i wanted to share my response to a blog entry from another photographer, jared polin. i've mentioned him before in my blog. very cool photog, with cool afro-ish hair, that has shot for Rolling Stones (cool!). his blog is full of tips, stories, songs, video, and funny asides. his blog entry today was a "rant" about how photographers should help other photographers. i thought this was very interesting, seeing that a couple days before he was ranting about newbie photographers breaking into the wedding business in another blog entry. i had to read this, immediately thinking that these two rants are contradictory. i needed to investigate.
his first rant was about newbies, kind of struck a chord with me. i've been shooting weddings, professionally for about three years now. i still have a day job, that i respect and like. i shoot weddings and portraits because i love the art of photography and the relationships i make with people. i love documenting their joyous moments. it's a challenge to me every time i shoot, to be better.
at first, i was taken aback by the rant. but i understood it. i was shooting a Nikon camera, fully manual, since i was sixteen years old. i know the basics of darkroom printing and developing. took two photography courses, worked for a photo processing booth and worked as an event photographer in college. even though i recently bought my first digital camera two years ago and i am so-called a newbie to the business, i do not find myself included in jared's rant.
and..i actually agree with him.
since i just got married (two years ago), i know what it's like to interview many photographers and finding "the one" within a budget. with that said, i also know that wedding photography is something everyone should NOT skimp on. i understand the recession and the economy is not making it easy for all of us. but couples are still getting married. this is a moment that cannot be rewinded, redone, reenacted...this moment is unique because it's your moment. why are you going to leave that in the hands of someone inexperienced, ill-equipped and not knowledgeable of workflow, technicality, and professionalism? your friend may have a fancy camera (doesn't everyone?) but you cannot replace a good "eye" for composition, quality of light, and the skill of anticipating a shot.
but my friend will do it for less than $1,000 or free! i've heard brides say. you can't put that kind of value on an event and on memories that will be invaluable to you. i would never want to put that kind of pressure on a friend or family member. they can shoot at your wedding, and give you the pictures, but first and foremost, they are a guest. let the professional photographer be responsible for those important shots. let them carry the burden of fulfilling your wishes.
i always tell potential clients that i want to be their photographer because they like the way i photograph and the rapport we have with each other, not because of my price is lower than my competitor. someone's style of photography cannot be bought. neither can their personality. even with the highest end camera.
because we are in a recession, does not mean the bride needs to go cheap on everything. i always say, the flowers will wilt, the dress will be stored away, and the cake will be eaten. ten years from now, twenty-five years from now, your wedding album and pictures will be your heirloom, a family tradition, passed on and enjoyed by generations later. most photographers are accommodating and will work with what you need or want. tell them what you want, and if you have the same vision and connection, they may "work" with you on the price. both parties "win," like jared polin says.
lastly, i do agree again, with jared, that photographers should help other photographers. i am truly grateful for information that i have gained from giving photogs, just in running a business, and giving the best service to my clients. i believe that has become a win-win for both my clients and my business. we pride ourselves on good service, and good products. so, i definitely don't mind "giving back" to the photog community. i love talking about photography! so if you have a question, no question too silly, please let me know !