I've photographed weddings for some pretty influential people like magazine editors writers and art gallery owners, and the reason those couples hired me is because of my particular abilities and aesthetics. I don't think someone else can come sauntering along and easily get to the same point.

Especially if they're spending Monday through Friday focused on their work for their regular careers, not being a photographer. That will always be something which can be pointed to if you think the average Joe causes a full time photographer any worries.




Jan 17, 2013 at 11:33 PM
tobicus
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p.1 #18 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


Definitely a low entry barrier to the profession (far lower than a decade ago, or even two years ago). Combine that with the fact that the median household doesn't make any more money now than they did in 1999 after adjusting for inflation (50k then, 50k now), while lots of things have far outstripped inflation (e.g., healthcare, education), you've got lots of folks who see wedding photography as a legitimate way of making money who wouldn't have found it worth their time a decade ago.


Jan 18, 2013 at 02:10 AM
sboerup
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p.1 #19 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


I think being a full-time photographer can be very dependent on your market. I know a lot of east-coasters in areas with huge population density, and they seem to get bookings off the wazoo. Other areas seem to get very little, so it really depends on where you live to some degree. Doesn't mean you can't make a living off of portraits, commercial or other genres of photography.


Jan 18, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Scottgoh
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p.1 #20 · Why is everyone a wedding photographer these days??


not only must you be a good photographer.
you must also be a good
-PR
-advertiser that sells yourself (service) well - branding, image, etc
-businessman
-web design person (at least for me)
-able to spend on equipment to start up (of course capital investment here)
-purchaser who can source for gd yet cheap supplies
-... the list goes on.

well, at least i am learning.
Scott



Jan 18, 2013 at 04:04 AM
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