What Makes a good wedding photographer?
A few weeks ago at a wedding, a young budding wedding photographer came over to me and asked about my camera and kit - so I chucked over my second camera and invited him to have a play. Afterwards, he asked me if I had any advice about getting into the business of wedding photography.
This is what I told him:
1. WORK HARD
Nothing comes to us in life if we simply want it. You have to push yourself. Get into unfamiliar, even uncomfortable situations to learn, grow and develop. Fail and get up again. Fail, and get up again. Fail and get up again, until one day you find yourself steady on your feet, ready to tackle the challenges ahead.
2. BE YOURSELF
The person behind the lens is as much a part of the brand as the pictures they take. Photography is your art, and you have to inject a little bit of you into it. You may be funny, quirky, or just a tad bit crazy - show it, and people will be drawn to you, wanting you to share their day with them. Don't act professional either, BE professional - be kind, thoughtful, attentive to the needs of clients and other suppliers, helpful, courteous and always, always, do the right thing. This is what professionalism is - the businessy stuff can be learnt as you go along.
3. APPRECIATE TIME
Time is a photographer's business - we freeze it forever in an image, but time is also fundamental in everything that we do. We have to manage our time - planning, meeting, shooting, editing and marketing, but we also need to balance this time with our families, friends and children. We have to take our time, on editing, getting to know our couples, and with our shy clients. It takes time to learn what we do and it takes time to build and develop our skills, experience and business. Don't always want things now. Appreciate time more than anything else, because without it, we have no experience to draw upon.
4. START BELIEVING IN LUCK, HUMBLY
You could be shooting a wedding with a £25k camera and a £10k lens. You could know your equipment and settings like the back of your hand. You could have 25 years of wedding experience and charge £5k for each wedding. And still miss the perfect shot. Every time you raise the camera to your eye and hover your finger over the shutter button, Lady Luck is sitting on your shoulder and she will decide if the image you capture is perfect or not. Never think that you alone captured an image, because a big chunk of the credit belongs to her. Be humble and thankful for every incredible moment you capture. After all, you climb the mountain to see the world, not so the world can see you.
5. LIKE AND UNDERSTAND PEOPLE
If you don't like the company of others, then you're going to be a shit wedding photographer. People make a great wedding. Without them, there'd be no wedding, no photographs, no you. Our job is to bring out the best in them and capture it on camera. Their personality and emotions, as well as their beauty. You're not going to be able to do that if you just rock up at a venue wanting to take pictures. Be "peopley", learn how they tick, or just stick to landscapes.
6. LOOK FOR MOMENTS, NOT PHOTOS
The difference between a nice image and an incredible image is simple: Emotion. When someone looks at a nice image, it may tickle the aesthetics receptors in their brain and please their eyes. When someone looks at an incredible image, it'll yank on those receptors and swing from their heartstrings to make them cry. A wedding photographer's job is to make people re-live their day, to FEEL the love, joy and tears all over again, not just see it. If they don't, then we've not done our job properly at all.
I thought this was advice worth sharing for any budding photographer following my page.
Good Luck! Literally!