Good Advice

Few of these images "pop" off the page (or monitor) and when they do, they are shots taken when the natural lighting was excellent

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay a little.

When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that’s all.

When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything,
because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot... it can’t be done.

If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run,
and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better”.

- John Ruskin -


“There is hardly a product of our culture that someone cannot make a little worse and sell for a little less, and the one who puts price above all other considerations is the natural prey of this person”. - John Ruskin -


“The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low cost is forgotten”. - Unknown -


Most of the above quotes refer to the problems and disappointment associated with paying a cheap price but nowadays, there is no guaranty that paying a high and even those ridiculously high prices will leave you any less disappointed. Hey, everyone is a photographer nowadays! Buy a camera, make a website, fix everything in Photoshop (as best you can), buy advertising in a wedding magazine and pay for editorial space so your weddings can be "published", and all of a sudden you're a top photographer!

Here's an excerpt from an article I came across. I thought it was pretty funny but, eerily true:

Wedding photography is not about shots of flowers, table tops, shoes, feet, name cards, decorations, people's back, fuzzy out of focus everything, Photoshop manipulations, etc. Weddings are about people and the events they participate in! Sure, it's nice to have shots of everything you pay for but, not to the exclusion of the really good, high quality imagery of you, your family, and your friends. These are the photographs that never grow old and only gain in value as time goes by.

I've seen so many websites of photographers where 80% or more of the photos displayed were shots of "objects". And the photos they do have of people (mostly all candids) are of very poor execution and quality. Eyes look like deep black pockets, complexions are dull and lifeless, background colors are flat, etc. Excellent photography requires technical skill and more skill than just shooting in automatic mode!

If a website displays more than shots of "objects" than people, more of candid photojournalism style shots relying on "perfect" light (or not) than portraits with natural light created by the photographer, or whose majority of the photos displaying what I described above, that's just not wedding photography and it's not professional photography. It's glorified "party" photography, at a much higher price and even under that label , it doesn't quite satisfy the job requirement!

I don't care what kind of magazine their photos have been "published" in (it's all paid advertising anyway), what wedding coordinator or hotel catering manager gets paid a kickback to recommend them, the melodious or sound of their name, the trendy color and layout of their website, the cuteness of their smile, their gender, or the length of their hair... none of these things will help them to produce the high quality imagery on your wedding day, at the time of your wedding.

Wedding photography and any type of truly professional photography requires technical skill, knowledge, and experience. Unfortunately, the great majority of so called "professional" photographers nowadays are merely, people with cameras who, while they may have a love for photography (we all love photography don't we?), they should never be calling themselves professionals. The consumer loses because, they see so much work that we professionals consider poor and mediocre at best, that it becomes the norm, the base line for judgement, and even celebrated by the public (at least that's what all the wedding magazines and websites, catering managers and coordinators would have people believe). But the biggest loser in all of this is the profession of professional wedding photography itself. What is now considered professional quality and worth "paying the price" versus purely amateur photography has become so blurred and almost non-existent that, the idea of being a "professional" has come down simply to whether or not you get paiid!

For those of you wishing to become professional wedding photographers, I wish you luck and suggest you not spend too much time or money on schooling or equipment or learning your craft. It's just not a necessary requirement to being a professional wedding photographer in the publics eye anymore. The consumer only does what the latest magazine tells them to do anyway. Spend your money on magazines advertising that also publishes your weddings. The more trendy (and expensive) the magazine and/or the more exotic the location, the more of an image of success you will be able to create. And by the way, if you are not a woman, better to just forget it!

For those of you who started as "professional" photographers at a time when it required more than just owning a camera, making a website, and getting paid, I offer you my condolences. No longer will you ever be held in the high esteem earned through hard work, experience, and skill. And if by chance, you happen to actually be held in high regard by the consumer, know that it's for all the wrong reasons. To you I suggest the few specialties of photography which still require skill and professionalism of the highest level.... spectral photography, deep-sea work, front-line war coverage, and Playboy. If you can't get one of those gigs, you might as well forget about competing on quality and experience. Instead, "trendyfy" and stylize your image, add an extra name or even change it completely, take clients out for coffee to dicuss everything but your work and prices, and always follow what you say with a "I just love you". You could actually become more wildly successful than you ever imagined in your previous life as a professional wedding photographer!